swimming

Frogglez Goggles

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Recently I was contacted by a company called Frogglez which claims to make the best swim goggles for kids – comfortable, leak-free, pain-free goggles. I was interested to learn more.

Over the years  I have dished out a ton of money on swim goggles for my girls and have yet to find a pair they actually like and wear! Until now!

The design is fabulous and my girls love them.  Here they are explaining why they love these comfortable swim goggles for kids!

Click on over to Amazon and buy your Frogglez here (affiliate link)! Your kids will love them too!

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Important Child Safety Reminders

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These important child safety tips just might save a life or save a child from a serious injury.
Please share!

child-safety-tips My friend Amy is an Emergency Room Trauma Nurse at CHOC Children’s Hospital and asked me if I was interested in sharing some of her child safety tips based on her experience and the injuries she has witnessed in light of May being National Trauma Awareness Month. I couldn’t think of a more important post for parents.

Child Safety Tips

by Amy W., MSN, FNP, CEN
Trauma Nurse Coordinator
CHOC Children’s Hospital 

1. Water Safety Tips

Spring and summer are an exciting time of year in Orange County. There is much to celebrate and many reasons for family and friends to gather such as Memorial Day, Graduations, Father’s Day and Fourth of July.

With adults chatting with their friends it is easy to lose sight of adequate supervision of children, especially near bodies of water such as swimming pools.

Drowning is the leading cause of death and disability in California for children under 5 years of age.

It is not even summer yet there have been more than 16 drownings or near-drownings in Orange County already this year. Adequate supervision means not sitting poolside reading, socializing with guests, chatting on the phone, operating the grill or listening to music with a headset. Such distractions are deadly. Here are some reminders for keeping children safe near water.

1. Parents always need to designate an adult to supervise their swimming kids by keeping them in their direct sight at all times. While there may be plenty of bodies milling about the party, if no eyes are trained on the child, a tragedy like drowning can happen in the blink of an eye.

2. Never leave your child unattended near water. Not even for a few seconds.

3. No one is drown proof. Don’t assume your child is water safe just because he or she had swim lessons.

4. If a child is missing, check the pool first.

(Note from Jen: I have heard of people having a special bracelet or other symbol that can be passed around that identifies the adult “on duty” to watch the kids while swimming.  I thought that was a good idea and I wanted to share. Especially during parties where distractions are possible. Plus, it makes sure there is no confusion or miscommunication over who is supposed to be watching the kids.)

2. Avoiding Unintentional Falls

Unintentional falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children in the United States. As an emergency nurse for over 15 years I have seen it all…falls from playground equipment, bunk beds, trees, etc. However, I am still amazed at the number of children who fall out of second story windows. This occurs in homes of all socioeconomic status and among children of all ages. Some tips to prevent window falls and keep children safe in your home include:

1. Screens are intended to keep bugs out, not children in.

2. Install window stops so windows open no more than 4 inches.

3. Move cribs, chairs and other furniture away from windows.

4. Do not let children climb on furniture or use drawers or shelves as steps.

5. Secure TVs and furniture to the wall using mounts, brackets, braces, anchors or wall straps to prevent tip-overs. These kinds of accident happen more than you might think so take a few minutes, secure your TV and furniture.

3. Poison Danger Reminders

1. Keep toxic substances and medications out of reach of children.

2. Store all chemicals, medicines and toxic products in their original containers, not in food containers or soda bottles that kids will want to drink from.

3. For help, call the nationwide poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Memorize this number, program the poison control center into your cell phone and place it near every landline telephone in your home.

Every Parent Should Know CPR 

Parents have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. You can find a number of CPR classes near you on the Red Cross website here.

For more information on how to keep your kids safe this summer and everyday please visit to www.choc.org/health-topics/safety.

Amy has worked as a registered nurse in pediatric and adult emergency medicine for over 15 years and is grateful for the opportunity to manage the area’s first pediatric only trauma center. 
Amy is an Orange County native and resides in OC with her husband and two school age children.

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Staying at the Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel

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Family-Friendly Hotel Near Disneyland

[Disclosure: My family received a complimentary room to facilitate this Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel family review.] 

This Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel review is for anyone looking for a fun, comfortable, family-friendly hotel near Disneyland (as well as lots of other great Orange County parks and attractions).  My family and I recently had the opportunity to stay at this newly renovated Wyndham property, and we had such a great time!  Let me share my experience with you…

The Rooms

Check-in was a breeze, and we excitedly took the elevator to our room.  We were told that we had a “family room,” so we were all excited to see what that meant.  My kids burst through the door…and squealed.  A family room means BUNK BEDS! You would have thought they had won the lottery. (No, we do not have bunk beds at home, so this was a BIG treat for them).

Giggles, ladder climbing, fort building and peek-a-boo from the top bunk ensued.

This mommy was happy because the rest of our room was clean, fairly spacious for our family of four, and comfortable.  Us parents got a nice Queen-sized pillow-top bed plus a coffee maker (check!), a mini refrigerator (check, check!) and flat screen TV you could see from all beds (check, check, check!).

I also wanted to say that after the kiddies fell asleep around 8:30 p.m., the hotel and surrounding areas were quiet.  Yes, please!  That was a BIG plus.

Bunk Beds in Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove

Splash Time

What did we do five seconds after we finished oohhh’ing and ahhh’ing over the bunk beds??  Head to the pool, of course!  Vacation for my kids means swimming.  They would spend all their time in the pool if they could!

This pool was great for families – spacious, clean and inviting.  There were plenty of chairs, lounges and towels available.  Private cabanas are also an option on a first come, first served basis. We nabbed a few lounges and the kids dove right in.

Not too cool, not too warm.  The temperature was pretty comfortable!  The pool started at 3 1/2 feet…went to 5 feet toward the middle of the pool…and then tapered to 3 1/2 feet again on the other side.  Families and kids of all ages were there when we were there, so it was a nice mix of company.

There was also a comfy little hot tub….or as my son calls it, “the hot baby pool”…that felt great after playing in the water.  And again, very family friendly.

Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Pool

Eats at the Hotel

The Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel has plenty of dining choices for your and your family.

The California Grill & Bar

We ate dinner at the California Grill & Bar, and it was delicious.  It is open all day, and serves quintessential California cuisine, including organic and gluten-free options.

I was especially impressed with their kid food options – for $7, each kid meal came with a (large) portion of the entree, choice of drink, and a post-dinner peanut butter cookie treat (make sure to ask for an alternative, if your child has a nut allergy).  That’s a pretty sweet deal for that price!  The food is quality (yes, I sampled both my son’s pizza choice, as well as my daughter’s mac and cheese – both yum!).

My husband and I started off the meal with creamy crab artichoke dip and crisp crackers (it was so delish, I could have made a meal off of that alone!), paired with a nice glass of Chardonnay.  Then, we each ordered two different entrees and enjoyed sampling – the Cobb Salad with Bleu Cheese dressing and the California Grill Burger with a side of mixed greens.

The Cobb Salad was enormous and very loaded with every possible Cobb topping you could imagine (And then some.  Like fresh mango)!  This could easily feed two people (perfect, if you’re splitting an appetizer and/or a dessert).

Their California Grill Burger was juicy, melty (cheese and topping goodness) and on a super soft, yummy Brioche bun.  The mixed greens was a great side (Yes, that night, I choose to believe that the green salad completely made the burger meal healthy!)

Blend™ Café

At the Blend Café, you can sip on a variety of freshly roasted and freshly brewed organic coffee drinks, and sample their baked pastries – perfect for a light family breakfast. They also offer stuffed Panini, freshly prepared sandwiches, and an assortment of gelato flavors – all day long – as well as a variety of tasty fare to grab-and-go.

We ate here for a light breakfast, and it was great!  The kids noshed on bagels and cream cheese, and I tried their hearty breakfast burrito for only $6 (so big, I couldn’t finish it)!  We took our plates out to the pool area and enjoyed a nice little meal in beautiful weather.  A great way to start the morning.

There’s more… 

There is also a wine bar and poolside dining (with a a wide variety of appetizers, entrées, drinks, and specialty cocktails).

Going to Disneyland?

The Disneyland theme parks are just 10 minutes away from Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove…so this is a perfect family friendly hotel near Disneyland for you set up camp for your Disney vacation.

This hotel makes it as Disney accommodating for you as possible with their “Mouse Ear Disney® Desk” in the lobby, open from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.  You can purchase tickets, pick up maps of the park, or ask their experts at the desk any of your Disney questions….they can provide information on all of the parks, the best rides, the best spots to eat, and all things Disney!

There is a Disneyland Shuttle (which is already included in your nominal “resort fee”) provided by the Wydnham that runs every half hour, starting with hotel departures at 7:10 a.m. (all the way to 10:40 p.m.)

Return trips from the parks to the hotel start at 9:30 a.m., all the way until 1 a.m.

disneylandkiosk

Wyndham Customer Service

Three words:  Helpful, friendly, and attentive.  This is from my own hotel experience, as well as observing the customer service happening around me with other guests.  This makes such a huge difference in your hotel stay, especially when traveling with children.  Because inevitably, your kids will need an extra towel, pillow, napkin, bottle of water, toothbrush…you name it…at some of the most inopportune times.  Friendly service is a must!

You can read more of their hotel reviews here.

Good to Know…

– This hotel property is close to so many attractions and places!!!!  Check it out!

– Did you forget something?  Want to pick up munchies for your room?  Need more sunscreen?  You can literally WALK to Target AND Walgreens across the street.  Tell me that isn’t every mama’s dream when you’re away from home?!

– You are within walking distance to LOTS of great family friendly restaurants, including Red Robin, The Outback, Joe’s Crab Shack and Coco’s Bakery.

– The hotel provides complimentary 24-hour WiFi in your guest room.  You can choose to upgrade, should you need to.

– All rooms are non-smoking.

We loved staying at Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove Hotel!  This is such a great family-friendly hotel near Disneyland for your next Disneyland (or Orange County!) vacation.

http://www.wyndham.com/hotels/california/anaheim/wyndham-anaheim-garden-grove

https://www.facebook.com/WyndhamAnaheimGardenGrove

All opinions expressed here are my own – my family had a great experience here, and we hope you do to!

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You Just Gotta See This!

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Orange County Swim Lessons for Kids

SwimLabs opened for business last week in Lake Forest offering Orange County swim lessons for kids, but I can almost guarantee you have never seen a swim school like this before!

They are offering a Grand Opening special for Tiny Oranges readers: get 20% off any package or set of lessons purchased now through 10/31/13.

It’s such an awesome deal, I am going to buy a set of lessons for both of my girls!

SwimLabs Lake Forest Facility

Last week I took my own tiny orange down to check it out and experience a swim lesson first hand. I was a little perplexed at first by the location in a nice business center off Bake Parkway, because I wouldn’t have visualized a swim school there. I was even more surprised to walk into their beautiful, spacious facility, which held a modern waiting area with three SwimLabs pools behind glass doors.

The waiting area is made with the comfort of parents in mind. It has a nice set of chairs, Wifi, three big screen TV’s for you to watch your kids, a coffee station, and even a play area for little siblings.

Going into the winter months (or as winter as we get in SoCal), SwimLabs is a great option for Orange County swim lessons for kids given its cozy indoor setting with 85-90 degree heated pools to avoid chattering lips on little ones.

There are also showers and changing rooms so you can bring a change of clothes and have your kiddos walk out with the shower out of the way.

SwimLabsCollage

SwimLabs Swim Lessons

When Morgan started her lesson I was in awe.

With multiple video cameras equipped in the pools, kids can do a practice stroke or kick, and then immediately watch themselves on time delay on the screen above.

With group lessons, this works beautifully, as kids can watch themselves on the bench while the next swimmer takes their turn.

The pool also has a “monkey bar” on top of the jet, so kids can hold on and practice what it feels like to have their body buoyed in the correct position, along with practicing their kicks and side breathing. It is so brilliant. Doesn’t that just make sense?

Our instructor, Lyndsey, was so loving and supportive. In just 30 short minutes, Morgan had improved her kicks tremendously. When we got in the car afterwards Morgan yelled, “I want to go back every day!!” 

SwimLabsSwim

SwimLabs Swim Lesson Offerings 

Private Lessons: You can book 30 minute private lessons for one, two, three or four kids you know. This is great if you have siblings or friends who want to take the lessons together because you can pick the times that work best for you.

Group Lessons: Group lessons 30 minute lessons with a 4:1 ratio and are offered at different times throughout the week.

ParentTot Lessons: Mommy and me swim lessons, or rather parent and me swim lessons, are offered for kids ages 1-3 where a parent participates in the water with their little one.

SwimJam: Four consecutive days of lessons to keep your little one in the water practicing their skills!

TeamPrep: These classes are for 7 -12 year olds who have experience on swim teams and want to improve their strokes for summer league swim team. This 4 day program includes video analysis.

And More! That is only a few of the offerings at SwimLabs Lake Forest and their Orange County swim lessons for kids, but they also have lessons for competitive adult swimmers. The high tech capabilities of visual feedback is extremely effective in helping improve stroke and form.

This would be a fabulous place to take any kids preparing for Junior Lifeguard tryouts in Orange County!

20% off Through October 

Mention Tiny Oranges when you book any package of lessons now through October 31st, 2013 and you will receive 20% off! 

For more information, visit:

www.LakeForest.SwimLabsKids.com

Follow SwimLabs Lake Forest on Facebook & Twitter 

[Disclosure: SwimLabs Lake Forest is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and I am thrilled to share their swim lessons with you!]

