This Popular Sleep Aid May Be Harmful to Kids

There’s no quick fix that gets kids to sleep sooner, better, deeper. But melatonin comes pretty close.While medical experts don’t have much bad to say to adults about using melatonin, which isn’t a pharmaceutical rather a health supplement, some are concerned when it comes to regular use in children.

A recent New York Times Well blog post reported that while a lot of parents have given melatonin for their kids because it works—doctors don’t actually know whether it’s doing harm in the long run. Children’s brains are still growing and developing, and melatonin is a synthetic form of a hormone the pineal gland produces, and which signals to the brain it’s time for sleep.

“I think we just don’t know what the potential long-term effects are, particularly when you’re talking about young children,” said Dr. Judith Owens, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Parents really need to understand that there are potential risks.”

Research isn’t conclusive but some suggests that it could have effects not just on the brain but on other systems developing in children: reproductive, cardiovascular, immune and metabolic.

Melatonin has known possible side effects for adults, including “headaches, dizziness and daytime grogginess,” the Times reports. That last one is what makes it a sleep aid and also dangerous for drivers who might use it. The hormone-like substance, which is also found in foods like barley and walnuts, can also interfere with medications for blood pressure and diabetes.

When researchers looked into consistency across melatonin products, they found that 71 percent of their samples were at least 10 percent off from the written dose.

Doctors who treat sleep disorders in children have long known parents turn frequently turn to melatonin to help their kids with sleep issues, often picking up the pills at a health food store and not telling their own doctors—a mistake.

“I rarely see a family come in with a child with insomnia who hasn’t tried melatonin,” Owns said. “I would say at least 75 percent of the time when they come in to see us” at the sleep clinic, “they’re either on melatonin or they’ve tried it in the past.”

For those who give it to their children, Owens recommends letting their child’s doctor know. She also said the pills should be picked up from a reputable source. Because they’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Adminstration, there’s no way of know how much of the useful ingredient is in each pill. Buy “pharmaceutical grade,” which tend to have “more precise dosing levels.”

When researchers looked into consistency across melatonin products, they found that 71 percent of their samples were at least 10 percent off from the written dose. In fact—and this is where parents, particularly, should be cautious—some contained nearly 5 times the dosage written on the label.

So while there’s still no silver bullet for kids and sleep—except for lots of exercise, predictable nighttime routines and early (yes, early!) bedtimes—the melatonin temptation should be met with caution and some medical support.

Contributions on this post via Mom.me

11 Words That Have A Different Meaning After You Have Kids

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You think you have mastered the English language. You’re sure you know the meaning of these commonly used words, right? But then you have kids. And you realize that these words you thought you knew take on a whole new definition once you become a parent. Here are 11 words that you’ve had to relearn since having kids, with brand-spanking-new definitions.

  1. Tired

Pre-Kid Definition: Feeling sleepy

Post-Kid Definition: EXHAUUUUSTED. Frickin’ BEAT! A condition usually brought on by severe lack of sleep which happens night after night with no recovery. Every muscle in your body aches. You feel like you just competed in two Iron Mans back to back. Your eyeballs burn. SO, SHUT UP, PRE-KID DEFINITION!

  1. All-Nighter

Pre-Kid Definition: An entire nighttime period spent partying and having fun. No sleep is experienced because one is too busy drinking, dancing and being free. Being so free and alive. So free …

Post-Kid Definition: An entire nighttime period spent up with your baby or toddler who is crying incessantly and won’t go back down in her mother-‘effing crib. Like, she won’t stop crying and it’s making your face melt. And this goes on all night long.

  1. Quickly

Pre-Kid Definition: Doing something with swiftness, efficiency, in a short amount of time.

Post-Kid Definiton: Leaving the house before noon. Or getting out of the grocery store in less than 2 hours.

Pants
Pre-Kid Definition: Trousers or nicely ironed slacks or skinny jeans
Post-Kid Definition: As in, yoga

  1. Eating Out

Pre-Kid Definition: Going to a restaurant and enjoying a leisurely meal wherein you eat and possibly have a glass or two of wine while you talk about world issues and/or the latest episode of RHOBH.

