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  • One recall last week + CPSC warns about drop-side cribs

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    If you think you have the following item(s), click through to the CPSC press release for more details:

    Girls’ Vests with Drawstrings Recalled by MIM-PI USA Due to Strangulation Hazard – Click through for an additional photo.


    The CPSC also issued a warning about using drop-side cribs, noting that there have been 32 fatalities in drop-side cribs in the last 9 years. The CPSC says that it “cannot say that every drop-side crib is hazardous,” but the “between the lines” recommendation is that parents and caregivers should stop using drop-side cribs just to be safe. (And boy, does that make me happy we don’t have a crib anymore, because I loved our first drop-side crib. Of course I did. I’m short.)

    Stay on top of recalls by signing up for recall notifications by email at the CPSC web site.

    Morning Coffee: Tax Rant

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    I realize $50,000 for a family of four isn’t that much to live on . . . but should such a family not only not have to pay taxes but actually get money from the government through tax credits? According to this article, a family of four with two kids under age 17 and $50,000 income would make $31 from the federal income tax. What I take from that is, I’m paying thousands of dollars in taxes so that my income can be redistributed to other families who make less. It’s one thing if I’m just paying a bigger share of road construction/police protection/military/etc. because I have a bigger income, but it feels wrong that my tax dollars are simply going to subsidize other families. Not that they can do much with $31, but it’s the principle of the thing. At least there are lots of good deals to help me stretch what’s left after taxes! (Hat tip: All Financial Matters.)

    Get free Kraft Macaroni & Cheese when you become their Facebook fan.

    Get a free Hallmark Kids card through May 30. No purchase required, and it looks like there’s no coupon either, but the site does say “participating retailers” so you may want to call ahead to confirm your store’s participation.

    Did you know Amazon has personalized coupons?I’m not sure how they’re selected, but it might be worth checking regularly to see if you’ve got anything good – the ones I’m seeing are all for personal care products, like razors and toothpaste. Disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you! (Via Baby Cheapskate.)

    Get a printable coupon for $1/1 Expo Washable Dry Erase Markers. I haven’t printed this yet, but the site says the offer is good through September 1 – if that’s the expiration date of the coupon, then the markers should free or at least cheap sometime during the back to school sales.

    Get up to $10.50 in coupons for Arm & Hammer Clumpimg Cat Litter (registration required). Link via MySavings.com

    Stretching a Buck has this week’s Target deals.

    Bargain Briana has this week’s Meijer deals.

    Bargain Briana also has this week’s Kmart deals.

    Happy Birthday to Mindi of Moms Need to Know – she’s celebrating by giving away a $100 Amazon gift certificate (ends 4/16).

    The CPSC OnSafety blog describes how to childproof your windows.

    Wisebread has a recipe for gluten-free oreos.

    CSPC Safety Alerts: Slings & More Cadmium Jewelry

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    The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued new warnings this week to parents.

    The first calls attention to some children’s jewelry that contains high levels of cadmium. I think these items were mentioned in the articles that first raised the issue of the danger of cadmium in children’s jewelry (discussed by me here). Here’s the official warning:

    CPSC Issues Warning on Children’s Winter and Holiday-Themed Charm Bracelets with High Levels of Cadmium

    The press release includes photos of the charms, although at this point, it’s definitely good practice to heed the CPSC’s previous warning to remove all jewelry marketed to children.

    The second warning came today, and cautions parents to be extra careful when using slings with infants because of a suffocation risk. At least 14 babies have died while in slings since 1998, so their concern is legitimate. They recommend that you make sure that your infant’s face is visible to you at all times. Here’s the official warning:

    Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies

    It’s been a while since I’ve worn a baby, but I used to wear Tyler all the time in a mei tai and I remember constantly checking to make sure his nose was unobstructed and that he was breathing. I’m a huge proponent of baby carriers, and I could not have made it through Tyler’s first year without one, since my kids are so close in age that it was crucial to have my hands free. But as with anything, they need to be used correctly. I found the babywearing board at Babycenter to be extremely helpful back then.