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Lil Swimmers, Inc. – OC Swim Lessons for Kids

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Isn’t it great when your kids try something new and love it? That was my experience when one of our Sponsors, Lil Swimmers, Inc., a company specializing in South OC swim lessons for kidsinvited my little ones to try a lesson in Laguna Niguel. They are also offering Tiny Oranges readers a free trial swim lesson as well, details below!

My daughter Georgia is 4 years old and has never taken a swim lesson before (I know, I’m a little late to the party, but please don’t judge!). So, when I pulled up to Michelle’s home to take our first swim lesson I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.

Luckily, Michelle, the owner and instructor of Lil Swimmers, Inc. was patient and caring with my newbie and helped get her acclimated with the water.

Within 15 minutes she was floating unassisted. Disclaimer: she was probably floating on her own for only a couple of seconds, but I was still wildly impressed!

After my lesson I asked Michelle a few questions that I thought would be helpful for anyone looking for a great place to take their kids in South OC for swim lessons.

Interview with Owner/Swim Instructor,
Michelle of Lil Swimmers  

I see from your website FAQ’s that the Red Cross suggests starting lessons no earlier than 6 months. What age do you recommend parents start swim lessons? Do you have a favorite age to teach?

The Red Cross suggests 6 months, but at that age the class is a parent and me class, it’s all about getting comfortable in the water and educating parents on ways to hold their children in the water to help facilitate future learning.  It’s a fantastic building block but by no means required. 

The real learning to swim without assistance takes place around 15-18 months.

For any family with a pool or water on their property, I strongly suggest starting swim lessons by this age.  Having a pool at my home, my own kids were in the water as early as 4 months and safe enough for me to sit on the edge and watch them play by 18 to 20 months.

My favorite age is probably 18-24 months; they’re so cute and their personalities are really forming. Even though they are still so young, they are also very capable. And I just love their little voices!

Older children are great for different reasons; with the big kids I’m able to explain things to them and know that they’re getting it. I love seeing the quick progress of their strokes and observing the bonds formed with fellow swimmers.

You offer both private and group lessons, what would you say are the benefits and challenges (if any) to both options?

Private lessons are great because the child learns quicker, but they are expensive.  And the child doesn’t get to watch and learn from a peer.  They also don’t get to play as much when they are by themselves.  What’s great, is that our semi private lessons only have 2 children sharing 30 minutes.  I feel parents get the best of both worlds!

What can parents do to help their kids learn to love and respect the water?

Start at bath time, don’t be shy about getting your child’s face wet in the bath.  One of the biggest challenges instructors face with new students is that the child doesn’t like to get their faces wet.

The more comfortable they are with this simple step, the better.  Another easy thing parents can do is to discuss the lessons and the instructor in a positive way. Hearing how proud their parents are, really encourages the kids.

What made you want to become a swim instructor?

I became a swim instructor because of my love of the outdoors, the water, and kids.

When my husband and I moved into our home, I was not working.  He encouraged me to find something that I could be passionate about instead of just looking for available jobs.  He kept telling me to do what I love instead of looking for a position to fill. 

As a child, I lived in the water.  We had a pool and water skied as a family.  Teaching lessons started out as more of a hobby.  Luckily, I was good at it and really enjoyed the kids and their families.  Once I had my own kids, I had a better understanding of the importance of water safety and the service that I was providing.  I have made great friends with many of the parents that I’ve met.  I feel so fortunate to have my work.

I love that answer! There’s nothing better than making a living at something you love. Kudos to your husband for being so encouraging. Okay, last question. I love the calm, balanced approach you have to teaching kids to swim. Do you have any go to tricks you use if the child is struggling with nerves in the water?

For any kids struggling with nerves, be calm and consistent.  They need to feel secure, and I do that by using gentle words and by holding them in a way that makes them feel that you are in control and that you will take care of them.

Often, I see instructors try to make the kids happy by trying to make them laugh or distract them.  I don’t think that is the right approach.  They are terrified for their lives and it should be acknowledged.  They need to know that the person in charge is confident and trustworthy.

Our instructors tell the children exactly what’s going to happen and when, so that the child quickly learns what the expectations are.  There are no surprises. Once they are comfortable, then everyone has more fun!

Michelle, thanks so much for your sharing your answers with us. I’ve learned a lot about your teaching style and I think our readers have too.

Free Trial for Tiny Oranges Readers

Now for the best part. Michelle has generously offered all Tiny Oranges readers a free trial swim lesson at Lil Swimmers if you call now through June 30th, 2013 and mention this post!

www.oclilswimmers.com

South Orange County Swim Lessons
Laguna Niguel

949.337.8458

Michelle Coulston
oclilswimmers {at} gmail.com

[Disclosure: Lil Swimmers, Inc. is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and I received a complimentary lesson to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own!]

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