Post-Kid Definition: Going to a restaurant with the hopes of getting food in your belly before you a) either leave voluntarily with ranch dressing across your shirt and tears in your eyes, or b) are kindly asked to leave by the restaurant manager after more than 3 surrounding tables complain about the croutons flying from the circus happening at your table.

  1. Nap

Pre-Kid Definition: A brief episode of sleep, usually taken mid-day to rejuvenate and reenergize. Perhaps taken in a hammock after just a few beers or a delicious, slowly eaten meal.

Post-Kid Definition: Something that is a daily struggle to get your baby or toddler to do; something that doesn’t exist for you anymore, honey.

  1. Pants

Pre-Kid Definition: Trousers or nicely ironed slacks or skinny jeans

Post-Kid Definition: As in, yoga

  1. Sex

Pre-Kid Definition: Hot, torrid and potentially spur-of-the-moment boot-knocking that happens often and anywhere

Post-Kid Definition: A major event. Likely put on the calendar. To occur in your bedroom, done quietly as to not disturb young housemates, in an amount of time usually cut short by said housemates with a “MAAAAAHHHMMMM!” Or just crying, either of which pretty much kills the mood.

  1. Gross

Pre-Kid Definition: Very unpleasant, foul, even repulsive

Post-Kid Definition: BOW DOWN TO ME, PRE-KID DEFINITION!!!

  1. Chillin’

Pre-Kid Definition: Relaxing. Taking time to do absolutely nothing. Kicking it.

Post-Kid Definition: This word does not exist.

  1. Acceptable

Pre-Kid Definition: Able to be agreed upon. Suitable.

Post-Kid Definition: Whatever you can do — be it begging, bribing or surrendering — to get your small child to just put on her stupid pants.

  1. Love

Pre-Kid Definition: A feeling of deep affection or attachment

Post-Kid Definition: You never knew how your heart could burst with such happiness and intense affection for a tiny little human that looks sort of like you. Your soul lights up when you see him. Your heart aches when you are away from her. And you can’t even begin to imagine your life before they were in it. Even if you actually got sleep back then.

Once you have children, everything changes  even the definitions of words.

Via mom.me

What Parents Need to Know About the Child Who Died Under Dental Anesthesia

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Article original from Parents

Our hearts go out to the parents of the toddler who passed away during a dental procedure. And here’s what parents can take away from this unthinkable tragedy.

You may have read about Texas 14-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres, who passed away under anesthesia during a dental procedure back in March. But in case you’re seeing this heartbreaking story circulating again online, here’s what you need to know.

According to Yahoo News, a pediatric specialist at Austin Children’s Dentistry, Dr. Michael Melanson, at first informed Daisy’s mom, Betty Squier, that Daisy needed to be put under anesthesia to fill two cavities, because she wouldn’t be able to sit still long enough for the procedure.

But Squier recounted to Inside Edition that during the procedure, Dr. Melanson told her, “things have changed, [and it’s] six cavities. We’re going to go ahead and do 4 crowns and 2 fillings.”

Understandably, Squier wasn’t so sure putting a crown on baby teeth was necessary. But she explains, “I allowed him to do it because I trusted him.”

Unthinkably, Daisy went into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia. She was rushed to the hospital, where she later died.

The medical examiner concluded anesthesia likely killed this adorable little girl, according to the autopsy results. “One can only speculate as to why any treatment was performed considering no indication of dental disease or pathology,” the report also says.

In a statement to Inside Edition, Dr. Melanson’s attorney said, “There is no evidence that either the mother, the anesthesiologist, or the dentist did anything to cause the event. The best interest of the child was everyone’s only goal. Our hearts continue to go out to the family.”

As does mine. I am shattered for this mom.

Even worse is that this is not the first case of something like this happening. In July, a 3-year-old girl in California died after being put under anesthesia for a dental procedure, according to People magazine. And in January of 2014, a Hawaiian 3-year-old lapsed into a coma and later died after being placed under “heavy sedation” in the dentist’s chair, the Association of Health Care Journalists reports. And those are just the cases that made headlines. As the Huffington Post reports, 31 kids have died under dental sedation in the past 15 years.

