Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GMC Terrain Miami Event

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to an event to learn more about child safety, particularly car safety, and the new GMC cross-over vehicle, the Terrain. I was interested in attending because I am very passionate about car safety. I live in South Florida, where we really have a car culture. Mass transit is unreliable and runs on a limited schedule and most people have long commutes to work, riding solo in the car. In addition to that, because of our climate, we have some extra concerns when it comes to keeping our kids safe. We have to worry about pool (and ocean, canal, etc) safety all year round. And the number of kids who die every year in Florida because they’ve been left in the car is mind boggling.

That’s why I was so pleased to learn more about how to keep my toddler safe in the car. The representatives from Safe Kids USA gave us so much information on what kind of car seat to buy (expensive is not better; they all meet the same federal guidelines and standards), how tight the straps should be (forget two fingers worth of space, you shouldn’t be able to get a finger in) and how long you should keep your child rear-facing (as long as possible, people! Up to the max height/weight of your car seat).

We also talked about toy safety, which is timely with the holidays coming up. We learned a neat trick to test whether or not a toy will be a choking hazard for your toddler. If the toy fits through the hole of an empty toilet paper roll, it’s a choking hazard and shouldn’t be given to a child under the age of 3.

As a strong believer in attachment parenting, I was grateful that the Safe Kids reps stressed that you should never use your car seat as a baby-sitter or bed for your baby. Your baby should spend 60 minutes per day, MAX, in the car seat. Of course there are times when you won’t be able to meet that ideal standard, say on road trips, but your baby shouldn’t be left in the car seat for extended periods of time. Babies need to be held and they also need time on the floor to crawl and explore.

After the information session, the ladies from SafeKids checked our car seat, and like most of the population, ours was installed incorrectly. Oops! Thankfully they walked us through proper installation and now our car seat is at one with the car.

We also had the chance to test drive the new GMC Terrain. It’s a nice little cross-over that comes with lots of cool features, like a rear vision camera, standard. It has a ton of room in the back and comes fully loaded for $30,000, including double TV/DVD players built into the headrests. Since we only have one kid, it’s probably more car than we need right now, but would make a great vehicle for a family of four, especially once the kids are older and need to be shuttled off to soccer practice, ballet, etc. The hugest selling point for me, though, was that the car gets 32 MPG. That rivals my compact car! My mom was so impressed she is thinking of leasing one of her own when her current lease is up. Yes, GMC has brought back leasing programs, too!

I had a great time at this event and learned a lot and shared a lot of it with you via my tweets that day. You can search for the Twitter hash tag #GMCTerrainMiami for more information.

Full disclosure: I was not paid to attend this event or to write about it, but I did receive a Sony Webbie as a free gift. Thanks, Sony!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baby Star Nursing Blanket Review/Giveaway

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know how I've felt about nursing covers. For a very long time, I was very against the use of nursing covers. I didn't like the message they sent and I felt like in order to normalize breastfeeding, moms needed to ditch the covers. However, I do understand that many moms are more modest than I am and for some, nursing in public would not be possible without some sort of cover up. I want moms to be comfortable and I want them to breastfeed, so if you need a cover to do that, by all means cover up! Whatever it takes to get moms and babies nursing, I'm all for it!

I'll be honest, though, I still find those apron-like nursing covers to be hideous. I considered using a blanket to cover up while latching my son on, but living in South Florida, I never wanted to be under a blanket, let alone put my baby under one! That's why when Baby Star sent me their Star Nursing Blanket to review, I was thrilled at how lightweight it was.

The blanket is 27.5" x 27.5" so it's quite large, perfect for post-partum moms or those who are plus size. The outer shell is 100% cotton and the fuzzy lining is soft polyester. That star up in the corner helps to weight the blanket. Throw it over your shoulder and it helps anchor the blanket in place. This comes in handy with the baby who likes to pull at the blanket and will do his or her best to expose mom while breastfeeding(like my son did)! The star could also be given to the baby to chew on or play with.

Even if you're not breastfeeding, it's always nice to have a lightweight blanket that you can throw over a car seat to block out the sun, use as a changing pad for impromptu diaper changes, cover baby in a cold restaurant, etc. This blanket folds up easily into a compact little square that can be tossed in a diaper bag and not take up much room. I think this blanket is an ideal solution for the modest nursing mom who prefers to be covered when breastfeeding in public. I love that it's machine washable and comes in a variety of patterns and colors to fit every taste. I really like this blanket and think it would make a great gift this holiday season for the new mom or mom-to-be in your life.

Want to buy one for yourself? Use code 20twinkle09 to save 30% off any purchase at Baby Star until 12/31/09.

Want to win one? Baby Star was kind enough to offer a nursing blanket to one of my readers, in the fabric of your choice. For a chance to win, simply visit Baby Star and leave a comment with your favorite Baby Star item.

You can get extra entries by doing the following (please leave a SEPARATE comment for each):

  • Sign up for the Baby Star newsletter (leave your email address in the comment)
  • Follow @babystars on Twitter
  • Follow @blacktating on Twitter
  • Join the Baby Star fan club on Facebook
  • Twitter about this giveaway (leave a link to your tweet)
  • Blog about this giveaway (leave a link to your blog post)
That is 7 possible entries per person! This giveaway is open to residents of the US age 18 and over only. The contest will run until Friday, December 11th at 11:59 PM. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Good luck!

CLOSED- Congratulations, Xenia!