This month's postings, April 2010

Sling alert

There’s a new warning about those soft sling-style baby carriers: Don’t use them for infants younger than 4 months old! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says slings are dangerous for itty bitties, because very young babies — who have limited head and neck control — can suffocate if carried incorrectly. Check out CPSC guidelines for correct sling use.

Need a needle?

Moms-to-be who suffer from depression may get some relief from acupuncture. A new Stanford study suggests that acupuncture specifically designed to treat depression can reduce a pregnant mom’s symptoms. Many depressed women avoid antidepressant drugs when pregnant; doctors say that for some women, acupuncture could be a natural alternative. Read more.

Snack attack!

Candy, potato chips and other junk foods now make up more than 27 percent of kids’ daily caloric intake, says a new study. Those snack foods are adding about 168 extra calories a day to kids’ diets. About 17 percent of American children are now considered overweight. The study, in the journal Health Affairs, finds that the average kid now snacks three times a day.

R you sure?

Thinking about letting your tween see an R-rated movie? Here’s another reason to say no: New research suggests that kids younger than 17 who watch R-rated movies are more likely to try alcohol at an earlier age. Learn more about movie ratings; read more on the study.

Arthur’s new pal

George and Carl on
"Arthur"That adorable aardvark has a new friend, Carl, and Carl has Asperger’s Syndrome. The April 5 episode of the PBS fave will explore Asperger’s and autism, with a sweet, burgeoning friendship and a live-action segment featuring kids with Asperger’s and other forms of autism. Says executive producer Jacqui Deegan, “We hope that [the episode] ‘When Carl Met George’ will help children gain some understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome and other forms of autism, and realize that the unique traits of individuals are what make them so special.”



Lego my preschooler

A victory for marketing executives! New research shows that kids as young as 3 now demonstrate brand awareness. In the studyEngineer 
Barbie, published in Psychology & Marketing, children between 3 and 5 years old were asked if they recognized certain logos, and if so, what they were for. Recognition rates were as high as 92 percent for some brands, including the single most recognized among preschoolers: McDonald’s.

Hello, dolly

Speaking of brand loyalty, moms of girls, I’ve got three words for you: Computer. Engineer. Barbie. The stacked supergeek sports a laptop (hot pink, natch), sparkly black knit skinny pants, and a Bluetooth pasted to her head. Barbie designers worked with the Society of Women Engineers on this one, according to Mattel, which links each doll to a special code for online play. This Barbie busts loose in mid-October for about $13. I do like her little laptop case.


Party hats are out at ParentMap world headquarters as we celebrate our seventh birthday! Thank you, loyal reader, for making the past seven years so fun and inspiring. Our gift to ourselves: Rubbing elbows with superheroes! See this month's feature. Other happy news: ParentMap has just been honored with an unprecedented 30 awards for editorial, design and Web excellence!

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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