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      If you are the parent of a special needs child then you know that growing up special in today’s world is not easy.  Finding ways to help your child be successful and to be as independent as they can be is often a challenge.  Too often those children, or young adults, are shuffled off to a seperate area or to a “special” program.  Acceptance is sometimes hard to come by.

        Therefore, it is vitally important to create an environment where your special person is accepted, loved, encouraged and challenged to spread their wings.  Finding appropriate venues to integrate them with “normal” or “average” peers is difficult. 

        When you are able to find a good fit…often you must force yourself to stand back and let them do and be.  That is easier said than done.  As a parent you are always in a protective mode…and you should be…but…you must also let them be as independent as they can be without interference.  🙂 

          Do you have some great experience that you could share with other parents of special needs children or children who have been adopted who struggle with issues?  If so, others could benefit from your successes and possibly even your struggles.  Check out this blog:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  Introduce yourself and leave a comment.  You never know…you just might find others to share with. 

          

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     As a Christian I am struggling with the line between fear and faith.  My parents are both cancer survivors.  However, right before Christmas they both had tests done that have come back with suspicious results.

       I listen to my mother say that she is not going to get worked up until she talks with the doctor about the results.  In general, I agree with that.   My mother is pretty much a positive thinker, which is a great thing.

         My father is cut out of a different cloth.  He automatically thinks negatively; he can’t seem to help it.  His mind goes to the worst case scenerio.  It is experience related…he has had the worst case scenerio happen to him before…so he just expects that to be his luck.   Both mom and dad will be meeting up with their respective cancer doctors before the first week of January is over.

          I am a product of both of my parents.  I am at times a positive thinker….and at times, automatically hit the negativity zone.  I don’t like it that that is true; but, it is honest.  I work hard attempting to focus on the positives.

           The problem is…fear.  I fear hearing the situations that they are facing will possibly return them to the medical world of tests, surgeries, treatments, complications, and hospitalizations.  This is a world that is both isolating and overwhelming, with people.  🙂  I realize that that sounds contrary….but, it isn’t.  

     You are surrounded with people in the medical field….this specialist, that oncologist, the anestesiologist (sp?), the radiologist, the pharmacist, the dietician, the family doctor, the nurses, the insurance company…the list goes on and on.  The isolation comes when you must seperate yourself from the general population because of the possibility of infection.  The isolation that the patient feels when heading in for the surgery or the treatment…no-one else can do those things for them.  It is in isolation that fear takes root and does it’s dirty work.  Discouragement can set in…thwarting all of the good and positive things that are at work in the healing process.

     The thing is, once you have been a survivor…your history can limit treatments.  It can also be eye opening to the types of situations you may be facing this time around.  My mother has  developed conditions that can be life threatening, since the last time around.  Both my mother and father had difficult side effects and complications from their various treatments, in the past.

     I am a firm believer that God is in control of everything.  I don’t claim to understand the mind of God.  But, i know that he allows things to happen that are very difficult to go through.  If left to our own devices…most human beings would opt out of the difficult things and shoot straight for the easy path…myself included.  My head knows that much can be learned during these hard moments in life…that God has things for us to gain in those moments.  I know he has things to be accomplished during those moments…he puts people in our path for us to connect with and to share with.  We will do our best to bring glory to his name throughout.  For he is worthy of praise in all things.

        So, I will work at praying that God will have mercy…that he will guide and direct us as we face these additional challenges.  I will ask for wisdom, clarity, patience, faith, courage, strength, healing, financial blessings, and any area of lacking; that we may need to overcome in the face of these trials.  

       What i am thankful for, is that we don’t have to pray for love or sharing; or, willing family members to help out.  We are blessed in those areas.  We are a family that knows how to support one another; and, whoever is in need around us, at the time.   Roomates have often been the recipients of the overflow of our big family.  There have been roomates that had no one to look out for them…they were alone in their journey.  My family is nurturing in nature.   I am thankful for that compassionate part of our family. 

     I am thankful for those in the medical community who also have compassion, skill, knowledge and who are sensitive in the way that they go about promoting healing to their patients and their family members.  They are our allies in the war that has been declared on our loved ones..they are on the front lines of battle trying to help our loved ones to have a full and healthy life; so we pray for all of them who will have contact with us.  We respect their skill and dedication.

