BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK: Powered ride on toys for kids can kill

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(SingleBlackMom.wordpress.com) – The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. This year, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Tens of thousands will crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions will watch it live across the globe.

The ceremony signals the official beginning of Holiday Shopping on steroids. As you look for toys and gift ideas, here is something else to consider: Are you buying the toy for your child’s enjoyment or to make you look cool to your friends and family?

Even low voltage batteries, such as the 12-volt, has the ability to cause a fire. Fireengineering.com reports that if a 12-volt cable is disrupted it can “create an arc flash, a heat buildup, and even a fire.” Certain safety precautions can be taken with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and 12-volt batteries to help prevent a fire. Remaining attentive to a charging battery, unplugging battery chargers after use, remaining attentive while a battery-operated toy is in use, and limiting a toy’s use in direct sunlight may all help prevent a battery-caused fire.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal agency, said at least 12 child deaths nationwide have been associated with powered riding toys since 2000, but none was caused by entrapments.

Powered tractor for kids kills child accident
In June 2013, a 3-year-old boy was severely burned when the power operated tractor he was riding on ignited into flames. A 5-year-old Kentucky boy was killed when the powered toy he was riding on hit a trampoline in 2011.

Spokeswoman Patty Davis said eight of the victims drowned and in the other four cases, the victims were hit by other vehicles.

Davis said a National Electronic Injury Surveillance System shows that more than 21,000 injuries involving powered riding toys were seen at emergency departments from 2000 to 2011.

The parents of the 3-year-old boy have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a riding tractor, Peg-Pérego USA Inc., seeking damages for an unspecified amount. On June 3rd in Athens County, a battery-operated toy tractor ignited, severely injuring then 2-year-old Wyatt Buckley. Wyatt’s parents, Marion and Heather Buckley have filed a lawsuit against Peg-Pérego, an Italian company that has American offices and manufactures various baby product and toys, including 6-volt, super-power 24-volt, and high performance 12-volt toys such as the one involved in this accident.

Wyatt suffered severe burns from the incident. Various reports estimate his burns to cover from 50-percent to 75-percent of his body. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Mrs. Buckley described Wyatt’s condition as improving, but noted he “still has a long way to go,” and is likely facing a lifetime of surgeries or medical treatments. The Buckley’s attorney, stated “A toy given to a 2-year-old just can’t catch on fire; and if it does catch on fire, it should be designed and manufactured so it wouldn’t continue to burn so it would not cause catastrophic harm to the child.”

The tractor, which was powered by a 12-volt battery, ignited because of a faulty manufacturing process or a faulty product. At the time of the fire, Peg-Pérego issued a statement saying “the materials of our toys cannot suddenly burst into flames. We are confident that other extraordinary factors were involved to cause such a fire.”

Many children’s toy vehicles operate off of 12-volt batteries including the John Deere Ride-On Power Loader, Ground Force John Deere Tractor, John Deere Farm Power Tractor with Wagon, Fischer-Price Barbie Jeep, Fischer-Price Cadillac Escalade, and Mercedes Benz G Class Ride-On.

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PARENTS BEWARE: Protect your kids from pedophiles

Kids and privacy protect from pedophiles

(SingleBlackMom.wordpress.com) – Xbox LIVE is the online sevice for the Xbox 360. With a paid gold membership and a set of headphones, your child can play online with a community of 40 million other users worldwide.

This can be seriously awesome for the gaming enthusiast in your house, but there are 10 important things parents should know about Xbox LIVE and keeping kids safe before setting it up for their child.

1) It’s more than just a gaming site. Xbox LIVE users can also chat with each other, send and receive friend requests, and share their profile and gaming stats.

2) Gamertags need to be chosen wisely. Never let your child use part of their name, hometown, or other identifying information in their gamertag.

3) Profiles follow the child, not the console. A child can still access all his Xbox LIVE information from a friend’s house.

4) Kids can play games with strangers. Xbox LIVE has a “matchmaking” feature to help your child connect with gamers who have certain gamerscores or live in a certain location.

5) People can privately chat with each other. Up to 8 people can play and talk all at once, but two of them can pair off and talk privately if they want to.

6) You can make your permission mandatory. Through console controls, you can require your permission for your child to send and receive friend requests, accept game or chat invites, or buy Xbox merchandise.

7) You can block who your child hears. You can choose “everyone,” “friends,” or “no one.”

8) Parents are required to help their children set up an account. If your under-18 child has an account and you didn’t help set it up, he or she is registered as an adult.

9) Default settings vary by age. Child and teen accounts are mostly “friends only” by default and some features are blocked, but adult profiles are public and have full access to all features.

10) Deactivating Xbox LIVE doesn’t cancel the child’s account. On the Xbox console there is a setting to disallow Xbox LIVE access from that console – but your child can still access it on others unless you cancel his account.