Given this scary statistic, and in light of the tragedy that took the life of Daisy and other kids mentioned here, we talked to Jade Miller, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), to ask what parents should know. When asked how young might be too young for general anesthesia, Dr. Miller replied, “The primary factor to consider is the severity of the dental disease. Young children with dental pain and/or infection require treatment at any age. Alternatives should be assessed to determine all options that may be available. In some cases, a general anesthesia is the very best approach for that child and can be completed in a safe and effective manner.”

If your dentist recommends general anesthesia, Dr. Miller said to keep these three tips in mind:

  • Get ALL your questions answered. “We always recommend if a parent has any concerns or questions related to their child’s dental care to make sure they are answered to their satisfaction,” Dr. Miller said.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. If you’re uncomfortable with or have questions about your child’s diagnosis or treatment, there’s no harm in talking to your child’s dentist or getting a second opinion.
  • Know your options. “Parents should understand any alternatives to a general anesthesia, which could include a conscious sedation and the advantages and disadvantages of an alternative approach,” Dr. Miller said. “They should ask about where the procedure will take place, such as in a surgery center or a dental office, and the experience and training of the anesthesia provider.”

My son was 2 years-old when I first took him to the dentist when he broke his frontal tooth, my first nightmare and first question was about the anesthesia, if gradually during the process he will be under general anesthesia or some type of local anesthesia, but the answer was NO.

I realize Daisy’s procedure was completely different, but the point is that I can relate to Squier trusting a medical professional’s advice as to how her daughter should be treated. And then, to have this happen? It’s unimaginable.

The Mom sings, The Son Cries

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I think already commented and described about how my son of 2 and a half years old gets so emotional since he was a baby when I sing to him. I cannot understand and explain that feeling, how he feels so emotional when I sing a lullaby to him, is not that I am singing a known song, I make up melodies to him and singing at the time he goes to bed to make him feel more relaxed but there are days when he just tells me NO, and other ones when he probably needs to feel my comfort and closeness and that he listen to me and start feeling so emotional and cries…

Probably is a remarkable demonstration of emotional contagion, the tendency for humans to absorb and reflect the intense emotions of those around them. Emotional contagion is the foundation of human responses that are essential to social functioning such and empathy and is facilitated by the mirror neuron system in the brain.

It is shown in young infants’ tendency to cry when in the vicinity of another crying baby (known as contagious crying), and just as easily to mimic the joy or glee expressed by another person.  Emotional contagion may also be seen in the blank stares of infants of depressed mothers or fathers, reflecting their caregivers’ flat affect.

Parents also imitate their infants’ expressions. Infants begin to show a ‘social smile’ by about six to eight weeks of age, and this in turn also triggers more smiling in parents. This moment-to-moment mimicry and matching of emotional expressions in time is  emotional synchrony like ‘getting in step’ with each other, to dance together in a smooth interaction.

The orientation to each other is important in establishing the optimal conditions for emotional contagion and synchrony. In this case when the singing begins, the emotional expression of the face immediately mimics this concentrated on the facial expression.

I believe the singing plays a very important role in this scenario. In daily interactions, emotional expressions are fleeting. Smiles or frowns might flash across the face, constantly changing with speech and environmental cues. But when singing a slow-paced song, facial expressions are shown as if in slow motion or even as if suspended in time probably intensifying the effects of emotional contagion.

Emotional contagion induced by film characters on-screen and sensitivity to rising and falling melodies in film scores, as well as speech contours are also mechanisms by which films take us on an emotional journey.  If filmed while watching a movie, you might catch yourself mimicking facial expressions of the characters, even though nobody is responding to your smiles in the dark.

I wish I can record this magical moment, but always occurs natural and unexpected. I truly believe and know that happened,  is very common to see babies cry when the mother sings to them.

5 Least-Favorite Questions To A New Mother

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As the mother of a baby, you’ll get way more attention, comments and questions than you would if you were just out and about on your own. Some of this action is fun and even welcome, but there are some questions that you’d rather never hear uttered by another human being. Here are some from the list of my personal least-favorites.

  1. “Is he a good baby?”

This question still drives me crazy when I think about it. Is the person really asking if your baby is good or bad? They might as well just ask, “Is your baby evil or what?” Seriously, what makes a baby bad? Poor sleeping habits, colic, breastfeeding problems? These are typical baby problems and babies can’t help it. They’re babies and that’s what some babies do. It has no bearing on their characters, so people need to please stop asking new moms if their baby is a good one or not because the question frankly sucks.

  1. “Won’t you spoil him if you hold him all the time?”

With just a few words, this question puts moms on the defensive. Moms hold their babies because their babies thrive on it, it helps them stay content and they are less stressed-out. These is good.

  1. “Can I feed him ice cream/hot dogs/junk food/major allergens?”

No. You can’t feed my baby anything without my approval because I’m pretty much the only person (aside from my partner) who knows what kind of foods he can eat. Some foods are dangerous for babies, and some he may be allergic to. I don’t want him to have ice cream yet he really doesn’t care at this point.

  1. “Should you be eating that if you’re breastfeeding? Doesn’t it bother your baby?” ( Not my case thanks god…I cannot imagine my answers )

This is another question that puts moms on the defensive. Most likely, we know what our nursing babies can or can’t handle. If I can eat curry and salsa and broccoli, then I probably know that my baby doesn’t mind the flavor, it doesn’t give him gas and you can leave me alone now thanks.

  1. “How much does your baby weigh? He looks big/small for his age.”

Babies are super individual, simply because they are all individuals. When you question a kid’s size, it can sound you’re really questioning if her parents know what they’re doing. Are they feeding her enough, or are they not? It’s better if people realize that we (and our child’s doctor) know how he is doing and your question is just rude. We don’t have cookie-cutter babies, any more than we would be able to have clones. Just stop.

So most questions asked by friends, family, acquaintances and strangers are friendly and benign but others aren’t. What would you add to this list? In my opinion there are more horrific question but those are the 5 common horrible questions to a new mom

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Babies Can Destroy Marriages


Do you love your children more than your spouse? Have you ever even allowed yourself to ponder that question? Probably not because it feels kind of dirty and wrong and then there comes the guilt, the all-consuming mommy guilt.
Parenting in America has somehow become a blood sport with the devotion of a religion. Not only do we parent like our lives depend on it, we know our reputations do and failure is not an option. This is the dogma upon which the church of helicopter parenting was founded. I used to embrace this very way of parenting, but I’m a recent convert.

Anyway, the first rule you learn is that the first year of marriage is the hardest. The second thing you learn is that once children enter the mix, maintaining a loving and enduring relationship with your spouse is even harder. It takes a lot of concerted effort on both people’s parts.  

Basically, the rule is that you must cherish your spouse because they are forever. Your children are just a temporary horror show. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that parenthood, especially the toddler years, is misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. 

Unfortunately, many parents believe that in order to qualify as a good parent you must love and worship your children to the exclusion of all else. We treat parenthood like a religion and our offspring as our deities. We believe that nothing is more important than our children and their happiness.
As parents, we spend our lives on call, but after a certain point, we are needed less and less to guide them step-by-step, every minute of forever. We teach them, love them and give them the foundation they need to go out into the world and be good people with strong minds and beliefs.

Being a parent is probably the most profound thing many of us will ever do, but you can’t sacrifice everything for them, or what you have left to give won’t be worth anything. 

I hope you found this article interesting. Some information was original of Deborah Cruz. Follow my blog to find informative and share experiences about motherhood, parenting, and family.  

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Monitor Obsession

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The video monitor can be the amazing invention that has allowed us to go from simply hearing our children cry through a static-filled speaker to watching them sleep. Except we mostly watch them be awake, roll around babble, complain, and cry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the video monitor, but I believe they severely impede many parents’ sleep training efforts.

Simply put, video monitors allow custodians to see and know too much during the sleep coaching process. Sure, some people are able to work on sleep and not sit and watch the monitor for every little peep, movement or simply to obsess about how long it is taking their child to soothe him/her to sleep, but most are far too invested in the outcome of every sleep. Their anxiety doesn’t allow them to look or walk away; I can admit has happened to me.

The challenge emerges when the anxiety that causes a parent or caretaker to stare at the monitor also results in over responding or having a “rescue response” to every little peep or movement. Too often, well-meaning parents see their baby have a brief awakening during naps at around 40 to 45 minutes and it results in the parent jumping up and going in to get their child.

The issue here is that a partial arousal at 40 to 45 minutes, after one sleep cycle, is completely normal. Without a super high quality speaker or video monitor, most parents wouldn’t even realize their baby is waking up and the baby would very likely put him/herself back to sleep in a few moments. By responding to the arousal, parents are unwittingly preventing sleep consolidation.

So what can you do if you find yourself watching the video monitor obsessively or jumping up at every peep coming from the speaker? First, work on putting our baby down drowsy but awake. Babies that put themselves to sleep to start are far more successful at putting themselves back to sleep between cycles.

When your baby has an arousal tries to take a breath and wait a few minutes before going to your child. Babies often wake up briefly between sleep cycles. They also make a LOT of sleep noises. These noises range from grunting to whining to crying. This doesn’t mean they are fully or even ready to be awake.

Many babies experience something called sleep cries. These cries can be intense and some parents assume their child is in pain or in distress and immediately attend to their child. However, the child is often still asleep! The crying usually passes in about five minutes then reduces to whining and fussing. By minute 10 the child is often sleeping soundly again. If your child experiences these sleep cries he/she is likely over tired.

It’s important to allow babies to work through sleep cries as rescue responding will result in fully awakening the child, causing inadequate naps or creating a night waking scenario. When parents repeatedly rescue respond to partial stimulation or sleep cries they inadvertently create habitual waking.

Just remember that partial  stimulation in sleep are to be expected and allowing your child the time to practice the skill of self-soothing will go a long way in your effort toward healthy, consolidated sleep.

So if you’re sitting in front of your video monitor instead of taking a shower, calling your best friend or taking your own nap, please consider an audio monitor during sleep training periods. You may find that you see better, faster results with far less energy and anxiety expended.

Original post from Sleepy Bye Family
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Why You Shouldn’t Obsess About Milestones


When your child starts walking or using the potty doesn’t matter as much as you may think it does.

By Harley A. Rotbart, M.D.

Our grandson is taking his first steps. Some of his playmates started earlier, and some haven’t started yet, but we’ve learned not to worry about his timing on such things. He’ll let his parents and us know when he’s ready to walk and when he’s ready to run.

Comparing your kids to others is natural. My wife and I used to joke that when our kids were young they were the only non-gifted, non-talented kids in school because everyone else’s kids seemed to get tested and labeled “GT.” Our kids just went to school, most times happily, sometimes grumpily, and did their work (most of the time). We never tested them, always hoping they’d find their own comfortable zones for achievement without a label that separated them from their friends and classmates. As young adults today, they all seem to have turned out okay, despite never having been officially designated as special.

Inevitably, in day care and preschools everywhere today, as was true yesterday and will be tomorrow, parents are watching the other kids to see how their own stack up. Developmental milestones are the most common measuring sticks. As everyone knows, children are supposed to roll over at 3 months, sit at 6 months, walk at 1 year, potty train at 2 years, ride a tricycle at 3 years, and get their driving license at 16 years. Right? Wrong. Well, maybe the driving license is right depending on which state you live in and how brave you are as a parent, but the rest is not nearly as predictable as developmental milestone charts would have you believe. Child development is a continuum, a gentle ramp or incline, not a series of discrete steps on a staircase. Although the differences between a 6-month-old and a 6-year-old are very dramatic, the differences between a 6-month-old and an 8-month-old are much less so. Some kids walk at 9 months, others at 15 months or later. That doesn’t predict their future SAT scores or athletic scholarships.

Anyone who’s ever looked at the fine print on a board game (those are the games that come in boxes instead of on digital devices) knows that just because Candyland says recommended for 3- to 5-year-olds, and Monopoly is recommended for kids 8 years and older, doesn’t mean that 3-year-olds will like Candyland or 7-year-olds won’t beat you in Monopoly.

One of the great wonders of childhood is its unpredictability. Kids will surprise you, and surprise their pediatricians like me, with their unique progress through the developmental milestones. Your 3-year-old is not delayed or abnormal just because he hasn’t shown the least bit of interest in a tricycle (nor is she gifted and talented just because she rode a tricycle at 2 years and 8 months). Of course, if you have concerns about your child’s developmental progress, speak with his doctor, but don’t obsess about the timing of each milestone. Kids have a way of finding their own pace and following the beat of their own drummer.

