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Dyslexia can be described as a learning disability which prevents a person from reading, writing, spelling and even speaking sometimes.

Dyslexia in Children

FAM, health By April 22, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Dyslexia can be described as a learning disability which prevents a person from reading, writing, spelling and even speaking sometimes. It is an impairment that is easy to find in children and it can last throughout the person’s life. The categories of this disability range from mild to severe; the earlier it is treated in a child, the better the results that are obtained. The condition is caused by the brain’s inability to translate or convert images or sensory impulses received from the eyes or ears into useful understandable information or language.


Best Baby CDs

GEAR, toys By August 14, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 5 Comments

It is well-established that music is beneficial for children’s mental and emotional development, even in the womb. Also, music is a great way to help baby drift off to sleep…and mom, too! Here are some of the best Baby CDs out there right now, all are available through Amazon and other outlets.

Rockabye Baby. For those of us who don’t want to sacrifice our hipness or adversely influence our childrens’ brain development by exposing them to too much silly kids’ music and cultivate some style and culture…it’s Rockabye Baby! You saw it on Ellen Degeneres and other places; celebs love these Baby CDs, because they literally rock! Your favorite songs by your favorite rock, pop and even some R&B artists, such as Coldplay, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Green Day, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, etc., are all on here. Sure, lullaby versions of your favourite hit songs can get Junior to crash for a nap, and subliminally you’ll be telling him, “Just say NO to bad music!”

Disney Babies: Lullaby Album. This is a must-have in every nursery CD player or MP3 playlist. The best Disney songs as lullabies, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Jewel, Lullaby. For those of us who love Jewel’s sweet, plaintive, ethereal yet earthy voice, this is an awesome choice. Jewel recently became a mom for the first time, but this album of old-fashioned classics and new selections is a great listen for the nursery.

Baby Einstein, Lullaby Classics. Baby Einstein is another awesome child-development audio tool, with a large body of work to choose from. All of it is ultra creative, hip, and worth buying, but if you want a lullaby collection of classical music (which has been shown to boost brain development in babies), choose this one. Mozart at his best and sweetest, your baby will love it, and you will, too!

Do you have some favourites? Please let us and our readers know below! You can also tweet us at @urbanmommies.


Beat the Heat

LIVE, rest By June 5, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Severe heat can inhibit the safety of babies and children.  With global temperatures on a slow march upwards, heat waves such as this are unfortunately likely to become more frequent than their previous once-in-a-lifetime occurence. Some people adore the heat, but babies and children as well as pets and elderly relatives are vulnerable to heat strokes, dehydration and other serious heat-related ailments. Here are some tips on surviving the heat.


McDonald's Beef Questions and Answers

EAT, family meals By December 28, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

As many of our readers know, our publisher was chosen as a McDonald’s All-Access Mom, to see behind the scenes at McDonald’s Canada.  Yes, the experience included meeting and moo-ing at a bunch of cows, as well as a potato farm, chicken plant, restaurant visit, Hamburger University and head office.  As part of a promise to answer all of our readers’ questions, we’re publishing a Q and A for each trip.  Here’s the beef.  (More beef jokes in the main article on the trip).

Q. Do they use hormones in what the cattle are fed?

A.  Some farmers decide to use hormonal growth proponents and this is a business decision.  For the farmers, there are costs associated with the hormones, and they must weigh the cost/benefit for their business.

Q.  What are hormonal growth promotants?

A.  Hormonal growth promotants are in the form of naturally occurring sex hormones which are administered to animals in order to improve an animal’s ability to use nutrients efficiently.  Health Canada has approved three natural hormones and three synthetically produced hormones for use in cattle in Canada.

Q.  What benefit is there to using hormones?

A.  When these are used, the animal uses its feed much more efficiently.  This means that the meat will contain more lean meat and less fat in the end.  There can be more growth using less feed, resulting in less expensive beef for the consumer.

Q.  How does the Canadian Government monitor the use of growth hormones?

A.  In addition to the strict requirements which must be met in order to obtain approval to sell, and to use, growth promoting hormones in Canada, Canada’s national food safety agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), conducts regular monitoring programs in which thousands of samples of all meat products are analyzed to ensure that any drug residues which remain in meat are well within lawful, and safe, limits. Results of these monitoring programs are published regularly by the CFIA. Since residue levels of the natural hormones in beef are in the same range in both treated and untreated animals, Canadian regulatory authorities have concluded that it is not necessary to establish so-called safe limits of the natural hormones.  CFIA monitors for residues of the synthetic hormones and Canadian regulations do not permit residues of any of the synthetic hormones to be present in meat. And year after year, Canadian beef has been in virtually 100 per cent compliance, that is, there are no residues in the beef.

Q.  What about bacteria, Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and E. coli?

A.  BSE control and testing happens both on the farm (sick-looking animals are isolated and tested) as well as at McDonald’s-approved primary meat processing (ie. slaughterhouse) suppliers.  Canada does 40 times more than the global standard in terms of BSE prevention. Now, feed bans exist where the food chain is even more protected from contamination.  Recent cases of BSE existed in older animals that were alive prior to the feed ban. In the last 3 years, there have been more than 100,000 animals tested with only 3 positives.

Beef is tested for E. coli 0157:H7 before it arrives at the facility.  Any beef that tests positive for E. coli 0157:H7 never goes back into the McDonald’s food chain. In addition, the Cargill facility tests the incoming beef again for 0157:H7 as well as other types of bacteria according to the McDonald’s food safety standards.  Quality checks and tests are also done on the finished patties. Test results on every batch of patties are seen prior to any box being released via the distribution networks.

Q.  How do you make sure employees don’t lose their temper with animals at all stages of the process?

A.  The CFIA has a Code of Practice related to animal welfare.  In addition, there is a certified livestock transport program created by the Alberta Farm association to ensure humane treatment of animals.  At the primary processing facilities, everyone who works there all go through animal welfare training. There is 3rd party video monitoring at all primary processing facilities.  This technology can detect sharp movements and employees are always held accountable.  If any facility ever fails an audit, McDonald’s may disapprove them as a supplier of beef.

Q.  Is meat washed with ammonia?

A.  No.  Ammonia is only present within the refrigeration system to cool down the meat and never comes into contact with the meat itself.  The refrigeration system used to run on Freon and it is now run on ammonia.

For our publisher’s full article on McDonald’s beef, please see the All-Access Microsite.


McDonald’s All-Access Moms: Off to see some Spuds!

EAT, family meals By September 26, 2011 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

As part of the McDonald’s All-Access Moms program, four Mom writers across Canada have been given the opportunity to see McDonald’s from behind the scenes.  September brings wooly sweaters and harvest season and I am now off to Grand Falls, New Brunswick to visit both a potato farm and the McCain french fry processing facility.  Born and raised in Halifax, the Maritimes are in my blood, and being back on the east coast is such a breath of fresh air.  There is a simplicity and an innocence that permeates the culture.  It will be so exciting to see these qualities juxtoposed against the huge corporation that purchases the french fries.  I can’t wait to don rubber boots and meet the farmers.  I can’t wait to ask gardening questions!  (My potatoes grow no bigger than a golf ball..)  I encourage you all to comment and ask as many questions as you can.

I started reading ‘Food Inc.’ and will be watching the film prior to my trip.  I feel that as an All-Access Mom I have a responsibility to educate myself about all facets of food production.  I don’t know if the potatoes are engineered and I am so excited to learn and discuss the issues.  Is there anything you are confused about?  Curious to ask?  Please let me know!

Photo: Hunter


Ear Infections in Children

FAM, health By August 1, 2007 Tags: , , , No Comments

Each year many young children are diagnosed with middle ear infections – or otitis media.  Typical symptoms that occur with otits media include fever, ear ache and irritability. Many times these infections become recurrent and parents are forced to make several trips to the child’s physician to get treatment.  Parents often want to decrease their child’s suffering and may be quick to administer antibiotics to do so.  Although the use of antibiotics is warranted in some situations, they often do not address the root cause of the problem.  The use of antibiotics can leave the child more susceptible to other types of infections as bacteria become resistant to drugs.  Side effects of antibiotics can include digestive upset leading to diarrhea, gas and tummy ache.  In many instances, the ear infection is not due to bacteria, but due to a virus, which antibiotics will not be useful in eliminating.


It’s Your Child’s Health – Get Involved!

FAM, health By July 1, 2007 Tags: , , , , No Comments

As a new parent, you try to make sure your child gets enough sleep, is well nourished, and sees a doctor for regular check-ups. If you are like many parents, your primary concern has been your child’s health, starting the moment you found out you were pregnant.  And as a new parent, now may be the time to think about healthcare in a whole new light.


Sunglasses to Protect Children’s Eyes

FAM, health By July 1, 2007 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

For most children, summer months mean long hours of play outside in the sunshine. But a few months in the sun can lead to compromised eye health later on if proper UV protection isn’t part of children’s summer routines. The British Columbia Association of Optometrists urges parents to foster good UV eye-protection habits in their children at an early age by encouraging them to wear sunglasses all summer long. Even babies and toddlers should be wearing sunglasses when outdoors.