     We have so much to be thankful for…and, we are.  Are we greedy to wish for health and financial blessings to meet the demands put on the family as we go thru these things?  I don’t think so.   I know that God has a purpose; I pray that we realize it and make the most of it as he would desire us to do.  I am just selfish enough to wish, as Jesus did on the cross, that this cup would pass from out of our hands; if God so desires. 

         Again…the line blurrs between faith and fear that these medical challenges may not pass from us!

           

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     Have you ever noticed how a baby can change the whole environment of a room?  You can be standing in line somewhere thinking that you would rather be anywhere else in the world…frustrated beyond belief; and, a mother or father can walk in with a baby and people just seem to smile a little more.  Babies have the ability to change the world.

        If the baby is old enough to interact with those around them…they can lift the spirits of the grumpiest person nearby.  Everyone is that baby’s friend and while they may not want to leave the safe and secure arms of mom or dad to let a stranger hold them…they will generally smile, coo and try to engage those around them.  That baby has already changed everything about life for both mom and dad; as well as those in the life of mom and dad.

         Every baby is special.  But there is one baby that is even more so; it is baby Jesus.  Today is his birthday and he changed the world more than any other child born.  He was born to bring life and love everlasting to the world.  He loves everyone and wishes for them to live in heaven.  For this to happen…we must accept him as our savior; and, live a life that is worthy of being saved-the bible is our road map…it teaches us the way to live.   We live to be of service to others and to worship God. 

         Babies are a gift from God…just as baby Jesus was a gift.  So this Christmas, please remember him in your celebration.  He is the reason for the whole holiday…celebrating Christmas without celebrating Christ Jesus seems like an empty holiday to me.  May you be blessed this Christmas and in this New Year!  Happy Birthday Jesus!  How do you plan on celebrating Christmas?

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       Got a call for a prayer request today for a young woman, recently married, who is 5 weeks pregnant and having severe pains.  Of course that is never good when you are expecting.  In the last several months, we have known several women who are expecting who were in the same situation.  Their pregnancies were in jeparody. 

         My own daughter has been in that situation twice now.  It is a fearful thing to have to be on bedrest….trying to buy more time for the child in the womb…just to get them to a safe time in the pregnancy to be born.   God is the giver of life…and he is the protector of life.  We dont know the mind of God regarding these things.  But, it is a miracle that from the time that the mother is aware of the life inside her…she has the ability to bond with that child; sight unseen.   Why are some children conceived and are miscarried or lost shortly after birth?  I don’t know.  Why are some people allowed to carrying a child to term only to abandon it or abuse it?  I don’t know.  Why is it that some people who desperately want a child are denied the opportunity due to infertility issues?  I don’t know.  Why are so many babies lost to abortion?  I don’t know.  Why are some children unwanted?  I don’t know. 

         I have pondered the mysteries of such issues when my husband and I lost two pregnancies ourselves.  Those are questions that we just don’t know the answers to at this time.   All I know is that God loves us and wants the best for us.  I pray for this young woman and her child…I know the fear and anxiety.  I also know that she wants to bring this child into the world.   Let’s hope that she gets to greet this child at his/her moment of birth and is able to give thanks to the giver of life!

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       Maybe I am naive, I don’t think that I am…but, truly I try to think well of others unless they give me a rather royal reason not to.  Tonight , I am more than a little annoyed at a few teenagers.  I stopped off at the local library and was perusing the books in the upper level when i overheard a conversation between some teens and a female newcomer.  One of the two males told one of the females to go over to another young male teen who was quite some distance away from them up near the counter.

      The male told the pretty young female to go ask the less attractive, and clearly not a member of their particular cliche, whether he stole “Jake’s” skateboard.  Understand that this is winter here…and, the boy clearly challenged the young woman to go harass the other young man.  Which she promptly did with a malicious smile on her formerly pretty face.  You could hear the young man stand his ground and say No, he didn’t take it.  You could also hear his hurt and embarassment.  When the young woman came back she held out her hand, into which the teen male poured change; as the young woman said, see I told you I would do it!

          I do not know any of these teens.  I turned to go check out my books when i heard the teen boys tell a younger boy (possible sibling) to go ask him again if he took “Jake’s” skateboard.  The young man being harassed cried out…I said NO I didn’t take his skateboard.  The young sibling came back to the two other teen boys and said…what did you tell me to do that for; after he saw the two teens laughing hysterically.

           At this point, i fully realized that it wasn’t some longstanding issue with a missing skateboard in which the teens suspected the other young man of stealing.  It was clearly some cruel twisted bullies who were getting their jollies out of publically humiliating someone who they believed deserved to be treated that way.   This made me very upset.

            Not only did these two young teens use other people to do their dirty work, they subjected every person within hearing distance into being some kind of accomplices just because we overheard it; and, if we did not intervene then we were just as guilty as them; in my eyes.  They were clearly enjoying the misery of another human being; misery that they caused with their cruelty.

            I am not normally a person who likes to draw attention to myself in public situations…but my spirit would not be quiet.  I felt someone had to address what they were doing.  I told them that they were being very rude and that it was time to grow up.  They lowered their eyes and quickly seperated.  Did I do enough; will it change their behavior?  Probably not.  However, in my heart…if i had walked away and kept quiet about what they were doing…then, I would not have had peace in my heart. 

        Why do some people feel such need to hurt, humiliate and tear down another person?  Who are they to decide who is acceptable and who is not?  How sad is it that these young people felt perfectly safe and secure doing what they were doing without fear of being challenged? 

             Personal integrity is important…never forget that.  Never forget that coming to the aid of another person is a compassionate thing to do and there is not enough compassion in the world.  Pretend that compassion is an unending well (it truly is)…and dip into it often.    Peace and love from one person to another; God bless!

        

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Have you ever noticed that people who have an attitude of thankfulness in their heart are much more pleasant people to be around?  That fact was brought home yesterday, when I knew that we would be surrounded with family who has that view on life.  It is not so much that life is perfectly happy and content…it is an attitude of grattitude.  Knowing in your heart that things can get better when they are not the way that you wish them to be.  The future has a way of working itself out when living situations are not as you want them to be.

       The point was driven home that it is a choice to experience life to it’s fullness by a phone call.  It was a person who is going through a very difficult thing in life…divorce.  He had called the night before and was very morose and abrupt.  He SAYS that he called to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.  But it didn’t feel that way; and my husband was not available to talk to him till the next morning… on Thanksgiving.

       So my husband calls him back to return the “good wishes” only to be greeted and treated to the same monotone voice that i heard.  He was filled with despair.  When wished a Happy Thanksgiving…he actually replied; “What is there to be thankful for?”

       Then he said, that is why i called you yesterday; to AVOID the whole Thanksgiving Day thing! Then why call at all?  Did he really mean it that he wished for us to have a Happy Thanksgiving or did he want to let us know, that while we were having a Happy Thanksgiving, he was miserable? 

       I asked him the night before what he was going to do on Thanksgiving after trying to support him through the short conversation; only to become disconnected on the phone.  Or that is what i thought, until the next day when my husband experienced his phone call with this person.  He too experienced a disconnect with him…co-incidence? 

        I don’t think it was…i think he was hanging up in his misery.  That is sad, it is disturbing, it is heart wrenching.  It was also angering; because, he does have much to be thankful for.  He has a job, he has a place to live, he has  children for which to be thankful for.   The phone calls were a blantant bid for sympathy; and, an opportunity to dump his chosen mood of misery on other human beings.  How we choose to live our lives is just that, a choice.  You can “let life happen to you” or you can choose to wring every last joy or pleasure out of it while you have it.

       It isn’t that we don’t care about the misery that he is going through in his divorce.  But the truth is, that no one else can give you happiness or peace.   You can’t put life on hold or it will pass you by…leaving you with a plate full of regrets!

      Now there is more suffering.  It is unavoidable at this point.  There are two choices…to accept the ending and move forward…or wallow in the misery and resentment.  This person still has children to be a parent to; siblings to have relationships with; and, the person is still young enough to learn from their mistakes and rebuild their life with another person, if he so chooses.  This person is a good person.  I wish for him happiness.  I wish for him healing and joy in life.  If i could box it up and give it to him…i would…but i am afraid…he doesn’t know how to accept it. 

       Life is short.  We must approach it with care.  Is life always going to give us what we want, when we want it, the way we want it on a silver platter?  No.  Can we still choose to live joyously and fully?  Yes, i believe we can.  Let’s help each other along by giving encouragement, when we are ALLOWED to!

      Have you ever noticed that people who have an attitude of thankfulness in their heart are much more pleasant people to be around?  That fact was brought home yesterday, when I knew that we would be surrounded with family who has that view on life.  It is not so much that life is perfectly happy and content…it is an attitude of grattitude.  Knowing in your heart that things can get better when they are not the way that you wish them to be.  The future has a way of working itself out when living situations are not as you want them to be.

       The point was driven home that it is a choice to experience life to it’s fullness by a phone call.  It was a person who is going through a very difficult thing in life…divorce.  He had called the night before and was very morose and abrupt.  He SAYS that he called to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.  But it didn’t feel that way; and my husband was not available to talk to him till the next morning… on Thanksgiving.

       So my husband calls him back to return the “good wishes” only to be greeted and treated to the same monotone voice that i heard.  He was filled with despair.  When wished a Happy Thanksgiving…he actually replied; “What is there to be thankful for?”

       Then he said, that is why i called you yesterday; to AVOID the whole Thanksgiving Day thing! Then why call at all?  Did he really mean it that he wished for us to have a Happy Thanksgiving or did he want to let us know, that while we were having a Happy Thanksgiving, he was miserable? 

       I asked him the night before what he was going to do on Thanksgiving after trying to support him through the short conversation; only to become disconnected on the phone.  Or that is what i thought, until the next day when my husband experienced his phone call with this person.  He too experienced a disconnect with him…co-incidence? 

        I don’t think it was…i think he was hanging up in his misery.  That is sad, it is disturbing, it is heart wrenching.  It was also angering; because, he does have much to be thankful for.  He has a job, he has a place to live, he has  children for which to be thankful for.   The phone calls were a blantant bid for sympathy; and, an opportunity to dump his chosen mood of misery on other human beings.  How we choose to live our lives is just that, a choice.  You can “let life happen to you” or you can choose to wring every last joy or pleasure out of it while you have it.

       It isn’t that we don’t care about the misery that he is going through in his divorce.  But the truth is, that no one else can give you happiness or peace.   You can’t put life on hold or it will pass you by…leaving you with a plate full of regrets!

      Now there is more suffering.  It is unavoidable at this point.  There are two choices…to accept the ending and move forward…or wallow in the misery and resentment.  This person still has children to be a parent to; siblings to have relationships with; and, the person is still young enough to learn from their mistakes and rebuild their life with another person, if he so chooses.  This person is a good person.  I wish for him happiness.  I wish for him healing and joy in life.  If i could box it up and give it to him…i would…but i am afraid…he doesn’t know how to accept it. 

       Life is short.  We must approach it with care.  Is life always going to give us what we want, when we want it, the way we want it on a silver platter?  No.  Can we still choose to live joyously and fully?  Yes, i believe we can.  Let’s help each other along by giving encouragement, when we are ALLOWED to!

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       Baby don’t cry…it is not your fault.  When you are old enough to know your story…know that it is not your fault.  It has happened for generations…people abandon their children.   It is wrong, but they do it for many reasons…all sad reasons, all heartbreaking…but, what it comes down to is a lacking.

        A lacking of something that is required to parent you little one.  Some parents are lacking money, some are lacking appropriate housing or clothing, some are lacking parenting skills.  Even worse, some are lacking a very basic, important connection…a bonding of parent to child; it is called love.  This is not normal.  This is not your fault.  The lacking is theirs and theirs alone; don’t let it define you.  Their failure to provide what you need does not wipe away your right to have those things that children need to grow and be whole.   You deserve to have what every child should have…love and acceptance. 

       There are many who would adopt you; love you and give you everything you need to be successful in life.  It is sad that your birth parents could not for whatever reason of lacking, be the people to give you what you need.  However, when you are able to read and understand it all…hopefully, you will have been adopted and cared for appropriately.  I hope that you received that love; and, now know that you are part of a family who wanted you, and needed you to be part of them.  The parts of you that feel empty or unfulfilled, because of the unknowns about your birth family, probably will never be fully satisfied.  Let it be enough to know that the circumstances that lead to your being abandonned are not a statement of anything that was wrong with you as a person.

         A small newborn child was abandoned in Charlotte, North Carolina in the last few days.  Children are being abandoned all around the world.  There are many who would love these children were they to enter into the foster/adoptive legal system in the right kind of way.  Why are parents dumping their children?

        When you are able to read this, or some other piece that addresses such issues…and  you have learned about your abandonment; don’t try to seek further information.  It will only hurt you more.  There are no answers that will satisfy your heart’s desire to be loved and accepted by the people who gave you up.  For each answer that is given to justify such actions will just trigger another “what if you had done this or that…could you have kept me then” question.  It is a never ending circle of emotional hurt.   

        It is not a reflection upon you…babies and children are easy to love.  You have done nothing wrong to be rejected…it is a fault inside of that person that by some miracle was able to give you life.  Unfortunately, abortion (infant death) is an option in today’s world..so, choosing life was a very positive thing.   Maybe that is the most that they had to give you; LIFE, it IS an important gift. 

       Your true source of life comes from God above.  You are here in this world because he values you…you are here for a purpose.  Discover what your purpose is and live it to the fullest…do not be destroyed by feelings of rejection or inferority.  You are worthy of all the best that life has to give you.   Your beginnings do not have to set a  negative standard for the rest of your life.  Take your gift and all that you have been able to receive and enjoy since the time of your birth and make something of yourself.  Be a giver, be an encourager…be the embodiement of what your birth parents lacked.  Be a giver and a receiver of Love.  Do you think that the impact of your birth can make a positive difference in the world?   I do, every life has value to offer the world.  Reader, do you know someone who has been rejected or abandoned…were they able to turn their difficult beginnings into a positive, productive life?

      

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     While speaking peace and love, peace and love…Ringo Starr recorded a video, that was on CNN, demanding that no more fan letters be sent to him.  He says after October 20th…they will be thrown out.  He also says, no more sending things in, to be signed or autographed. 

       For a man who made a career out of the love of his fans…and their dedication to him and his band mates…you probably wonder what would prompt him to declare such a statement.  He says…he has too much to do!

       Myself…i would have to say…a person needs to consider what it must be like to live in a fishbowl your whole life.  Could be that maybe, just maybe Ringo has figured out that many of those “fans” who clamor for an autograph are just turning around and selling those same autographed items to ebay or to some collector so that they can earn a pretty penny!

         Another thing to think about is that Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey, is 68 years old.  He says that he has too much to do…but, in the back of his mind you also have to wonder if he is looking back saying…I am 68 years old; most of my life is behind me.  I have given so much to my fans…maybe it is time to do what I want; with, what time i have left. 

        That isn’t too far fetched; as two of his band mates are already deceased.  There is only Ringo and Paul McCartney left alive of the Beatles.

        Also this week in the news, there was an article that i read somewhere that claimed that fan stalkers are the most dangerous of the mentally ill.  Consider this, both John Lennon and George Harrison were attacked by stalkers.  John was fatally shot and killed.  George Harrison was stabbed, but lived after the attack.

        While listening to the video that Ringo recorded regarding fan mail…i was put off by the tone of the video; it comes across as  hostile…but, once i stopped and thought about these other issues…it made more sense to me.  So…Peace and Love as Ringo says!  www.ringostarr.com

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         Did you ever go to a wedding and just observe the Bride and the Groom closely?  Today, i did just that very thing.  Oh, to be sure…the Bride was beautiful and full of smiles; and she looked the picture of what a Bride should look like.  Youth, beauty, joy and excitement poured forth from her face as she, who is normally very shy, looked everyone in the eye and took her vows.  This was her testiment to her pledge of love and commitment.

          The Groom also looked young and full of love and pride in the bride of his choosing.  There were awkward moments in the ceremony…such as a very loud train rumbling by the church…just as the bride was speaking her vows. Then, they did some wonderfully, unique things in their ceremony.  They took communion during the ceremony which was lovely.  The poor bride got a larger piece of the bread put into her mouth by her groom; which took her several minutes to chew and swallow…which caused her to be somewhat embarassed and caused some good natured laughter in the crowd.

