Category Archives: Other Reference & Education

Is Your Daycare’s Car Designed for Car Seats?

Baby at Daycare in Car SeatA new article by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety was recently published going into detail about the safety of 2011 vehicles in regards to the LATCH system for child car seat restraints. The results were surprising, and a little disappointing. Even though the standards for child restraint safety have been in place for some time it is amazing the amount of modern day vehicles that do not seem to have child safety and car seat installation in mind.

As parents we try our best to keep our children’s safety at the forefront. However, the difficulty of many car seats to install along with many car models which are not set up correctly for the LATCH system. This has turned out to make it surprising difficult to make sure child car seat installation is correct. This has made for a potentially dangerous and even life threatening situation for our children.

Only 21 of the 98 top-selling 2010-11 model passenger vehicles evaluated have LATCH designs that are easy to use.

I know it might seem strange to question your daycare provider regarding your child’s safety. However it is absolutely essential that you do. It’s not a matter of doubt in your daycare provider ability, it’s about assuring your child is safe in any vehicle. If a daycare or childcare provider baulks at your insistence as a parent to inspect their car seat, make sure they know you trust them but you want to be absolutely sure that your child’s car seat is installed right. There is nothing wrong with being an over protective parent. It can save lives!

Unfortunately it is hard to say exactly how to install a car seat because there are so many different designs. Along with all of the different designs each model of car is a little bit different. This is the crux of the problem. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when installing a childs car seat.

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Baby Car Seat
Safety 1st onBoard Air Baby Car Seat
  • Make sure the car seat is built and designed for the correct age, weight and height of your child.
  • Car seats should always be in the back seat of a vehicle. They should also be in the middle of the seat if there is a proper LATCH system. This maximizes their safety from both frontal and side impacts.
  • Tether’s should always be used for forward facing car seats.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the car seat.
  • If you are unclear on how to install your child’s car seat in your car find a certified car seat inspection center near you.

For a  complete run down check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations website.

The bottom line is that our children may not be as safe as we are led to believe. As a responsible parent it is your duty to make sure not only your vehicles have their car seats installed properly, but also that your daycare provider has their car seats installed properly for your child.

Here are some of the most popular vehicles they tested and reported on.

2011 Models that Meet All 3 Easy-Installation Criteria

  • Audi A4 Quattro
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab
  • Chevrolet Suburban LT
  • Chevrolet Tahoe LS
  • Chrysler Town & Country (2010)
  • Dodge Caliber Mainstreet
  • Dodge Grand Caravan Crew
  • Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab
  • Ford Escape XLT
  • Ford F-150 SuperCrew Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab SLE
  • Honda Pilot EX-L
  • Kia Sedona LX
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz C300
  • Mercedes-Benz E350
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe GS
  • Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • Toyota Tacoma extended cab
  • Buick Enclave CX
  • Chevrolet Impala LT
  • Dodge Avenger Express
  • Ford Flex SEL
  • Ford Taurus Limited
  • Hyundai Sonata Limited
  • Toyota Sienna XLE

2011 Models That Don’t Meet Any Easy-Installation Criteria

  • Buick Enclave CX
  • Chevrolet Impala LT
  • Dodge Avenger Express
  • Ford Flex SEL
  • Ford Taurus Limited
  • Hyundai Sonata Limited
  • Toyota Sienna XLE

For the entire article on child car seat safety and more information visit:


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Presidents Day Facts About Barack Obama

decide-on-daycare-president-barack-obamaPresident’s Day is coming up and this is a great time to take a moment and discuss what a president is to this county and what they do to make America great. We may tend to steer clear of discussing politics with our children, and with the ugliness surrounding our current political climate, it’s no wonder we would rather protect them from it. However, it’s important for our children to know how things work in America. It can also be fun for them to learn about the presidents and politics. Introducing your kids to the elected leader of the country might be the simplest way to introduce them to our government .

Take some time to look up your favorite president and talk to your children about him. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to keep away from subjects concerning policy and politics. Pick a president, and focus on who he is and try and get to understand him as a person.  It will probably interest your children to know that such a powerful person is just a person like everyone else—with likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, mistakes and triumphs. It can also show them how just about anybody could be president, even your child!

The deeper you peer into the American Presidents’ history and the contribution to forging America, the more you learn about its people  as a whole.

Start your search here:

Some fun facts about President Barack Obama:

  • President Barack Obama is our 44th president, but there actually have only been 43 presidents: Cleveland was elected for two nonconsecutive terms and is counted twice, as our 22nd and 24th president.
  • President Barack Obama was born to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas.
  • Obama worked his way through college, aided also by student loans and scholarships.
  • President Barack Obama attended Occidental College and Columbia University, and went on to attend law school to became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.  He later taught law at the University of Chicago.
  • Obama became President of the United States on November 4, 2008.
  • He does not like ice cream as a result of working at an ice cream shop as a teenager.
  • He collects Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comic books.
  • He was known as “O’Bomber” at high school for his skill at basketball.
  • His name means “one who is blessed” in Swahili.
  • His favorite meal is wife Michelle’s shrimp linguini.
  • He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father.
  • He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21.00.
  • His favorite fictional television programs are Mash and The Wire.
  • He was given the code name “Renegade” by his Secret Service handlers.
  • He was nicknamed “Bar” by his late grandmother.
  • His favorite artist is Pablo Picasso.
  • His specialty as a cook is chili.