Visit Dr. Harley Rotbart  website and blog and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Mother Shares Her Heartbreaking Story As A Warning To All Mothers

Five years ago Jillian Johnson welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world via an emergency c-section.After around two hours, little Landon had latched perfectly onto his mother’s breast and began breastfeeding. Everything seemed normal.

Jarrod and I wanted what was best for Landon as every parent does for their child,” writes Jillian in a blog post for FedIsBest

“We took all of the classes. Bought and read all of the books. We were ready! Or so we thought….every class and book was geared toward breastfeeding and how it’s so important if you want a healthy child.”

Landon was born in a “Baby-Friendly” hospital which places focus on breastfeeding. (No formula was given out except for medical reasons in which case a prescription was required.)

As nurses and lactation consultations visited Jillian and Landon they commented how “he had a great latch and was doing fine”, although she says one did point out that due to Jillian’s PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) she may struggle to produce milk.

Despite this, she was still encouraged to exclusively breastfeed.

Jillian says Landon would not stop crying unless he was on the breast, so she continued to nurse him continuously, what the nurses described as “cluster feeding”.

“I recalled learning all about that in the classes I had taken and being a first-time mum, I trusted my doctors and nurses to help me through this – even more so since I was pretty heavily medicated from my emergency c-section and this was my first baby,” says Jillian.

“But I was wrong. I’ve learned I have to be my child’s number one advocate.”

Within 24 hours Landon has nursed for a total of 9.3 hours, had zero wet nappies with four dirty ones.

After 27 hours he had lost 4.67% of his birth weight.

On the second day he nursed for 14 hours total, her 3 wet nappies and 6 dirty ones.

After 53 hours he had lost 9.27% of his body weight.

According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) a general guideline says that a baby loses 5-10% of birth weight in the first week and regains this by 2-3 weeks. 

“I had no idea that he was inconsolable because he was starving – literally.”

Landon and Jillian were sent home after just 64 hours (2.5 days).

12 Hours later, Landon went into cardiac arrest caused by dehydration. He was rushed to hospital and placed in NICU. 15 days later he was taken off life support.

“I still have many, many days of guilt and questions – what if I would’ve just given him a bottle? And anger because how would I have known.”

Jillian says she still struggles daily but that by sharing her story hopes Landon’s death won’t be in vain.

The Fed is Best Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of newborn and infant starvation from insufficient exclusive breastfeeding.

Their message is “Feed your baby. Feed them as much as they need to stay safe and satisfied. Only they know what they need.”

This article originally appeared on Marie Claire

THIS USES DON’T INVOLVE A BABY 


12 uses for baby wipes that don’t involve a baby 
Baby wipes have many more uses than just for cleaning babies. 
Here’s why you should have a packet on hand at all times.

1 – Baby wipes can be great make-up removers. They are made for use on skin, so they are safe, plus they are brilliant at getting rid of mascara.

2 – They are also great for removing make-up on clothing. If you manage to get foundation on your top, or a bit of lipstick on a collar, use baby wipes to remove the mess.  They will also remove deodorant marks too.

3 – If you are dying your hair and get a bit of excess dye on your skin, use baby wipes to clean up the excess.

4 – They are also great for getting rid of frizz and flyaway hair. Just wipe softly over your hair and be amazed!

5 – Give your shoes a rub over with a baby wipe and they will clean up lovely.

6 – Have the grandkids been visiting and left grubby marks on the floor? Even worse, it is crayon? Try baby wipes to get it off.

7- They are great for wiping down and cleaning electronic devices… your mobile phone or tablet, your remote controls etc. We all know how dirty they can get. 

8 – You can also take them shopping and give the shopping trolley handles a clean down easily with them too.

9 – Take them camping or when travelling. They are great at an airport when you need a refresher between flights, or camping when you don’t have access to a shower but need to feel cleaner.

10 – In the car they can be used to clean the dash and seat belt straps with ease.

11 – They are good to soak up spills too, even on your carpets.

12 – Take them to the beach. They are great for getting rid of sand from feet and other places you don’t want it.

This article originally appeared on Practical Parenting