    Morning Coffee: Proof that it pays to play The Drugstore Game

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    I wasn’t planning to go to Walgreens again this week, but the Friends & Family coupon and the Dove coupons that came in the mail were too much temptation to resist. I won’t lay out my transactions since the Friends & Family coupon was only valid yesterday, but here’s a summary: I started with $16 in Register Rewards, which can be used like cash to pay for purchases. I paid $5.01 out of pocket ($2.21 before tax), and came home with $18 in Register Rewards for next week – plus all of the things I bought, including 6 boxes of Kleenex, 2 bottles of body wash, and 2 bottles of Children’s Tylenol. Before The Drugstore Game, I would have paid $5 for just one bottle of Children’s Tylenol after sale price, coupon and tax!

    A Children's PlaceClick on the banner to get a coupon for 15% off at The Children’s Place. You can use the coupon online or in store, and they’re having a President’s Day sale this weekend. Online, you get $5 flat rate shipping. Disclosure: Banner via MySavings.com

    Get a coupon for free Excedrin by mail when you answer the question at the link by picking one of their competitors.

    Get a free sample of Frederick Fekkai Glossing Cream from Walmart. (Via FreeStuff4Free.)

    The CPSC blog has some safety tips regarding drop side cribs. As you might recall, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of drop side cribs have been recalled in the last year or so. We had two drop side cribs, and our more expensive one from Simmons ($500-$600) was fabulous. I am completely confident that it was perfectly safe. The cheaper Jardine crib (about $300) was poorly made (I actually scraped the wood off when my engagement ring rubbed against it a few times) and actually recalled.

    Get $10 off a $10 purchase at JC Penny with code TEN4YOU (expires 2/27). Don’t forget to go through a shopping portal like Ebates (referral link) or Upromise to maximize your savings. (Via Freebies 4 Mom.)

    Common Sense with Money has a scenario for a $10 moneymaker on Olay body wash. You’ll have to go to Target and send in a rebate, but it looks like the Target gift card deal will be around at least next week so you’ll have time to get it done. (And so will I – I go to Target so much less than I used to before The Drugstore Game!)

    If you shop at Farm Fresh, here’s a list of current coupon match ups.

    My Good Cents explains how you can get free Right Guard deodorant at Vons/Pavilions (and possibly all Safeway stores).

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer’s full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

    Swimming lessons for toddlers

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    Out here in Southern California, almost everyone has a pool or easy access to one. And with that access and the arrival of children comes the inevitable question: What is the ideal age for starting swim lessons?

    I had intended for Alex to take lessons early on, but the articles stating that the lessons don’t really stick until after age 4 sounded right. Alex was always reluctant to participate in directed activities at birthday parties or school, so that didn’t seem likely to change in swim class.

    Besides, there was an ongoing debate: Do swim lessons for toddlers really help keep them safe? Or does it endanger them by making them unafraid of the water?

    This LA Times story reports that lessons for children ages one to four helps keep them safe. But the study doesn’t seem very comprehensive, and the conclusion that “children who drowned were less skilled swimmers” is pretty much useless.

    As always, this seems to be one of those, “consult your doctor and do what you think is best” situations. For us, I’m looking into getting Alex some lessons, and I’m thinking that I might as well get Tyler started too – they’re so close in age that it’s hard to keep Tyler from doing something that Alex is doing.

    Resellers (and others?) not affected by new children’s product safety laws

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    For those who might not be aware: This past week, a major issue on various parenting blogs was the impending children’s product safety law that’s set to go into effect in February. First, an LA Times story started a rash of blog posts all across the blogsphere about how the law was going to affect not just small business owners, but also resellers like thrift and consignment stores, garage salers, and even someone who simply wanted to give some hand me downs. (See, e.g., two of my very favorite blogs, Baby Cheapskate and Like Merchant Ships.)

    Those posts were followed by calls to action to contact legislators and the CPSC to tell them how unrealistic and wasteful the law is.

    Finally, on Friday, the CPSC issued a clarification, stating that second-hand items need not be tested before being sold (or, presumably, gifted). But the CPSC also says that resellers “should avoid products that are likely to have lead content,” and that resellers who “do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.” The language there seems a little inconsistent to me – I can’t tell if there’s an absolute standard or an objectively reasonable standard (i.e., whether someone who resells an item that turns out to have an excess level of lead is liable regardless of whether she reasonably believed the item was legally considered safe).

    I do know one thing: To eliminate personal liability, I’ll never sell another used child-related item again. (I’ve sold a few things on eBay in the past.) I will only give these items away, either to friends or to charities.

    How will the new law affect you, if at all?