Find more interesting facts about our President, Barack Obama:

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Cyber Monday Deal on Baby Signing Time

daycare-babyOne of the most frustrating things to both parents and their children is not being able to communicate properly. It takes children years to learn how to talk. As a parent you don’t have to wait years to learn to communicate with your child. How do you talk to those that can’t? Through sign language of course!

Sign language is something that your baby, even an infant can learn to use. It is comprised of basic motions and movements which are much easier for your baby to learn then a speaking language. Using sign language to communicate with your baby is a great way to ease much of the frustrations that come with early parenting and your child’s early years. Parents are able to ask infants basic questions aabout what they need and why they are sad. Infants are able to tell you want they want and when they need it.

Teaching children sign language before they can speak can have a profound impact on the rest of their life.   By enabling early communication, building vocabulary and building a strong relationship with your child during the first three years, you are helping your child to develop the foundation for language and learning that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Teaching sign language helps you to do this.   There is a growing body of research that suggests that signing has many benefits, including:

  • Strengthens parent/child bonds
  • Enables early language, vocabulary & expression
  • Reduces frustration and tantrums
  • Helps parents to be more observant and responsive
  • Promotes positive emotional development
  • Builds confidence and self esteem

Sign language is something that can and should be transferred over to your daycare provider. In fact many daycare providers already know and use sign language. If the teaching and use of sign language is used at home and at daycare you will see dramatic a dramatic increase of your baby using it.

Baby Signing Time has some great holiday deals going right now and there isn’t a better time to get started. This would make an amazing gift for any parent, grandparent and daycare provider.

Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%
Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%

I have used sign language with my children and it has helped dramatically in trying to calm upset infants. It works great to know if they are hungry, thirsty, or tired. It really is amazing how well it works. I know it has surprised many parents, it did me, that their tiny little infant has much more to say about the world around them then you ever knew. Sign language helps them to say these things. When parents use this at home and their daycare providers use sign language it can really help make the first few years before they learn to speak much better. It gives them a head start on learning, and gives parents, daycare providers and anyone else taking care of your children more tools to insure they are taken care of well.


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Daycare Costs – Is Working Worth It?

kid_blocksDaycare is a hard parenting decision. It can be difficult to decide if you want to send your children to daycare or if you should stay home with them. It’s worth it to look into the real cost of working. It might sound strange, but working costs money, and it costs more money when both parents work. The cost of working can outweigh the benefit of staying home with your child through those few short, formative years.

There are a great many arguments to be had debating both sides of the issue on whether or not you should stay home with your child. We have addressed some of those here at Decide on Daycare and will address many more of them in the future. However, this article is strictly designed to help you as a parent look at the monetary side of whether or not to send your child to daycare.

The spreadsheet link below will help you accurately assess your current financial situation and the financial burden or benefit involved in staying home with your children. The spreadsheets fields will automatically calculate for you to make this assessment easier.

Daycare Cost Calculator

This is a excel spread sheet but should be compatible with many different programs. It is presented this way so you can easily save it and change it at home or make minor tweaks to your own copy as you find the answers to the questions.

You will need to gather some financial information for the worksheet. You’ll need to know how much you spend on:

  • Daycare itself? (The total cost of enrollment, fees and misc. charges)
  • Daycare extras? (Extra car seat, clothes, medicine, diapers, wipes)
  • Gas for your vehicles? (To and from work, and daycare)
  • Other travel expenses? (Tolls, subway, train, parking)
  • Vehicle maintenance? (Oil changes, repairs, tires, maintenance)
  • Food for work? (Coffee, meals, vending machines)
  • Work supplies and equipment? (Laptop bag, cell phone, tools)
  • Work clothes? (Suits, business clothes, shoes, handbags, other accessories)
  • Your appearance? (Makeup, manicures/pedicures, salon treatments)
  • Other things at daycare? (Birthday parties, field trips, crafts, gifts)
  • Weekly Take Home Earnings? (After taxes and other deductions)

There are several lines below these that are highlighted in orange on the spreadsheet below the other questions. These are for you to add your own special expenses or anything else that goes into the cost of you sending your children to daycare or associated with you working.

After filling out this spreadsheet, you may be surprised by what you find. However, leaving the workforce for a few years has its own lifetime cost that is much harder to factor in, as is each parent’s own individual career circumstances.

You’ll need to determine what those numbers mean to you, and how they fit into your own particular circumstances. Having a number to work with, to really know what it costs for a parent to work and send their children to daycare, may help with those difficult decisions.

Yearly Cost Calculator

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I have also included on the spreadsheet a yearly cost calculator. This is a great tool to use to convert either monthly or yearly expenses down into weekly costs so they can be calculated properly. This is important because there are many things that may go unaccounted for since you really do not pay for them on a weekly basis but they affect your budget through the course of the year. For example, your miscellaneous car expenses don’t occur each week. You may spend $500 a year in the winter for new tires, or $1000 a year for a tune up before vacation. However, these costs do not get factored in. When you look at how little you will drive compared to taking your child to daycare and driving to work every day you will see that these car expenses may go down dramatically. If you drive 100 miles a week instead of a day the wear and tear on your car is much less and you will not need these kinds of repairs annually. This kind of expense is what gets overlooked when figuring out the true costs of daycare.

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