The Power of a Hug with Huggies

Huggies1Every mother remembers the first time she held her newborn. The smell of them, their warmth and just how exquisite it felt. Instinctively, cuddling our children comes naturally to us, what you may not know is just how important those first cuddles are to your baby’s future. Medical studies show cuddles benefit babies in many vital ways beyond simply developing a stronger bond between baby and parent. Some of these benefits include stabilizing heart rate, improving sleep and fostering healthy brain development. So, what happens when a baby doesn’t get this critical action?

Tiny diapers for premie babies

Tiny diapers for premie babies

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond control, new babies are unable to get the full advantages that touch, like hugging and rocking provide. Recognising the need, Huggies has partnered with the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres on their Huggies No Baby Unhugged Program. This initiative is providing special training to volunteer ‘huggers’ across Canada who will sit with (and cuddle!) newborns and babies in the paediatric intensive care and neonatal units of hospitals. We had the unique opportunity to visit Victoria General Hospital and see the program in action!

Often these huggers are offering respite to parents who are already living in extremely stressful situations. We had a change to meet Cindy, a first-time mom who’s adorable 10-month-old son Gabe has been in hospital since birth. It is paramount to Cindy that Gabe be touched in a loving, gentle way as he has already experienced more uncomfortable touching than any baby should endure. Cindy spends every day at the hospital with Gabe concentrating exclusively on his care and these huggers give Cindy an opportunity to pay attention to the other aspects of her life – take a shower, run errands, or simply go for a walk to clear her head, knowing
Gabe is receiving a loving touch while she is away.
Huggies3
The gift of a hug holds more power than one might imagine, visit NoBabyUnhugged.ca for more information on this initiative and how you can get involved.

Shore Cleanup at Kits Beach

For some, the environment is a passing interest, but for Sara Bauman, it is not only what she loves, but what drives her choices and creativity. Sara has been an avid environmentalist since the ripe age of three. “Balloons are bad,” she said to store clerks who were giving away balloons. “Don’t you know after they deflate they end up in the ocean and hurt animals?” 10 years later, her passion for cleaning up the oceans has only continued. This year, Sara is training for her Bat Mitzvah, the ritual marking a girl’s passage from childhood to adulthood in the Jewish religion. Aside from intense Hebrew and Judiac studies, she has to plan, organize, and execute a community service close to her heart. Naturally, the oceans call and she is cleaning up her favourite Vancouver Beach where she spends many summer days. Join her and her crew clean up Kits Beach and help to celebrate Sara’s fourth beach clean up. The event takes place on April 23rd, from 10am until noon, starting at 1499 Arbutus Street. Meet at the playground and prepare to get to work! Don’t worry about getting dirty either, because tongs, garbage bags, and gloves are all provided. So join the shore cleanup to keep our oceans safe and healthy while supporting Sara in her path to adulthood.

Terry Fox Exhibit at the Royal BC Museum

Few Canadians are as iconic as Terry Fox. He set the stage for cancer awareness while sporting pride in his nation during his run across the country. The Royal BC Museum, in support of Canada’s 150th birthday, is launching a new exhibit, Running to the Heart of Canada, which opens April 12, 2017, precisely 37 years from the day Terry dipped his prosthetic leg in the ocean in Newfoundland. “Terry Fox lives in the hearts and minds of many people in Canada and indeed around the world,” said Prof. Jack Lohman, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. “These very personal items will evoke much emotion and respect, inspiring all of us and the good work that flows from it.” Terry Fox ran an incredible 5,373 kilometres, and his journey will be immortalized at the museum until October. The exhibit will offer unique insight into Terry’s life through his journals, the van that followed him during his run, and photographs and mementos. Learn more about the day-to-day operations of the run and look at the impressive impact he had on our nation and the world. Not to be missed are the touching cards and letters of support Terry received during his trip. Use the hashtag #RBCMTerryFox to get involved in the conversation. And it doesn’t stop there. Since Terry’s journey connected all of us with the importance of family, there is an extra exhibit titled Family, Bonds and Belonging. Explore our connections with one another in this exciting and engaging experience. www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Release your kids into Coquitlam’s great outdoors

Children are naturally drawn to nature, mesmerized by hopping frogs, slow-moving insects and odd-shaped sticks. The forest is a source of wonder and amazement. If you’re looking for new parks to explore, pay a visit to Coquitlam, which is riddled with trails of varying terrain and offers a reprieve from the city hustle.

One must-visit is Minnekhada Regional Park, a 200-hectare park located just minutes from Coquitlam’s City Centre. Surrounded by old-growth forest and endless views of nature, it feels like you are miles away from civilization. The park is home to 150 species of birds as well as beaver, black bears and singing bullfrogs.

Hiking trails range from a flat path leading throughout the marsh (perfect for younger children) to an uphill climb to the Low or High Knolls, with mind-blowing views looking over the wilderness.

