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Family Ideas: December 2003 January 2004
On this page, we offer a few of our articles from the current issue. Northern Nevada Family values our readership and its opinions. Please feel free to contact us with ideas of what you might like to read about for upcoming issues. We're here for you! Email us at Submissions/Article Ideas.
Web Sites to
by Gina Lauer
Gina Lauer is copy editor for Northern Nevada Family and a freelance financial writer.
Financial planning, saving and investing are valuable concepts for children and adults alike. Even at an early age, children can be taught about the value of money and the importance of saving. Browse the shelves of your local library for books about kids and money, or check out these Web sites for games, articles and advice.
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http://kidsmoney.org/ Information and articles for kids and parents. For kids: ideas on how to make money (babysitting, wash cars, walk dogs, etc.) as well as games. For adults: articles on allowances and more. Also has links to other Web sites.
http://wisepockets.com/ (Produced by the University of Missouri St. Louis) Presents information in book form for kids in grades 3 to 6. Example: Healther Learns About Earning and Giving Vicki Credit. Each story ends with a quiz, and kids earn rewards such as a maze, or a coloring or cut-out page. The site also contains information for parents and teachers.
http://www.kidsbank.com/ (from Sovereign Bank) A tutorial Web site that explains the fundamentals of money and banking to children. Information is presented in story format with characters such as Penny, Dollar Bill, Interest Ray, Checks and Mr. EFT (electronic funds transfer). Older children will enjoy the historical facts. There are quizzes on the information presented. You can also send in questions.
http://orangekids.com/ (from ING Direct) Aimed at educating kids on earning, spending, saving and investing. Visitors to Planet Orange can explore these concepts by visiting different regions such as Moneyland, Investor Islands, South Spending and the Republic of Savings. Topics range from the value of the money, setting a budget, understanding credit and building savings goals. Fun facts and calculators.
http://nefe.org/ (National Endowment for Financial Education) Provides Simple Steps for raising a money-smart child. Parents can read about concepts and information that children in various age categories (from toddlers to teens) should know. For example, for ages 11 to 13, topics include peer pressure and compound interest.
http://www.fleetkids.com/ (from FleetBoston Financial, which was recently purchased by Bank of America) Geared towards older kids and offers stories, games and tools, such as an allowance estimator. The Parents Lounge provides articles, activities, tools and calculators. In addition, kids can look though a list of success stories where others tell about their successful jobs such as taking pet photos, selling bracelets and setting up lemonade stands. Kids can also print out kindness coupons.
http://www.moneyopolis.com/ (from Ernst & Young) Geared for kids in grades 6 to 8. Kids travel thorough the virtual city of Moneyopolis to spend money they earned answering quiz questions. Through their travels, they learn about financial planning concepts, managing money, and working toward goals. The site can be integrated into the classroom for teachers interested in presenting the materials.
http://www.govspot.com/ - A government-information portal offering "Sites for Kids." From there, click on the Department of Treasury, where kids can go to "Bucky's Fair" and play games, such a piecing together a $10 bill. Or click on U.S. Mint for a wealth of games, stories and history about coins. Watch "Birth of a Coin" by clicking on the "cartoon" coin icon. Also, learn about the new nickels coming out in 2004! Ages 8 and up.
http://www.younginvestor.com/ (from Columbia Funds) Contains areas for kids, teens, parents and teachers. For younger kids, information on budgeting, jobs, games and puzzles. For teens, learn about stocks, bonds, mutual funds and NASDAQ. Games include the stock drop and stock race games. Watch out for the bears on the road!
http://www.jumpstart.org/ (from the Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy) Provides the 12 financial principles every young person should know and understand. Click on Resources for a comprehensive list of financial Web sites for savers and investors of all ages.
Surviving the Cold and Flu Season
by Brian Hall
Brian Hall, M.D., is a pediatrician with the Carson Medical Group in Carson City and the father of twins.
Upper respiratory infections. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Influenza. Croup. All of these strike frequently in the winter and result in an untold number of school and job absences. The average toddler gets five to six illnesses a year. For a daycare child, that number jumps to 13 or 14 a year. If each illness lasts up to two weeks, daycare kids could spend half the year sick! Although there is no perfect system to avoid illness, there are things parents can do to keep wintertime illnesses to a minimum.
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Getting sick is all about exposure. Sick people transmit viruses to healthy people, who then become sick. Viruses are expelled from sick people through sneezing, coughing, or wiping their noses, and these viruses end up on doorknobs, phones, tables, shopping carts, etc. When people touch the infected surfaces and then put their hands in their mouths -- presto, theyre sick. Because kids tend to put their hands in their mouths a lot, they get sick a lot. Therefore, have your children wash their hands frequently and keep them away from their faces. As a pediatrician, I am surrounded by illness daily, yet I rarely get sick because I wash my hands before and after every patient (50 times per day!) and keep my hands away from my mouth.
Any kind of soap will do the job. If soap and water is not close at hand, you can use disposable alcohol gel packs. Wiping down your home with disinfectant or a weak vinegar or bleach solution can help, too. Concentrate on cleaning high-traffic items such as childrens toys, faucets, doorknobs, and telephones.
Once a virus has been contracted, it takes two to three days before symptoms appear. Most viruses will be upper respiratory infections, also called the common cold. Fever is common for the first two to three days, along with a runny nose, headache, and sore throat. The fever tends to disappear, but a cough usually builds and can interrupt sleep. The runny nose tends to turn yellow or green after the first few days. This does not mean you have a sinus infection! All nasal discharge will become colored if it stays up there long enough. Symptoms tend to go away after seven to 10 days.
There is usually no need to visit the doctor for normal cold symptoms. If the child has trouble breathing, severe pain, or fever that last longer than five days, then call your doctor. You should also contact your doctor if an illness lasts longer than two weeks or is getting worse after the first week.
Antibiotics dont treat viruses. You cannot catch the illness early and make it go away faster with antibiotics. Treatment is all about keeping your child comfortable until the body fights off the virus. Childrens fever reducers/pain relievers work well, although it is important to note that fever is a natural mechanism the human body uses to fight infection, and there is no reason to bring it down. Treat fevers only for discomfort. Decongestants relieve nasal congestion and may help prevent ear infections and sinusitis from developing. Antihistamines do very little unless you have allergies but are usually added to cold preparations to balance the stimulation that comes from the decongestants. Expectorants do very little. Cough suppressants are only marginally effective and can actually be dangerous if the cough is productive because that cough may be protecting you from getting pneumonia. Use them only at night to help a child rest and only if the child has no wheezing and a non-productive cough.
Influenza, the 800-pound gorilla of the respiratory season, hits between late December and February in the West. The respiratory flu strikes suddenly and ferociously, bringing three to five days of high fever, severe body aches, extreme fatigue, and then severe coughing. It can last a few weeks, especially if a person doesnt rest. Children often suffer from vomiting and diarrhea as well. Most people recover without problems, but in children, the elderly, and those with immune problems, it can progress to pneumonia and other severe complications. The flu kills roughly 30,000 to 40,000 people a year in the United States. Prevention is easy: get a flu shot. They are recommended for all children between 6 and 23 months, anyone over 50, and anyone with asthma, diabetes, on aspirin therapy, and most other chronic medical conditions. They are a good idea for everyone else, too.
If you do get the flu, there are two new anti-viral medications available by prescription called Relenza and Tamiflu. They must be started within 48 hours of symptoms appearing to be effective but can end the illness a day or two faster. They can also be prescribed to protect other family members from catching it from you. Notify your doctor immediately at the onset of symptoms.
