Decorations make school locker 'a symbol of me'

Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 11:05 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 3:18 PM

Kids, especially girls, have always hung photos, mirrors or handmade decorations in their school lockers. Now, retailers are giving them the option of buying coordinated locker trimmings that would make interior designers jealous.

Options include carpeting, chandeliers, wallpaper and a variety of accessories in bold, bright colors. Everything adheres magnetically so the products don't damage the lockers.

The trend gives kids a chance to express themselves in a venue that's more public than their bedroom.

"The locker becomes an extension of them and their personal space," said Christy Clapper, a school counselor at Quaker Valley Middle School in Sewickley, Pa. "It gives them an opportunity to say who they are and gives them an outlet for expression."

Plus, it makes the space more attractive, added Kira Harvey, a soon-to-be eighth-grader in Albuquerque, N.M.

"The lockers are a disgusting color," she said. The wallpaper "makes it really pretty."

She and her friends at Albuquerque Academy enjoy choosing decorations that suit their personalities. Choices range from lime-green polka dots to aqua zebra stripes to pink cheetah prints.

"It's really fun," said Kira, 13. "We all have our own wallpaper."

She also uses some of the organizational accessories to hold her cell phone and pencils.

Product creators Christi Sterling and JoAnn Brewer started their company, LockerLookz, in 2010 after creating some handmade pieces to decorate their daughters' lockers. Once other students saw the decorations, their parents started calling the women asking where they could buy them.

The friends decided to test-market a few products and were overwhelmed by the response.

"We found that locker decorating is a rite of passage. It's a really big deal to them," said Sterling of Plano, Texas. "They need to show others who they are."

Retailers also loved it, added Brewer, also of Plano.  "It's a time-sensitive product that helped to drive sales," she said.

Paul Buckel got the idea to create magnetic wallpaper when his daughter's friend got in trouble for covering her locker with contact paper. Buckel, who runs a company, Magna Card, in DuBois, Pa., that makes magnetic business cards and other promotional products, saw locker decorations as an exciting new merchandise line.

Dee Tipps, owner of a boutique called a.k.a. Girl Stuff in Birmingham, Ala., says she "started jumping up and down" when locker decorations caught her eye. The LockerLookz decorations flew off shelves last summer, she said, thanks mostly to middle-school girls.

"It's like somebody has opened a safe full of diamonds," she said.

Caroline McCormick, 12, remembers walking into Tipps' boutique. "The first thing I thought was, 'How can I get this for my locker?'" she said. "I wanted to make my locker be a symbol of me. I didn't want my locker to look like everyone else's."

She also was happy that she could cover the locker's dreary gray metal interior.

After decorating the space with a white chandelier, blue carpet and black-and-white wallpaper, Caroline considered her locker "a room that's away from my house."

Buckel said schools have gotten behind the products, especially because they don't damage the lockers. Some schools in his area have hosted decorating contests, he said.

The organizational products are great for kids, said Clapper, the school counselor, who tries to teach students that an organized locker can contribute to academic success.

"We actually spend a lot of time teaching them appropriate ways to organize their lives and their space," she said. "Some kids coordinate everything. Others you can only imagine what their bedrooms look like."

Dad surprises son with video of ‘Tooth Fairy,’ watch what happens

Published: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 6:41 PM
Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 6:41 PM


            Tinkerbell may not be the Tooth Fairy, but a proud father used a fairy that looked just like her when he made a video of the Tooth Fairy's visit for his son.
            Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Tinkerbell may not be the Tooth Fairy, but a proud father used a fairy that looked just like her when he made a video of the Tooth Fairy's visit for his son.(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A dad who has earned internet fame with a YouTube series featuring his son and movie-quality special effects managed to capture the “Tooth Fairy” on camera when his son lost a tooth.

>> Read more trending news 

 Daniel Hashimoto’s YouTube channel Action Movie Kid features his son James in various adventures of his imagination.

Hashimoto is know for his visual effects work on movies and TV shows. When his son lost his tooth, he set up cameras around his room before bed.

Little James placed his tooth under his pillow that night, and the next morning woke up to find a crystal in its place.

The next morning after breakfast, James and Hashimoto reviewed the footage and were thrilled by what they saw.

Check out Hashimoto’s impressive visual effects work above.

Kids food allergies need extra back-to-school planning

Published: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 1:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 1:00 AM

If you think your kid is fussy about what they eat, you should try packing a lunch when your child has food allergies.

Or in the case of parent Karen Earle's second-grader, multiple food allergies.

"Since she as old enough to understand, we've talked about foods she can have and she cannot have," Earle said.

Earle also make sure to meet with all the teachers and adminstrators before the school year starts and makes sure they have an action plan.

"And her teachers are great about it," Earle said.  "It's never been an issue."

Earle says parents of children with food allergies have to keep the mental and emotional side of the issue in mind, as well as the physical symptoms.