Another place to take a walk in the woods is the urban forest of Mundy Park, rated by TripAdvisor as the #1 thing to do in Coquitlam. Round up the kids for some geocaching (a real-world outdoor hunt using a GPS device in which you search for a hidden container), or play a game of Disc Golf on the free permanent course, or try out the bike skills park.

Looking for someplace to explore that’s just steps from the SkyTrain? A short walk from Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station, you can duck into the Hoy Creek Trail for a peaceful 2.8-kilometre gravel trail (you’ll spot salmon in the creek during fall).

If you’d prefer a flat, paved experience, take a walk around Lafarge Lake, also next to the SkyTrain station, which has a 1.2-kilometre loop – the perfect length for little legs.

Many of these trails and parks are easily accessed by public transit and also offer free parking. Share cars are also available in Coquitlam’s City Centre area. coquitlam.ca/driving

Car Seat Safety with BCAA

A new BCAA survey reveals many parents take risks when transporting their kids such as using a second-hand child car seat and not checking regularly for proper installation. The survey, by Insights West for BCAA, asks parents for their views and behaviours around driving with their kids. BCAA’s Community Impact Senior Manager, Shawn Pettipas, says everyday mistakes could put children at risk.

The survey confirms most parents install their child car seats themselves but many don’t do regular checks and some have doubts:

  • Half (51%) don’t check regularly that their child’s seat is properly installed.
  • 21% are not certain that their child is properly installed in the child car seat.
  • 17% aren’t sure if the seat is correct for their child’s age and weight.
  • 66% install seats themselves.
  • 25% have their car seat checked by a certified expert.

While the survey also indicates many parents and caregivers feel certain they’re using the correct car seat correctly, Pettipas and his team of child car seat specialists see something different first-hand.

“We were surprised with the survey results because at every one of our car seat clinics, we find so many seats improperly installed, kids in the wrong type of seat, second-hand seats, and worried parents baffled after realizing how much they don’t know,” says Pettipas who manages child car seat programs for BCAA. The bottom line is that many parents simply don’t know what they don’t know and may be making mistakes.”

The survey also revealed that second-hand child car seats are an area of much uncertainty for parents:

  • Half (50%) believe it’s safe to use a second-hand seat as long as it’s in “good condition.”
  • Almost one in five (18%) use a second-hand seat (from friends, family or bought from sites like Craigslist)
  • 29% of parents who use a second-hand seat admit to not knowing the history of the seat.

“Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s safe. Not knowing the full history of a second-hand car seat means parents can’t be absolutely certain of the seat’s condition and this can put their kid at risk,” Pettipas says. “From using the wrong type of car seat to improper installation, we understand mistakes can happen and BCAA wants to help by raising awareness about common mistakes and offering support to help parents do even more to protect their children.”

BCAA’s child car seat website, bcaa.com/carseats offers a wealth of car seat information including step-by-step installation instructions with images and printable checklists to help parents and caregivers use child car seats and booster seats correctly.

BCAA’s key tips for child car seat safety include:

  1. Use correct child car seat for child’s age and size. Take note of weight and height limits for car seats.
  1. Ensure proper installation. Read vehicle and child car seat manuals before using child car seat. Proper installation includes the child car seat being placed on an appropriate vehicle seat, positioned correctly and properly secured.
  1. Find a local car seat clinicParents and caregivers can attend workshops, like ones offered by BCAA to learn more and receive hands-on installation education. If a car seat clinic is unavailable in your area or you have questions, contact BCAA’s Child Passenger Safety information line at 1-877-247-5551.
  1. Ensure your child is properly placed and secured in the car seat.
  • Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child’s shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders)
  • Both harness strap latches should be fastened (both have been clicked into the buckle).
  • Harness straps are snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child’s collar bone).
  • Chest clip positioned at the child’s armpit level.
  1. Regularly check car seat position and condition.
  • Wiggle test: Hold car seat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Car seat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  • Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding, cracks in the shell. Clean out every day crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.
  1. If a second-hand car seat must be used, be absolutely certain of its full history.Ensure the seat hasn’t been involved in any collision or dropped. Check for recalls and ensure it is within its expiry date.

BCAA is dedicated to the safe transportation of children. For the past four years BCAA, has donated more than 7,000 new child car seats to families in need across B.C. through the Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way Lower Mainland. This June, BCAA will provide another thousand seats, bringing the total donation to 8,000 car seats.

Applications for the Community Child Car Seat Program are now being accepted from February 16 until March 6, 2017. Community programs offered by registered non-profit agencies throughout B.C. are eligible to apply and encouraged to visit bcaa.com/carseatprogram for program details and to apply online.

Salmon Chum at Noons Creek

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, from 11 am – 3 pm, the Port Moody Ecological Society invites everyone to attend their very special Fingerling Festival. Yes, it’s been 25 years since we first started putting chum salmon into Noons Creek.

A fun, free festival at the Noons Creek Hatchery in Port Moody, located just across the walking bridge on the north side of the skating arena, 300 Ioco Road. We are very proud to announce the City of Port Moody, Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) and Port of Vancouver, as again being tremendous sponsors of this year’s event.

Sandra Niven, Volunteer Coordinator and co-producer of the festival, is seeking over 100 volunteers to make this environmental festival our very best to date. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to register by emailing portmoodyecologicalsociety@hotmail.com. Roles include helping with over 70 environmental organisations and 5,000 visitors, setting up, cooking in our food tent, and assisting with the release of salmon into Noons Creek.

This iconic environmental festival provides an opportunity for children to help release thousands of young chum salmon into Noons Creek to help these fish begin their four-year journey at sea, and to visit the hatchery with its fish-rearing pond and restored wetland. In the Port Moody Skating Arena, over 60 organizations will provide opportunities to learn more about community initiatives and environmental stewardship. We are delighted announce the following as some of the exhibitors that will make up a total of over 60 exhibitors on festival day:

  • The City of Port Moody (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Port of Vancouver (Sponsor)
  • Pacific Coast Terminals (Sponsor)
  • Busters Towing (Sponsor)
  • Nature Trust of BC
  • Mike the Reptile Guy
  • Mossom Creek Hatchery (BIMES)
  • Sea Shepherd Society
  • Colony Farm Park Association
  • Burke Mountain Naturalists
  • Watershed Watch
  • Alouette River Management Society
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
  • Watershed Watch
  • Fraser River Discovery Centre
  • Friends of DeBoville Slough
  • World Wildlife Fund – Canada
  • Wildlife Rescue
  • Port Moody Station Museum
  • Rivershed Society
  • Vancouver Aquarium’s aquabus
  • Plus many more.

There will be First Nations artists and carvers, wildlife artists, Metro Van Regional Parks, amongst others. The ever popular Bobs & Lolo will be back again this year to give performances at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm in the arena. So get in touch and get involved!

Spring Break 2017!

by Jodi Iverson

After the seemingly endless winter, spring has sprung! The kids will soon be set loose for two weeks and parents across Greater Vancouver are looking for fun, local ways to keep the kids occupied. We have compiled some terrific options for March Break to suit kids who camp and the whole family.

CircusWest
Run away to the circus! CircusWest presents a week-long camp featuring all the favourite circus skills like unicycle, juggling, trapeze, trampoline, and acrobatics. On the final afternoon, the camp culminates with a one-hour show, where the campers present their new skills for friends and family!
www.circuswest.com

TumbleTown
New kid on the block, TumbleTown offers two weeks of half or full day camps for little gymnasts aged three to eight. Expect gymnastics-based days including story, arts, and crafts, games, free play and more!
www.tumbletown.ca

Evergreen Cultural Centre
From stage to studio, Evergreen Cultural Centre is a great choice to inspire your artistic camper. Offering quality week-long camps for artists ages six-16, there’s also tons of excitement at the Spring Break Festival, with three different shows. Remember, Evergreen Cultural centre is easily accessible by the new Evergreen SkyTrain that stops right at their front door!
www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca

Europa
Espanol? Si! Did you know bilingual children have been shown to have better critical thinking skills, which can result in better academic performance? Europa Language School offers your camper the opportunity to have fun as they learn and practise the Spanish language and culture at their beautiful new Coquitlam campus.
www.europals.ca

Burnaby 8 Rinks
Have a future Canuck or Whitecap in your house? 8 Rinks Hockey and Multi Sport camps feature professional instruction and the opportunity to hone budding athletic skills in a fun and active environment.
www.icesports.com 

Jump Gymnastics
Jump Gymnastics is a leader in children’s physical literacy and offers full day spring break camps in a positive and safe environment for kids ages three to seven in both their North Vancouver and Yaletown locations. Camps include fundamental movement skills in the gym, cooking, crafts, stories, and outings!
www.jumpgymnastics.ca

Burnaby Village Museum’s Heritage Adventure Camps
“History Comes to Life” for campers at Burnaby Village Museum! This year they are offering 12 days of fun, featuring heritage games, arts and crafts, vintage toys, free carousel rides and more.
www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca

Gulf of Georgia Cannery
In celebration of Canadas 150th anniversary, visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston for free during Spring Break. There are fun activities like crafts, games, and machine demos for kids of all ages! Pick up a Parks Canada Xplorer activity booklet and learn more about Canada’s west coast fishing industry!
www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.org

Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics
Join Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics for two weeks of gymnastics day camps including gymnastics skills building and various themed activities. They offer camps for all ages, toddler to teen. Full and half days available with a before and after care camp option as well! Kids will love the fun tumbling and physical fun.
www.phoenixgymnastics.com

Celebrate Pi Day with Kumon!