Other treatments are often touted to combat viral illnesses. Echinacea is likely the most effective and seems to be able to cut about a day off the length of the total illness if you start taking it as soon as you feel sick; but it does not relieve any of the symptoms in the meantime. Despite claims to the contrary, echinacea has not been found to prevent illnesses. It is currently not recommended for children under age 2 because of lack of safety information for this age group. Zinc seems to only consistently help if you are zinc deficient. Zinc tastes foul, and added sweeteners seem to reduce its effectiveness. Data on vitamin C are also erratic. Try to get if from natural sources such as orange juice. Garlic has not been shown to help with colds and flu. Nothing will substitute for eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of fluids and getting sufficient sleep.
There is no fool-proof way to stay well in winter, but if you get your flu shot, wash your hands, keep toys and doorknobs clean, eat well, get proper rest, and avoid childcare settings whenever possible, you have a good chance of making it through the cold season with minimal problem.
Winter Travel Safety
by Carlos Faura
Carlos Faura is the morning weather anchor for KOLO-TV News Channel 8 Daybreak, Monday through Friday. An avid outdoorsman, he not only gets to talk about the weather on TV every day, HE LIVES IT!
IWhat's cold, white, beautiful, and deserves our respect? Snow! Here in northern Nevada, flakes can fall at any time from October to June. The blanket that covers the mountains every winter provides plentiful recreational opportunities and also fills our reservoirs with water for the future. But like many things in life, there are two sides to every coin; with snow, that other side can be dangerous. Snow and driving, for example, can be a hazardous combination. But with a little preparation and common sense, you can travel in relative safety. Here's a checklist of essentials to keep in your car to help you get through the snow season with a little less worry:
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Jug of water
Extra clothing, mittens, caps
Warm blankets/sleeping bags
First aid kit
High calorie/nonperishable food
Supply of matches and candles
Full tank of gas
Check the latest weather report and call for road conditions (see list of phone numbers) to see what to expect when you get on the road. If the weather is poor or a storm is on the way, consider postponing your trip. If you must go, let someone else know your route and expected arrival time.
If you get trapped in your car during a winter storm:
- Stay in your car unless help is within sight.
- Display a trouble sign.
- Occasionally run the engine to keep warm (no more than 10 minutes per hour).
- Crack the downwind window slightly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
- Turn on the car's dome light when running the engine so the car glows and
others can see you.
Safe driving! And enjoy the trademark of the season: SNOW!
(Nevada Dept. of Transportation)
California Dept. of Transportation
Put Together a First Aid Kit
by The Council on
The Council on Family Health (cfhinfo.org), a nonprofit organization established in 1966, is dedicated to educating consumers about the proper use of nonprescription and prescription medicines, dietary supplements, home safety and personal health.
The following are items to include in a family first aid kit for the car (or home):
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes for simple cuts or abrasions
- Butterfly bandages and narrow adhesive strips to hold edges of a cut together to allow it to heal
- Individually wrapped, sterile gauze pads (2" and 4") to control bleeding or secretions and prevent contamination
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape to hold a dressing or splint in place
- Roll of absorbent cotton as padding for a splint
- Sterile roller bandages (2" and 3"), at least three rolls to support sprained or sore muscles
- Cotton-tipped swabs
- Thermometer (mercury thermometers are not recommended)
- Anti-itch lotion or cream for relief of insect bites, itching, and minor skin irritations
- Antiseptic ointment, spray, or towelettes for cleansing wounds
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection of minor wounds
- Bottled water to rinse wounds or to drink
- Face mask to protect against smoke, dust, or allergens
- Latex gloves for protection when providing emergency help to an injured individual
- Clean towel for a pillow or as a wrap for ice
- Chemical ice packs
- Eye drops
- Emergency phone numbers doctor, pharmacist, poison control (800-222-1222), etc.
- First aid handbook
Safe and Sane Sledding
by Linda Hiller
Linda Hiller is the mother of two enthusiastic sledders who made runs in their Jacks Valley back yard off the deck stairs every winter.
Its hard to imagine children growing up without the experience of snow sledding
bundled up all warm and toasty with only their cheeks exposed, tromping up a snowy hill pulling their favorite sled. The next minute theyre coming back down on a thrilling ride that makes them feel like Aladdin on a magic carpet.
Sounds wonderful, doesnt it? Well, if youve ever taken the kids out to any of our popular open sledding areas, you know that the reality of group snow sledding can be much different than this Norman Rockwell scene.
Instead, therell likely be sledders and tubers shooting and careening down the hill every which way, many of them out of control and mowing people down like they were bowling pins. You know, youve seen these guys on Funniest Home Videos! More than once, weve stood by at the Spooner Summit sledding hill as an ambulance carted off someone with a broken limb or worse.
So, what can you do to make your familys sledding experience a fun and safe one? Choosing your destination and time of arrival thoughtfully is one way. Popular hills like Spooner and Tahoe Meadows off Mt. Rose Highway are generally busiest in the afternoon, so go early or late in the day to avoid the crowd. But beware of icy conditions late in the day. And, if you do arrive at a sledding hill and dont like what you see, move on and look for a better place to fly like Aladdin. Be aware of private property and avalanche dangers, though, and you may even have to resort to Plan B: go to a movie matinee instead.
One recent development in Sierra sledding is the emergence of sledding and tubing areas associated with ski resorts. These places usually provide or rent a tube or sled and charge a fee, but they do offer a controlled environment, which likely safer than the free, unsupervised areas. (See list accompanying this article.) Call ahead for prices and details such as age requirements.
As for sleds, there are so many options, but the most popular ones today seem to be the inexpensive plastic sleds that have variable steering abilities and pretty short life spans. Once I brought my much-used and ancient (to my kids) Flexible Flyer wooden sled with the metal runners to Spooner, and it was NOT as fast as I remembered, darn it. These days, anything with sharp or metal edges is not a good idea on a busy slope.
The inflated tube sleds are great for the sledding hills at the groomed resorts, but weve seen too many sledders get launched high into the air off a big bump (again, Funniest Home Videos!), so we stay away from them.
If youre undecided, buy a couple of the plastic sleds (those saucers are cute, but chances are youll be going down backwards more often than not!), and have the grown-ups take them for a few test runs before letting the kids solo. Deciding whether the kids should solo at all is up to your good judgment
theres no hard and fast rule, but just remember to think safety first for not only your child, but all the other sledders in their way.
Above all, enjoy yourselves, and remember that even in controlled situations, when you pair a slippery surface with kids, parents and big plastic objects, things can happen
trees get in the way, sleds go out of control, people get cold and cranky
so remember to bring extra dry clothes, a warm thermos of cocoa, plenty of water and snacks for the ride home.
And if youre not up for the drive and the snow is sticking pretty well, theres always sledding in your back yard. Norman Rockwell might have approved of that scene.
MORE SNOW FUN LINKS
GoSki Worldwide guide to ski resorts
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Kidznsnow: Winter Family Fun & Adventure
Tahoes Best: Your Guide to Lake Tahoe
Reno-Tahoe: Americas Adventure Place
http://renolaketahoe.com/ (click on Outdoors).
Boreal Mountain, Truckee
(530) 426-3666, borealski.com
Hansens Resort, SLT,
(530) 544-3361, hansensresort.com
Heavenly Ski Resort, SLT,
(775) 586-7000, skiheavenly.com
Kingvale Tubing and
Sledding Center, Truckee,
Kirkwood Mountain Resort,
(209) 258-6000, kirkwood.com
(530) 562-1010, skinorthstar.com
Sierra-at-Tahoe, Twin Bridges,
(530) 659-7453, sierratahoe.com
Soda Springs, Truckee,
(530) 426-3901, skisodasprings.com
Squaw Valley USA,
(530) 583-6985, squaw.com
Other areas (snowfall permitting):
- Galena Creek Park, five miles up
Mt. Rose Highway. (849-2511)
has two hills. Or, continue
up the highway and check for
- Bowers Mansion Park
in Washoe Valley,
hill below playground
- Hill behind Tahoe Donner Golf
Course clubhouse (take Donner
Pass Road through Truckee and
look for Tahoe Donner sign.