BLACK FRIDAY: Walmart’s new Black Friday guarantee comes with BIG STRINGS ATTACHED

(SingleBlackMom.wordpress.com) – The Black Friday madness is officially upon us; only a few more days to mentally and physically prepare to battle your neighbors for discounted gadgets. A popular destination will be Walmart, where you can get everything from cell phones and tablets to Tupperware and power tools.
This year, Walmart will host expanded “one-hour guarantee” events, which ensures consumers can snag certain items in-store during a one-hour period. The company last year offered the guarantee on three products, but this year it’s expanding the promotion to 21 items, including a $688 60-inch Smart LED 1080p HDTV from Vizio and the non-Retina iPad mini.

Black Friday is longer restricted to Friday, though. To nab Walmart’s “one-hour guarantee” deals, customers will need to be in designated lines at Walmart between 6 and 7 p.m. or 8 and 9 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day to receive the item that night or before Christmas. For a complete list of items included in the one-hour guarantee, check out Walmart’s announcement.

For those who can’t wait, Walmart is currently running some pre-Black Friday deals online and in stores; check out the retailer’s website for more. The big deals, however, begin later in the week and continue into Cyber Monday. Check out the slideshow for a few of the best tech deals you can grab at Walmart this year.

MOMMY MAKEOVER: It’s time to get your mommy groove back

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Thoughts of autumn often conjure up images of brightly-colored leaves, crisp, cool air and trick-or-treating. But for fashionistas, this time of year brings visions of something much more exciting – fall shoes! Who doesn’t love a great pair of boots or a funky sneaker? Not to mention that closed-toe shoes allow us to re-allocate the funds from our summer pedicure budget to our winter shoe budget! Ha!

Moms Have Limitations

As always though, dressing for moms is different than that of any other creature on earth. Moms have a serious list of limitations too plentiful to list here, but what it boils down to is functionality, comfort, versatility, price (the lower the better) and style (which is just as important as all the others but is all to often neglected).

We’ve Done the Shopping For You

We’ve carefully curated a chic collection to meet all your needs from business dinners to a trip to the zoo. They’re all on-trend so you’ll look polished and put-together in even the most informal situations.

It’s a Boot Free-For-All

And one last thing regarding boots. It’s a rare time in fashion history when anything goes and right now is that time for boots. Just about any heel height (from flats to wedges to cowboy heels to stilettos) and any boot height (bootie, ankle boot, riding boot, over-the-knee) works.

1.Coconuts Rifle Boots ($54.99/Famous Footwear): You don’t have to be a cowgirl to wear these boots; they’ll look cool and modern on even the most urban of us.

2. Merona Kadence Wedge Ankle Boot ($34.99/Target): If you want a little height with more stability than a heel, look no further than a stylish wedge.

3. Women’s Tassel Rain Skimmer Shoe ($29.99/Target): Navigate the puddles without getting soaked in a cute pair of rain loafers.

4. Tommy Hilfiger Brinley Bootie ($79.95/DSW): A feminine interpretation of a classic menswear look, these gorgeous heeled oxfords will make you feel as sexy as you look.

5. Zara Ballerina Shoe ($79.90/Zara): Pair these blue leopard print flats with jeans, khakis or an a-line skirt for a thoroughly modern ensemble.

6. Chelsea Crew Rush Hour Boot ($44.94/DSW): A pair of black flat boots this cute and versatile is sure to become a wardrobe staple.

7. Lace-Up Brogue Combat Boot ($45.50/Charlotte Russe): It’s impossible to look any less than sophisticated in a pair of riding boots.

8. Distressed Zip-Back Combat Boot ($42.50/Charlotte Russe): Madonna may have started the lace-up boot trend in the eighties but it’s back with a vengeance and this time, it’s not just for teenagers.

9. Standout Chained Booties ($39.80/Forever 21): The shiny finish on these boots make them look much more expensive than they are.

10. Mia Nashville Bootie ($54.95/DSW): If you’ve always wanted to try red shoes but were afraid, these burgundy ankle boots are the perfect solution.

11. H&M Sneakers ($24.95/H&M): Fall in love with these uber-chic kicks (we did!) that are both versatile and unique.

12. Sorel Joan of Arctic Wedge Mid Boot ($240/Sorel): You can’t put a price on warmth, comfort AND style. Sure, these might cost a pretty penny but when it comes to keeping toasty and dry it is worth spending the extra money.

CHECKLIST: Thanksgiving Cleaning

(SingleBlackMom.wordpress.com) – The holidays are upon us and while we will all be happy to see our family members, things will go much better if you take a few precautions. No matter how hard you work or how much you try, at least one of your holiday guests will find something to gripe about. Maybe it is an in-law or maybe a jealous sibling. This year will be the year that all goes perfectly if you follow this checklist.

Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist

    Make sure you have enough tables and chairs for your guests.
    Check all serving dishes, flatware, and glassware.
    Polish silver. Wrap in tarnish-resistant silver cloth and set aside.
    Shop for any paper goods you need for the event.
    Take an inventory of your tablecloths and napkins.
    If any of your items need to be cleaned, do it now.
    Clean your refrigerator to make room for your Thanksgiving items.
    Shop for nonperishable groceries on your shopping list.
    Match up recipes with serving dishes and silverware. Drop 3×5 cards into each bowl and platter indicating which dish goes in each.
    Plan and make decorations, place cards, and wreaths.
    Plan seating arrangements.
    Review your recipes and prepare a cooking schedule by day for the days ahead, and by the hour for Thanksgiving Day.
    Check thawing time for frozen turkey.
    Prepare guest room with fresh linens and other amenities
    Do any needed outdoor work like raking leaves or cleaning the glass on your front door.
    Will you need a high chair, crib, or booster seat? Bring them out and clean, or arrange to borrow these items from a friend or the parent.
    If children will be attending, get out games or movies for them. Or ask parents to bring things for the kids to do.
    As appropriate, begin defrosting the frozen turkey in your refrigerator.
    Save money on ice — start making your own ice cubes now. When they’re frozen, dump them in a freezer bag.
    Do major housecleaning and organizing.
    Put up wreaths and nonperishable decorations like candles.
    Phone guests regarding menu plans and find out what oven space they may need. Also inquire if they are bringing serving pieces or if you should furnish these.
    Plan ahead for leftovers. Organize containers, bags, and wraps so guests can take home the meal’s bounty.

Two Days Ahead

    Chill beverages.
    Have centerpiece delivered or buy flowers for the table.
    Shop for perishable items.
    Clean vegetables and refrigerate.
    Set out bread for homemade stuffing.
    Make cranberry sauce.
    Fill salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes.
    Complete light housecleaning.
    Lay a fire in the fireplace, ready to light later.
    Put up decorations.

One Day Ahead

      Peel potatoes, place in a pot of cold water. Keep in refrigerator.
      Clean vegetables and refrigerate.
      Make all dishes that can be prepared ahead. Don’t forget the pies and any chopping, peeling, or toasting that can be done ahead.
      Check your bathrooms. Be sure to have extra paper goods and hand towels available.
      Prepare stuffing.
      Do spot cleaning of the rooms that will be used.
      Let your family set the table in the evening.
      Make the side dishes that can be baked ahead of time.
      Make a staging area for coffee, desserts, and drinks.
      Stock with flatware, sugar and creamer, cups and saucers, etc. This could even be set up on a tray stashed in the pantry until needed.

Thanksgiving Day

      Get out all serving pieces. Set out in order on a counter or buffet table.
      Fill condiment dishes with your choice of pickles, olives, cranberry sauce, etc. Cover each dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Lay serving spoons on top.
      Assign specific family members or relatives to be in charge of tending the fire, pouring drinks, answering the door, hanging up coats, and watching the children.
      Remove turkey from the refrigerator for one to two hours. Add stuffing to the bird or place into casseroles to bake separately.
      Preheat oven.
      Put turkey in oven and baste every half hour or according to your recipe.
      Prepare coffee and brew 20 minutes before serving.
      Remove stuffing from turkey and let it rest, covered, for about 20 minutes before slicing.
      Microwave food to quickly reheat if all the burners of the stove are occupied.
      Make gravy and last-minute vegetables.
      Set out refrigerated dishes including condiments, cranberries, and salads.
      Heat bread or rolls as needed.
      Pour drinks.
      Carve turkey.
      Keep the oven on the lowest setting to keep foods warm until the meal is over.
      Enjoy the dinner! Clear the table and serve dessert.

Cleanup

      Before leaving the table, blow out candles. Collect used cloth napkins and place them in the laundry.
      Quickly fill the dishwasher with one load of dinner dishes and glassware. Add soap and run a cycle.
      Fill the sink with hot soapy water and drop in silverware and any items to be hand-washed.
      Put away leftover food in containers, foil packs, or plastic bags. Distribute into labeled bags for guests to take home. Refrigerate everything.
      Wash items in the sink, then refill with hot water to soak pots and pans.
      Clear and wash kitchen counters.
      Wash serving pieces belonging to guests. Set labeled bags in a mudroom or hall, ready to take home.
      Organize games or other entertainment.
      Finish dishes as time allows, or after guests depart.
      Launder tablecloth and napkins.
      Put away dishes, serving pieces, and glassware.
      Return any borrowed tables, chairs, games, etc.
      Make notes on what worked — and what didn’t — and keep in your recipe box for next year.