Pi Day is observed on March 14 at exactly 1:59 PM and this year, Kumon Canada wants to help Canadian children celebrate Pi Day in a fun and exciting way. Pi Day is a great excuse to engage children in fun math challenges meant to enrich and deepen their understanding of the concept of Pi. Activities might include investigations of the value of Pi, special Pi projects and parties with pizza or other kinds of “Pi.”

Kumon Math and Reading Centre Instructors have compiled four fun activities to help families celebrate Pi, while incorporating the self-learning method that Kumon follows. Here are a few fun ways to celebrate Pi Day and have your kids problem-solve and learn on their own at the same time!

  1. Make a Pi Bracelet or Necklace

To celebrate Pi Day this year, break out the craft kit and make yourself a fun fashion accessory!

Supplies:

  • Different colours of beads
  • Pipe cleaners, thread or string
  • A pen and a pad of paper

Steps:

  1. Write out as many Pi digits as you can colour code each number.
  2. Grab different colours of beads and begin to string them onto the thread or a pipe cleaner you select to make your bracelet.
  3. Start to place the beads onto the thread in order of Pi’s number sequence and the colours you’ve selected for each digit.
  4. Tie up the thread and wear your new accessory – use it to memorize the digits of Pi!
  1. Throw a Pi Day Scavenger Hunt

Conduct a Pi Day scavenger hunt by hiding Pi-themed objects around the house. The objects can also represent the numbers of Pi.

Supplies:

  • Assorted circular objects (fruit, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
  • Assorted number cards that represent the numbers in Pi
  • A pencil and a pad of paper

Steps:

  1. Hide a number of circular objects or numbers around your home.
  2. Come up with a list of the objects kids need to find (provide a few hints just in case!). Here is an example list to get you started:
    1. Three objects that have circular cross sections: cylinder, cone and sphere
    2. The first five digits of Pi
    3. Three items with the word ‘Pi’ in it
  3. Ask children to hunt for the objects.
  4. For older children, challenge them to measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects and then divide the circumference by the diameter, to find Pi.

After the hunt, reward all participants with a delicious prize, like pizza or pie!

  1. Host a Pi Word Challenge

Word challenges are always a hit with children. Here’s a fun way to enhance and test children’s vocabulary and help them learn new words as well!

Supplies:

  • Pencil and pen for each participant
  • OR Scrabble board game letters

Steps:

  1. Challenge children to write down as many words they can think of that include the word “pi” (pizza, pineapple, picture, pie, etc.).
  2. For younger players, help them out by talking and spelling things through and using images for added support
  3. Determine which child has the most number of words written down and offer them a prize!

Healthy Family Expo!

Are you looking for small steps to healthier, more active, eco-friendly family living?WCF - 200 x 100 #2 for blog post

Healthy Family Expo has the answers for busy Metro Vancouver parents at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Sunday, March 26th!

THIS EVENT TURNS THE TYPICAL EXPO ON ITS HEAD! Parents can taste and shop their way around 200+ exhibitors, including the Whole Foods Market Zone, London Drugs Health Zone, Toyota Outdoor Living Zone, West Coast Kids Healthy Baby Zone, Green Living Zone and more. But it’s the kids who will be blown away by the enormous Active Kid Zone, with a giant hamster ball track, rock climbing wall, Springfree Trampolines, run bike and sportball areas, Tumblebus & TumbleTown, Science World fireball show, Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan, Bobs & LoLo and Jessie Farrell concerts and very popular meet & greets with CBC Kids favourites Daniel Tiger & Super WHY!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 26th and grab your 2-for-1 Expo tickets online for a limited time with promo code WCF241, and you will be entered to win the early bird Springfree Trampoline prize! First 200 adults through the door will receive an adult ticket to Science World and partial proceeds of ticket sales support the Canadian Autism Network.

WCF - 200 x 200 #1 for blog postSharing is caring, so the Healthy Family Expo is giving away thousands in pre-expo prizes leading up to the $15,000 Grand Prize Showcase to be won at the main event on March 26th, including a one-year lease on a Toyota Prius c.

To get involved in the fun:

  1. Join the Expo Facebook Event to RSVP to win thousands in prizes from Expo partners at their March 23rd Facebook Party!
  2. Grab 2-for-1 Expo tickets for a limited time using promo code WCF241 (click for tickets!).
  3. Grab VIP Expo tickets to get a loaded gift bag and skip the line at the door! Only 100 available (click for tickets!).

Birth Fair Speakers!

Here it is – the speaker schedule for the Birth Fair! Both days are so jam packed with great information that some people are already buying tickets for both Saturday and Sunday!

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Tickets are just $5 online at www.birthfair.com/tickets, $10 cash only at the door.