Letter from the Editor April 2011

Jenna Hammond

As you may know from our recent Countdown to Baby Contests, two art directors at PARENTGUIDE News welcomed beautiful baby girls in the past year. While one was expecting, she suggested we cover a number of topics, like what products to get and what to neglect when anticipating baby's arrival.

If you too have baby on the brain, check out "Crib Sheet." Inspired by our latest mom in the office, the article highlights three of the most crucial baby items: a crib, a car seat and a stroller. Sandra Gordon, co-author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products (Consumer Reports Tenth Edition), walks shoppers through each important purchase. The article also provides safety-wise and money-saving tips. For instance, consider getting a crib that transitions to a toddler bed followed by a full-size bed, Gordon suggests. Test drive strollers you're contemplating and get schooled on the options available to determine the models that best suit your growing family. As a bonus, the article has a registry guide for navigating the $8.9 billion baby products industry.

Another big issue for new parents is how other parents are faring. Many moms wonder, do my worries mirror those of other moms and am I missing anything? Discover parents' primary concerns during children's early years by turning to "Doctor, Doctor." Written by trusted pediatrician and author Jennifer Trachtenberg, M.D., the article reveals common questions parents ask their pediatricians, along with the insightful answers of course. Do harmful chemicals lurk in certain baby products and foods? Should toddlers be on antibiotics for ear infections? After getting the 411 from Dr. Jen, read the sidebar on pointers for making the most out of pediatrician's visits. I know the art director/mom who designed the article was happy to hear that having questions prepared for office visits is advisable in getting kids optimum care.

What if you suspect your child has a sensory issue? According to Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L, sensory processing disorder (SPD) affects about 5-10 percent of children enough to impact their daily life functions. But many new parents are unfamiliar with the disorder. Learn all about SPD, how to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment by reading "Do You Feel What I Feel?" by Collins.

For more on ensuring the health and well-being of your clan, earmark our popular Special Needs and Health & Fitness Directory. The directory spotlights experts, services and resources near you to treat everything from ADHD and dental concerns to motor issues and speech problems.

And because this month brings Earth Day, we can't overlook the health of the planet. Turn to "We're All in This Together" by Ian James Corlett, author of E Is for Environment (Atria). Inspired by Corlett's daughter, the article presents easy ways to nurture Mother Earth with your kids. You'll likely reap unexpected rewards by adopting a few of Corlett's ideas, such as recruiting other parents to assist with carpooling, getting kids to eat their veggies and saving on your electric bills. Maybe you'll even take inspiration from your kids, whether to brainstorm novel ways to care for the environment or to conceive topics we should cover in an upcoming issue. Let us know what you come up with at facebook.com/parentguidenews.

Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond