(HealthPod) Baby

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Holiday Travel Tips with Newborns

Thursday, November 6th, 2014


Holidays are a hectic time of year, and many families travel to visit loved ones during the holiday season. With a new baby in the family, holiday travel is extra stressful. Plan ahead for your family holiday travel by having all your paperwork for your trip prepared ahead of time.

My tip for managing travel documents: take a photo of all documents on your cell phone, then if you can’t find the paperwork you can quickly pull up a photo. If I’m traveling outside the country, I take photos of all documents and also email them to myself so I have double back-ups in case my phone goes missing.

This article by Aimee Chan, founder of online family travel magazine www.suitcasesandstrollers.com, lists:

10 Most Important Travel Documents When Traveling With Kids

Unlike business travel or backpacking, travel with kids requires quite a bit of pre-planning and paperwork. Sadly, you cannot just arrive at the airport with your passport and an e-ticket on your phone. Nor are unnecessary delays something you can easily take in your stride - dealing with tired toddlers while you argue with immigration is a situation best avoided. So here is a checklist of all the documents you need to help make your family holiday adventure as smooth as possible.

1. Passports. Sounds simple, but they are so critical. Almost everything else in your travel wallet is easily replaceable but passports are the one item you cannot be without. Make sure everyone’s passport has at least 6 months before the expiry date when you travel and ensure you carry all relevant visa documentation with your passports as well. If your child’s photograph is so old that it no longer resembles their current appearance (for instance, a four-year-old traveling on an infant picture), it’s worth checking with the passport office to see if you can get this updated. In some countries this can be done free of charge.

2. Print outs of return air tickets. Immigration officers will often ask to see these, sometimes even before you leave the country. While an e-ticket may be good enough for the airlines, it will not be good enough for immigration so print at least one copy of everyone’s tickets and hand carry them with you.

3. Copies of all the kids’ birth certificates. You will be surprised the problems and delays that can be caused if you are not carrying these, especially if your children have surnames that are different from yours. Certified copies are best (don’t carry the originals unless you have multiple copies as it is too easy for them to get lost) but failing that, even a plain old black and white photocopy is better than nothing.

4. A signed letter of permission to exit the country from any non-traveling parent. If you are divorced or your spouse has simply chosen not to travel, it’s best to prepare for the worst by organizing a signed letter from that person stating they give permission for you to travel with the kids. As an extra precaution some families will even ask a lawyer or justice of the peace to witness the signature. Authorities may not request to see these often but when they do, failure to produce this kind of document can create a lot of unnecessary hassle and delay.

5. Vaccination certificates. Some travel vaccinations (such as yellow fever) are compulsory for all tourists who are visiting particular countries to enter or return home. Plan to consult a travel doctor at least 3 months before your departure so you can obtain the relevant vaccinations for kids as some of these require multiple visits and time to take effect (such as rabies).

6. Copy of your family travel insurance policy and emergency contact number. Find out before you leave home if your family travel insurance provider has a concierge service that you can call in emergency situations. Then print this out so you have it on hand. Often this can be the quickest and easiest way to solve problems such as missing luggage or stolen wallets when you are overseas.

7. Telephone numbers and addresses for emergency medical facilities at your destination. Again, doing the research before you leave home will save a lot of time and stress if you do unfortunately need to rush to a hospital while in a foreign country. This way you can also ensure you are attending the facility of your choice with adequate care and hygiene standards, especially if you are in a developing country.

8. Emergency first aid instructions. These should include CPR for kids, how to identify concussion and what to do for severe food poisoning. This will be extremely helpful when you don’t have Dr Google conveniently at your fingertips to remind you of the basics that you normally know but have forgotten in a panic.

9. A list of your kids’ allergies and how they should be treated. Not only is this useful for you in an emergency, it can also be helpful to present something in writing when you are seeking medical treatment so there are no misunderstandings.

10. Your full itinerary with list of addresses and phone numbers. Sometimes immigration may request to see this along with your return flight details. But creating this document is also extremely useful when you just need information quickly to show to taxi drivers, cross reference or call the hotel or airline.

Hot travel tip: print everything. It might seem old fashioned to be carrying around a small document holder but this really is essential if you want to avoid huge international roaming costs. It also just makes things easier when you are traveling with kids if you have all the critical information in one place - then you aren’t trying to scroll through your emails to find that accommodation booking number while the toddler sprints across the road or the baby is crying. It’s worth making multiple copies too and placing them strategically inside each piece of luggage so you have a spare if one gets lost.

For more tips on travelling with a baby, see our Pinterest board: HealthPodBaby/Travel-With-Baby


HealthPod Baby is the original portable and customizable baby health and medical record organizer.
HealthPod Baby is the perfect gift: it holds all a child’s vital health inf

Essentials to Pack in Your Toddler’s BackPack

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

toddler backpack essentials

It’s that time of year: Back to School season!

Is your toddler heading off to preschool, childcare, playdates or classes?

An annual fall back to school ritual is choosing and packing your child’s backpack. For your toddler, this backpack is probably their very first: a backpack just like the big kids wear! Choosing a backpack for your excited toddler is not just getting the right color or their favorite movie or TV character: the right backpack and supplies are important to protect your child while also transporting their essentials.

Tips for choosing your toddler’s backpack:

1.  Size appropriate

Be sure to buy a backpack designed for toddlers, not for older kids. Smaller backpacks are designed for your toddler’s smaller height and strength, and will be more comfortable and ergonomically safe for your child. A backpack should sit just below his shoulder blades and end right at the waist.

The standard size for a toddler backpack is 13 inches high by 11 inches wide and expands 4 inches deep.

~ The Examiner

2. Adjustable straps

Even a toddler-sized backpack will need to have adjustable straps so the backpack can be adjusted to the right position and tightness for your child. Many backpacks come with adjustable shoulder and back straps to prevent back pain and get a comfortable fit.

3. Sturdy and Cleanable

There’s little doubt that your toddler’s backpack will end up being dragged along the sidewalk, covered in spilled juice, or sitting on a bathroom floor. Don’t just purchase the cutest backpack: invest in a backpack that is well-made and ideally machine washable.

Don’t overpack your toddler’s backpack: your child should be able to walk comfortably while wearing their backpack, and be able to climb stairs, get in and out of cars, and wear the backpack for extended periods, such as on a zoo trip or walk to the playground.

backpack essentials for your toddler

A backpack should not weigh more than 10% of your child’s weight.

~ School Backpack Awareness Initiative

Essentials to Pack in Your Toddler’s BackPack

1. Water bottle

A small, refillable water bottle will make sure that with a change in routine and surroundings, your child can always grab a quick drink of water.

2. Change of clothes

If your toddler is heading to preschool, a change of clothes is a good idea in case of a toilet accident - especially with the excitement of a new routine, and the fear of new surroundings, accidents happen. If your child is heading to dance class, one outfit and accessories should fit in the backpack.

3. Snack

New routines and surroundings can make a toddler too excited to eat their meal, or too nervous to speak up when they’re hungry. A small snack in your child’s backpack assures there is something to eat that your child likes and is familiar with.

Caution: many schools have guidelines forbidding snacks with sugar, nuts or other ingredients that could prove harmful if another child eats them.

4. In Case of Emergency #ICE

Be prepared in case the unthinkable happens and your child is somehow separated from their group. Pack In Case of Emergency #ICE instructions in your child’s backpack with critical information about your child including adult contact information. Instruct your child about the #ICE instructions and where they are in the backpack.

5. Personal supplies

Does your toddler wear a pony tail or barrettes every day? Does he wear glasses or need a hearing aid? Your toddler’s backpack should hold a small case with personal essentials and supplies that are unique to your child, and are readily available if they are needed.

6. Fun stuff

Every child wants to personalize their backpack. Some fun, inexpensive ideas for your child’s backpack swag are:

  • keychains from places they’ve visited, hung from a strap or zipper pull
  • stickers of their favorite characters or heroes
  • charms or stick-on gems
  • sports logos and patches

Have a great school year!

healthpod baby

HealthPod Baby is the original portable and customizable baby health and medical record organizer.
HealthPod Baby is the perfect gift: it holds all a child’s vital health information in one place
and still fits in your hand!

Potty Training Tips, Tricks and Hacks

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

This has been a busy month for potty training news : apparently you can now outsource potty training to a potty training professional!

If you’re potty training your toddler the old-school DIY way like most of us, here are a few fun tips we found to help your little one get toilet trained.

Toddler Potty Training Tips, Tricks and Hacks

1. Dinosaur Tissue Holder


I love this idea I saw on Home Decore: allow your little guy or gal to use the dino paper only when he uses the big boy potty!

2.  Toilet Targets

potty training toilet-target

Any mom of boys knows that getting it in the toilet instead of on the toilet (or floor!) is half the battle. The floating Cheerios trick is fun, but these toilet targets from Etsy shop ToiletMarksman keep it interesting.

3. Toilet Paper Measure


How much is too much? The right amount of TP is abstract for a child (and some adults!) This handy wall measure will help avoid overflowed toilets and piles of toilet paper decorating the floor.

4. Post-Its for Public Toilets


Carry post-it notes in your purse to cover the automatic flushing toilet sensor so your little one isn’t scared by a flush while trying to go, says the smart mom at My Crazy Blessed Life.

5. Boys Face the Toilet


When they are promoted to standing peeing they’ll be facing the toilet: this toilet facing training for boys should minimize spray plus its an easy transition to standing. Note: I’d never hand a toddler a market and encourage them to write on a toilet, tile wall, floor or any “erasable” surface: I think you’re asking for trouble!

We have more potty training hacks on Pinterest: what’s your favorite toilet training tip or trick?


HealthPod Baby is the original portable and customizable baby health and medical record organizer.
HealthPod Baby is the perfect gift: it holds all a child’s vital health information in one place
and still fits in your hand!

Taking care of ourselves

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

As the only person in the company who doesn’t have kids, I sometimes refer to myself as “the most educated non-parent”!  Having co-created the HealthPod Baby, I have learned so much about raising and caring for kids that I feel like I will be more than ready when it’s my turn to have kids.

The reason that I got into the business of co-creating and selling the HealthPod Baby was simply because I fundamentally believe that everyone is responsible for their own health.  Just like it is our responsibility to take care of our career and not rely solely on our managers or our companies to take care of us, I see that it is even more important to take care of ourselves and be responsible for our own health.  As good as our health system is, it can’t possibly take care of us in a way that we can take care of ourselves.

I was reminded of this today when I went to get a breast ultrasound for some cysts that my doctor recently found.  Because I am HealthPod believer, I use a HealthPod Baby to manage my health.  Although designed with children in mind, it helps me track my health (I have taken out the sections that don’t apply like milestones and food introductions etc) and keep what is most important: emergency information, health contacts, doctor visits, health, dental, specialist summaries, allergies and family history - as you can see a lot applies right through your life!

Going through this experience reminded me about how difficult it is for our medical system to share and gain quick access to our records.   When I arrived at the radiology clinic, they asked me if I had ever had an ultrasound or mammogram before. Luckily I had recorded in my HealthPod that on November 26, 2007, I had an ultrasound and mammogram with the following results.  The technician said, “really, we only show that your last breast ultrasound was in 2002, were did you have it done?”  I had written down that it was at the Women’s Imaging Center.  This information is important as with many medical tests, doctors rely on changes to make better assessments.  This way they could see how it had progressed between 2002, 2007 and today.  She said that they will call the Women’s Imaging Center and get the results sent over for them to compare.

It was an important reminder of how valuable this information is when you really need it and how I can make sure that I am the expert on and owner of my health.

Marci, Co-Founder

A Time to Reflect

Friday, December 11th, 2009

What better time to pause and reflect on the year than when you are snowed in under several feet of snow and subject to  -20 degree temperatures - well, frankly, there’s not much else to do! 

It has been another great year for HealthPod Baby - it’s hard to believe another year has gone by so quickly.  Maybe its a function of age, but it seems like time is flying at warp speed!   Grabbing the number one spot on our list of exciting events this year was when Disney Family included HealthPod Baby in their Top 10 Pregnancy Essentials list - we were thrilled!  Another exciting event was when our own Marci Andrews, co-founder of HealthPod Baby, was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine - congratulations Marci!   (Check out the article and Marci’s video interview at http://cli.gs/XN9EJT).

We are also thrilled to welcome a new member to the HealthPod Baby team - Kelly Morris.  Kelly joins HealthPod as the new General Manager with a great background in marketing and social media.  We are really excited about Kelly’s ideas regarding social media - so expect to see more about HealthPod when you’re visiting your favourite networking sites.  If you haven’t connected with us on Twitter lately, you should check it out - Kelly has revamped the page and has been diligently tweeting away!

On the flip side, we are sad to say good-bye to two other HealthPod Baby team members, Lisa Hargreaves and Kim Fenton.  Both Lisa and Kim joined us over a year and a half ago.  Lisa was our sales girl extraordinaire and Kim did everything from assembling HealthPods and shipping them out to our customers to sending out all the free gifts with registration.  (If you haven’t registered with us, you might want to!)  Both these girls were extraordinary at what they did and had as much passion for HealthPod Baby as we do.  Unfortunately both had other opportunities that fit their families and lives better than HealthPod - we will miss them and wish them all the best in their future endeavours!

We are also sad to say good-bye to Magda Kaczan.   If you have signed up to receive the HealthPod newsletters, you’ve seen Magda’s work!  She kept us organized with articles and has recently been working on our new web store (to be launched shortly).  Magda recently welcomed a new baby into her family.  Congratulations Magda - we wish you all the best!

After such a busy 2009, we’re wondering what’s in store for 2010…..hopefully we’ll have time to slow down and enjoy all the events of the year instead of watching it whiz by at lightening speed!   From all the HealthPod team, past and present, we would like to wish everyone a happy holiday, and a fun, healthy and exciting 2010!

All the best.

Moments of Inspiration

Friday, June 5th, 2009

For me, owning a business is a bit like golf.  Every once in a while something great happens during your game that brings you back the next time.  While work and golf can both be challenging, there is always that one great moment that motivates you to keep going.

Fortunately, there have been lots of moments with HealthPod Baby that have re-energized me along the way  - emails from registrants that love the HealthPod Baby and talking to people who have found the HealthPod to be truly useful.   One of the great moments came last year when we won the iParenting Media Award for Excellent Product in the baby care category.  This was an amazing accomplishment for us as consumers chose the HealthPod Baby from hundreds of products from all over North America!

Last week we were honoured to find out that HealthPod Baby was chosen by Disney editors to be one of their Top Ten Pregnancy Essentials on their Disney Family web site (see us here at http://family.go.com/products/article-641953-top-pregnancy-essentials-t/6/).  And as the only Canadian product in the Top Ten, we are thrilled!

While we are excited to receive these awards, it is the personal stories from our customers and supporters that keep us motivated every day.  So thanks to everyone who sent us emails about their HealthPod experiences and help us spread the word - you help to `drive` our business! 

Have a great day!



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