For example, Earle makes sure that she always packs something special in her daughter's lunch, so if kids are celebrating something at the school like a birthday with something her daughter can't eat,  her daughter doesn't feel left out.

"She can still participate," she said.

Getting the school year off to a healthy start

Published: Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 7:31 AM

Read King’s blog entries on raising kids at blog.childrensdayton.org.

Summer is winding down, and the school year is quickly approaching.

That means parents must take necessary health precautions to ensure their children are ready to head back to the classroom, according to experts.

We asked Dr. Melissa King, pediatrician and “Dr. Mom” blogger at Dayton (Ohio) Children’s Medical Center, to bring you the facts about everything from physicals to vaccinations for your child.

Q: Back-to-school time is quickly approaching. What do parents need to think about in regards to their children and health before kids head back to the classroom?

A: Have your kids received all required immunizations? Have you discussed with your child’s physician the vaccines that may not be required but are recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)?

Have you filled out any forms that the school has sent home, such as emergency contact and health information forms? Remember to complete all of the parent portions of the form.

Do the school nurse and teachers know about any medical conditions your child may have, particularly food allergies, asthma, diabetes and any other conditions that may need to be managed during the school day? Have you made arrangements with the school nurse to administer any medications your child might need?

Do the teachers know about any conditions that may affect how your child learns? For example, kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be seated in the front of the room, and a child with vision problems should sit near the board.

 

Q: When should parents start preparing their children for the school year, in regards to health concerns?

A: Starting in July or early August, you should contact your child’s doctor office to set up an appointment. It may take up to six or eight weeks to schedule a physical. Your insurance provider will only pay for one physical every 12 months. However, if you have concerns, problems or chronic health issues, then it is advisable to set up a visit before your child returns to school to discuss any limitations or restrictions.

Q: How often should children get physicals?

A: Annually.

Q: Why are physicals important for children?

A: Physicals are important for children because it is often the only time the child might see a doctor all year. This is a time for the physician or designated health care provider to touch base with both the child and their parent regarding growth issues and any questions they might have. They are also important for students participating in sports, to possibly address any health concerns related to that specific activity. A yearly physical with the same doctor also allows a relationship to be formed, which makes the child feel more comfortable, and the doctor is able to identify medical concerns because they are familiar with the child’s medical history.”

Q: How do vaccinations work?

A: “Vaccinations work by administering a dead or weakened version of the virus to the child. The body is then able to produce antibodies to fight this weakened virus. If you are ever exposed to the real disease, then your body will use the antibodies. … This is called immunity.

Q: Why should children get vaccinations?

A: To protect children from potentially serious or deadly illnesses. We have been pretty successful in the U.S., drastically reducing the incidence of certain illnesses such as mumps, rubella, polio and diphtheria with vaccination campaigns. Unfortunately, there is still more work to be done, and even with the vaccine successes, the absence of an illness in the U.S. does not mean that it is no longer an issue. Even if the virus is no longer present in the U.S., it is still important to get vaccinated to prevent the illness because of travel. There are numerous other countries that still have a high number of cases of vaccine preventable illnesses, and if your child comes into contact with one other person carrying the illness, without a vaccine they could be quickly be affected. There are also children that your child may go to school with who are unable to receive vaccines because of an underlying illness. These children become very vulnerable to an outbreak of an illness. We provide those children with more protection if we are able to vaccinate as many children around them as possible.

Q: What are the potential side effects of vaccinations?

A: Possible side effects include pain, fever, swelling at the injection site, rashes, hives, difficulty breathing and extreme irritability. Some side effects such as encephalopathy (a disease, damage or malfunction of the brain) or Guillain-Barre [syndrome] (a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system) are more serious but luckily more rare as well. I realize that if your child has a severe reaction to a vaccine, then in your world, complications from vaccines are not rare. However, if your child is infected with a vaccine preventable illness and becomes extremely ill or has complications from that illness, then in your world, the risk of infection from an illness that could have been prevented is not rare either. Parents should contact their child’s pediatrician if their child experiences any of these after a vaccine.

Q: What are the common myths about vaccinations? Why are these myths wrong?

A: Myth 1: “Vaccines don’t work.” — This is false. Most occurrences of diseases like polio, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps and now chicken pox have dramatically decreased since the introduction of the vaccines preventing each disease. The numbers of deaths related to influenza and whooping cough have declined as well; however, we still have too many of these cases as well.

Myth 2: “Vaccines aren’t necessary.” — Diseases that are prevented by vaccines still occur in the United States. If a child is not vaccinated against that disease, they are more likely to contract it. High immunization levels explain the dramatic decrease in outbreaks. If children are not properly vaccinated, the immunization level will decline, and outbreaks of the disease will increase. We have seen this occur with various illnesses worldwide when there is some trigger to vaccine avoidance.