- Hill at Donner Memorial State
Park, near Emigrant Trail museum. Fee charged.
- Tahoe Donner, at the Trout
Creek Rec Center. Wide,
groomed hill. Fee charged.
- Scope out any parks with
slopes (such as Rancho San
Rafael in Reno), and you might
Local Ski Resorts
Bear Valley Mountain Resort
Boreal Mountain Resort
Granlibakken Ski Resort
Homewood Mountain Resort
Northstar at Tahoe
Royal Gorge Ski Resort
Spooner Lake Cross Country
Squaw Valley USA
Tahoe Donner Cross Country
Betsy Wilson of Sparks
Did you know that you could slide your way down to an underground mine, pan for gold & play dress up all in one place? Yes! And it's at the Great Basin Adventure Park in Reno. Check out the list below for the whole scoop on Museums in the Northern Nevada Area & the Tahoe area. Visit http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us, http://www.travelnevada.com/ or http://www.nevadaculture.org/ to find even more museums that are not listed here.
Be sure to call ahead as some museums
have seasonal hours.
NOTE: All area codes (775) unless otherwise noted.
Carson City Area
Tours of mansion, playground
4005 US Hwy 395
Children's Museum of Northern Nevada
Hands on interactive exhibits for all ages
813 N. Carson St., 884-2226
Nevada State Museum
Housed in the former US Mint, this museum has memorabilia of Nevada history, geology, culture & a ghost town replica
& underground mine
600 N. Carson St., 687-4811
Nevada State Railroad Museum
60 trains to see from Virginia & Truckee RR line, steam engine train rides. Allow 30 minutes for the museum & 1 hour for
the train rides.
2180 S. Carson St., 687-6953
Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center
In a 1920s high school, exhibits focus on Carson Valley including Basques, Washoe, Pioneers, industry & ranching.
1477 Hwy 395, 782-2555
Genoa Court House
Built in 1865 as Douglas County's
Court House, then becoming a
school house in 1916-1956.
2304 Main St., 782-4325
Wilbur D. May Museum
Features collection of late Wilbur May; department store magnate, rancher and big game hunter. Also visit the Great Basin Adventure Park: Childrenís park featur3es petting zoo, dinosaurs, discovery room, log flume, pony rides, underground mine & more. 1502 Washington St. @ Rancho San Rafael Park. 785-5961
Fleischmann Planetarium & Science Center
Star Shows, Sky Dome films, free museum
1650 N. Virginia St., 784-4811
National Automobile Museum
Children's tours & hands on activities bringing knowledge of automobile history.
10 Lake St., 333-9300
Nevada Historical Society Museum
Oldest state museum encompasses prehistoric times to present.
1650 N. Virginia St., 688-1190
Nevada Museum of Art
World class exhibits ranging from contemporary to historical.
160 W. Liberty St. 329-3333
W.M. Keck Museum
Features Mackay silver collection,
mining artifacts, large exhibit of rocks, minerals & fossils.
UNR, Corner of Virginia St./9th St.
Sparks Heritage Museum
Railway memorabilia & history of
814 Victorian Ave., 355-1144
Home of the "Bonanza" western TV series with Cartwright Ranch, a western town that boasts of western shows, antique vehicles, gift shops, playground & more.
Hayride breakfast above the town has beautiful views of Lake Tahoe.
100 Ponderosa Ranch Rd., 831-0691
Kidzone Children's Museum
Interests: grocery store, theater dress up, water play, puppets, climbing indoor playground, authentic pioneer wagon
with pioneer dresses.
11711 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee, CA
Comstock Fireman's Museum
19th Century firefighting equipment
& gift shop
117 So. C St., 847-0717
Fourth Ward School Museum
1876 school house featuring history
and the culture of the Comstock
So. C St. 847-0975"
1860 house of John Mackay contains mining artifacts, original furnishings
and tiffany silver.
129 So. D St., 847-5208
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