          Part of the unique ceremony took place when the bride was given in marriage by her father to her groom; at that point…the bride and groom took the elevated platform in the front of the church; and the minister then, came out into the congregation and stood with his back towards the back of the church…he faced the bride and groom; who stood facing the spectators.  This viewpoint gave the advantage of watching the bride and groom as they spoke their vows, lit the candles, and smiled into each other’s eyes as they whispered affectionetly to one another.  Then, the groom played the guitar while one of his groomsmen sang a tribute to their love for one another.

           All in all, it was a trusting, loving, innocent step into the future as husband and wife…not knowing what the future holds for them…just knowing that they were taking the beginning step forward, together!  Hopeful for a lifetime journey.

        

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       Every year in the United States approximately 2,500 babies die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Even though those numbers have come down substantially over the years…even one death a year from SIDS is one infant death too many.  So, research on ways of preventing those deaths is very important.

       A new study is suggesting that having a fan, in the room of an infant, can greatly reduce the possibility of death by SIDS by up to 72% according to the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.  Check it out here: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/   Invited to a baby shower?  Show your love and concern by gifting the new parents with a fan and a printout of the reasons of the importance of the gift regarding the health of their baby!  Educate parents, first time parents or teenaged parents, grandparents of the new research; empower them with the newest safety information. 

        While the understanding of the role of the fan, in the prevention of deaths of infants from SIDS, is not clearly understood…it was found that rooms that were heated to above 69 degrees benefitted by the use of a fan in the prevention of death from SIDS.  It is thought that overly warm temperatures increase the potential of death by SIDS. 

         Another possible benefit of using a fan in the infant’s room is that the fan helps to circulate the air flow around the baby.  Babies who are put to sleep on their backs do better as well, because babies who sleep on their stomachs have less airflow in the early months of life; when their necks are too weak to lift their heads if the airflow is not sufficient for healthy breathing.  There has been a big campaign to educate parents to use the BACK TO SLEEP plan for this reason.  Babies who sleep on their stomachs also have a larger incidence of rebreathing in carbon dioxide that they have exhaled.  A fan can help to circulate the air around babies.  Still, putting an infant to sleep on their back is a better solution to keeping the airflow open around baby.  Important:  Just remember that when using a fan…keep the cords away from small hands that could pull the fan down and cause injury. 

         What else can a parent do to keep their newborn infants safe from SIDS?  First of all, putting a baby to sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm mattress is an important part of the equasion.    The crib must have the side rail bars or slats spaced 2 3/8 inches apart or less; so that a baby does not get trapped between the bars.   Next, comes the idea of dressing the baby with adequate clothing to keep the baby warm; but, not so many articles of clothing as to overheat the baby.  Keep the crib free from toys, from blankets or pillows or even bumper pads that cannot be firmly attached to the side of the crib.  It is important to keep all items away from an infant that doesn’t have the ability to turn it’s head or to push away from anything that can block it’s airflow.

          Never lay an infant to sleep on an adult bed or extremely soft or conforming surface.  Cuddle time is important…but, doing so in an adult bed could allow the adult to fall asleep.  It is not worth the risk of falling asleep with your infant beside you, when you are not awake enough to keep watch over your young infant.  No one wants to live with regrets on a tragedy that could be avoided by remembering that safety comes first regarding your baby.

          If you are leaving your child in the care of a grandparent or a caregiver…it is wise to include this new information on the best way to keep your baby safe.  Take the small fan with you when you are entrusting others to care for your small child.  Make sure that they follow your direction in the way that you wish your child to be cared for.  It may be different than they have previously cared for other young babies…but, it is never too late to learn.  If they wish to care for your child…express the need for them to follow this guideline of using the fan and not bundling your child up with unneccessary blankets and clothing.

           Many years ago, i knew a young family that lost an infant daughter to SIDS.  It was a horrendous event in their family life.   In fact, their marriage didn’t survive more than another couple of years after the death of their child.   I can’t help but wonder, if this information was available then…would their child have lived?  How many babies can be saved with this new information?

          Here is a great site that can offer more tips on infant safety for parents of young infants regarding SIDS prevention:  http://sids.org/nprevent.htm  Did you learn anything new in this blog post that you felt was beneficial to you; or, someone that you know who has a young infant?

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