Myth 3: “Vaccines aren’t safe.” — While some parents may worry about the side effects of vaccines, it’s important to note that pharmaceutical companies are under the strict supervision of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Vaccines are tested for years before they are approved, and all recommended vaccines are considered safe. Observation of vaccines and their safety in children also continues after the vaccine is in use. Anyone can report adverse events related to vaccines at the website vaers.hhs.gov.

Myth 4: “Infants are too young to be vaccinated.” — Many vaccine-preventable diseases strike children under the age of 2, so they are one of the most important groups to vaccinate.

Myth 5: “Vaccines weaken the immune system.” — Natural infections of certain viruses like chicken pox and measles without a doubt weaken the immune system; however, the viruses in vaccines are different from the ‘wild’ virus of the natural infection. Viruses in vaccines have been altered to the point where they will not weaken the immune system.

Myth 6: “Vaccines cause autism.” — This claim has recently been retracted, and there is no longer a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Studies found that the only connection between these events is age. The MMR vaccine is usually given to children around 15 months old, and the early signs of autism generally begin to show at about 2 years of age.

 

Q: What else should parents know about preparing their children for school health wise?

A: Prepare your children for adequate sleep each night. Discourage TV, computer or telephone use after a specific time in the evening so that children are not distracted by these electronic devices when they should be sleeping. If your child has become a night owl, then you will need to make them wake up a couple of hours earlier each day until they are mimicking their school schedule. Discourage naps.

Encourage your children to eat three meals a day and include milk, fruits and vegetables into their daily intake. Discourage skipping meals at any point in time. Ask your children about their eating habits when they are not with you. Encourage them to drink water.”

Encourage regular, daily exercise for at least one hour every day for your children.

Highlighter hues fuel back-to-school neon trend

Published: Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 3:16 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 3:16 PM

Neon is a fashion trend that might be best suited to the cool kids — or real kids.

Unlike so many looks that trickled down from designer runways to mass retailers and into teenagers' closets, the almost electrifying shades of pink, green, yellow and orange have been hanging out in high school hallways for a while. And they're back again for the new school year.

"Teens stayed with neon because for them, it's so easy to wear. It taps into youth, emotion and standing out, which they like doing," says Seventeen senior fashion editor Marissa Rosenblum.

The highlighter colors have evolved this season into accessories, beauty products and outerwear. There are still the T-shirts, colored jeans, hoodies and athletic apparel, but Rosenblum says the way to wear neon is as a single bright pop, not head to toe. (It's probably a safe bet that lots of pint-sized athletes will buy into the bright footwear that has made Nike's track and field sneakers one of the most buzzed-about looks of the Olympics.)

"This is the season of color: color on color, color back to neutrals. Neons are just one of the amazing colortrends that are important right now," says Anu Narayanan, vice president of women's merchandising for Old Navy.

She'd like to see mint green jeans with a yellow neon tank with a gray cardigan. "Neon looks best as a surprise within a look."

For its largely grade-school customer, The Children's Place will pair neon with navy as the cooler weather moves in. The brand started introducing neon through bright accents for its summer products but "you'll see even more for the holidays," says TCP senior vice president of design Michael Giannelli. "And it will continue into the spring and probably into next fall. ... We grabbed onto it because we have more freedom in kidswear to play with bright color."

He adds, "The children have a sense of humor about their clothes."

Elena Klam is creative director and co-owner of the jewelry brand Lia Sophia, which is launching a fashion jewelry collection called Sisters aimed at the tween and teen set. It includes neon, preapproved by Klam's teenage daughters and their friends.

"They can be a tough crowd. They're changing all the time, reinventing themselves all the time, trying new things. It's an age of experimentation, but they're also a part of the population who knows what's going on," she says. "They're very savvy."

If everyone is wearing neon, they'll also want it for their accessories, says Klam, adding that schools with strict dress codes will likely allow superbright friendship bracelets or earrings. Her uniform-wearing girls don't get a lot of variety in their school-day clothes, so "they change up their jewelry for a little bit of self-expression."

She expects neon citrus yellow-green to be particularly popular with kids and — as with everything — neonpink. "You don't have to be the 'pink girl' when it's neon. That has a bit of an edge to it," Klam says.

Neon, however, isn't just a chick thing. Giannelli points to the 1980s, when it was a staple in every kid's wardrobe, and he says the skater-snowboarder-surfer look has brought brights back into favor for boys. "Skater kids and surfer dudes are wearing bright pinks and deep purples, and they're also getting into orange and banana."

These colors work surprisingly well in snow gear, particularly fleece, which often is done in one color and trimmed in another, Giannelli says.

Neon hues are probably more traditional for warmer months — and that's what makes them so fresh for fall, says Old Navy's Narayanan. Each year, it seems there are deep shades of brown and purple in stores, but shoppers might not have seen them with a top that has neon pink, she says. "The rules are out the window."

A word of caution, though, from Rosenblum: You might need to be a little more selective about a neon shade than you would a neutral.

"You have to choose the color that looks good on you. That funny off-green is definitely an important color but it's not for everyone. But all the colors for teens are very popular so you can find one."