All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for January 2003

Making Life Easier,2265,32924820,00.html

1st Dec, 2002
Shelley Peterman Schwarz
Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Keeping Kids Safe and Happy

Dear Readers, Many of us with MS have young children. Here are some tips to keep our children safe and to make parenting easier.

Back-up Plan

Keep a clean outfit for your toddler in a resealable plastic bag in your diaper bag. If needed, the outfit is all in one place, and you can seal the soiled garments in the empty plastic bag.

Garage Door Safety

Check to see if your electric garage door was manufactured after 1993. Garage doors made after that date have built-in safety sensor beams, which are emitted from one side of the door to the other. If the path of the sensor beam is broken (by a child, a pet, or an object) when the door is coming down, the door reverses direction and goes back up. Check your garage door to be sure it has this wonderful safety feature.

Paper or Plastic?

Here's one way to get kids to help you carry and unload the groceries. Buy treats-a rarely purchased breakfast cereal, a candy bar, a package of barrettes, a comic book-and have the special items packed throughout the grocery bags. You'll be surprised how fast the groceries are brought in and put away!

Now You're Cookin'

Teach children not to leave the kitchen when they are cooking something on the stove. If they must leave the room, teach them to turn the stove off. If they're cooking a pizza in the oven, teach them to take a portable with them to the other areas of the house. The timer's ding will remind them that they have something in the oven.

Lock It Up

If your child can't lock or unlock a dead-- bolt on a door, consider replacing the knob with a 4-inch wooden dowel. The dowel gives the child leverage and makes the door easier to unlock. Always remind children to ask, "Who is it?" before unlocking or opening a door. If they're home alone, they shouldn't open the door unless they know who's on the other side.

Easy to Swallow

If your children have trouble swallowing pills, you may want to purchase empty gelatin capsules from your pharmacist. Gelatin capsules are easier to swallow than pills or coated tablets. The capsules come in various sizes, are easy to open, and fit many hard-to-swallow pills. '

Spice It Up!

Get prescription medications off your sinks and countertops by putting them in a wall-mounted spice rack. The medications will be safely out of your child's reach, and you'll be able to quickly see which medications you want. Mount the spice rack in the kitchen, bathroom, or other convenient spot.

Shelves for Kids

Create extra storage space in a child's room by installing shelves 18 inches from the ceiling all around the room. Use the shelves to decorate the room with stuffed animals, a doll collection, or to simply remove clutter from the floor.

How Much Longer?

Here's a way to help answer that perennial car trip question, "Are we there yet?" Take a spring-type clothespin and clip it to the left side of one of the sun visors. Put a small line drawing, magazine picture, or photo of your destination on the right side of the same visor. As you get closer to the destination, move the clothespin to the right.

Pick Up Your Toys

Use plastic clothes baskets as toy boxes. They're lightweight and easy to push or pull around the room-children can clean up their toys easily.

Blow Out the Candles!

An easy birthday party rule: The number of guests a child invites should correspond with the age the child's celebrating.

Pet Problem?

Many airlines allow cats and small dogs to travel in pet carriers in the passenger section of the plane. If your child is severely allergic to animals, ask to sit as far away from the animal as possible. As an added precaution, pack allergy medications and a face mask in your carry-- on bag.

Mail your time- and energy-saving tips and ideas to: Shelley Peterman Schwarz, c/o Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis, 1111 Bethlehem Pike, RO. Box 908, Springhouse, PA 19477-- 0908. You can also visit her Web site at

© 2002, Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis