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Mattress Covers: Prevent Asthma And Allergies In Your Kids

There's nothing more frightening for new parents than the thought that their child may be sick. While most parents do well keeping their child away from common cold and flu germs, not everyone takes into account the affect household allergens may have on a newborn. Common respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, coughing and difficulty breathing are often examples of allergic rhinitis, or respiratory allergies, and are caused by a simple factor in the child's environment. Dust mites, pet dander, mold, pollen -young children can develop allergies to a number of everyday things. Luckily, removing allergens and thus preventing or reducing allergic reactions can be a very easy process. The most important part of the process, though, is knowing what you're up against.

It is important to understand what respiratory allergens are if you expect to protect your child from them. An allergy is an immune reaction to an irritable substance in the child's environment. The child's body views these irritants as dangerous and releases chemicals, such as histamines, that cause uncomfortable and potentially harmful symptoms. While a child may eventually develop immunity to these irritants, untreated or ignored allergic symptoms can lead to such respiratory problems as asthma and emphysema.

The most common allergens are dust mites, animal dander and molds. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in carpets and fabrics and feed on dead flakes of human and animal skin. Children can develop respiratory allergies from inhaling accumulated mites in areas that aren't cleaned properly or regularly. Bedding, clothing and comforters should be washed in hot water at least once a week. For additional protection, cribs and beds should be covered with an impermeable mattress encasement. These covers act as a barrier between your baby and allergy-causing dust mites. It is also important to vacuum and dust weekly; a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter helps trap particles normal dusting and vacuuming can miss. It is also important to clean or replace heating ducts, furnace and air conditioning filters whenever they're in use.

Stuffed animals and plush toys can also be a haven for dust mites. Make sure you wash your child's favorite plush toys as often as you would his or her bedding and clothing.

Pet dander is another common household allergen. Unfortunately, the only sure-fire way to protect your child from dander is to give the animal away. This can often be a very difficult and heartbreaking decision, but if your child's allergic reaction is severe it may be the only option. If your child has only a mild allergy you might consider simply keeping the animal well-groomed, shampooed, off furniture and out of the child's room.

Mold is a versatile and particularly irksome allergen. Molds can grow in closets, attics, cellars, planters, refrigerators, showers, garbage cans, mattresses, carpets -just about any warm, moist area in the house. Mold allergies are caused by the spores the mold uses to reproduce. These spores can cause significant health problems. The best way to prevent mold growth is to keep the air in troublesome areas of your home dry. A dehumidifier can help keep air dry in the winter, while a good air conditioner can achieve the same effect in the summer. Keeping high-risk areas clean is also important--use mold-inhibiting disinfectants such as bleach or tea tree oil and water.

Of course, any respiratory symptoms should be checked by your child's physician. Most doctors won't prescribe allergy medication to newborns, especially children younger than six months, but they may have treatment options that better fit your child's specific allergy problem.

It's fairly easy to determine whether your child is going to have a tendency to be allergic. Allergic tendencies are inherited, though specific allergies are not. If either you or your mate is allergic to cats, for instance, your child will have a fifty percent chance of developing some sort of allergy as well, though not necessarily to cats. Allergies also take a while to develop. Newborns may not show symptoms of allergic reactions for a few months; then, suddenly, the child's exposure level to mites, mold or dander will reach its threshold and the child will start to develop symptoms.

Newborn allergies can be a scary experience for parents, especially if you are unprepared for them. The best way to help treat allergies is to prevent them before your child is even home from the hospital. Thoroughly clean and disinfect any areas the newborn will occupy, invest in proper ventilation and vacuum symptoms, and keep clothes and bedding washed regularly and protected with impermeable covers. Taking care of a newborn can bring about a number of unforeseen obstacles, but with proper preparation, common household allergens don't need to be one of them.

~Ben Anton, 2008


Sofa Beds Have Come a Long Way

Sofa beds are not hard to understand. They have a built in mechanism that makes them both sofa and bed. It's a no-brainer that the advantage to having one of these in your home is the convenience that it gives you when you need to have an extra bed, but don't have a guest room. In the past, these unique furniture pieces have been pretty uncomfortable to sleep on. There was always that irritating metal bar just under the surface that would keep you or your guests tossing and turning all night.

The sofa beds of today have come a long way. They are actually comfortable and look great too. They come in all sorts of coverings and materials, from traditional upholstery, to classic leather.

The mechanisms used in sofa beds varies. Some of the designs require the back to tilt forward just a bit before it can lay all the way back. This style means that there is no internal mattress. The seat and back become the bed when it is laid flat. The thing some people find objectionable about this is that between the back and the sofa seat is a noticeable crease. Another design is more traditional where there is a mattress that pulls out of the sofa. With this style the back of the couch stays put and the cushions are removed, allowing the mattress to unfold out of the lower part of the structure.

Granted, there are more important and exciting things to think about in life than sofa beds, but if you are already considering getting one for your house, then it's good to consider some of the more mundane aspects of these things. For example, you might find out what the underlying internal frame is made out of. Metal is stable but heavy. Wood is also stable and heavy, but not as much. How big is the sleeping surface? If it is too small then it will be nearly impossible to sleep comfortably on it. How thick is the mattress? Believe it or not, there are options. You can find thin, cheaper mattresses, but a nice 6" or even 8" mattress is much more comfortable.

So, convenience and comfort are some of the positives that sofa beds have going for them, but that isn't to say that there are not some down sides to think about too. The main thing is that these things still tend to be fairly heavy. If you know you are going to be moving around a lot, or you live up a lot of stairs, then there might be some better options for you. Over the years I've had the unfortunate opportunity to help friends and customers haul these monsters up a lot of stairs, and I can testify that they are no fun to move around.

Sofa beds have withstood the test of time. They have proven that they are not just a passing fad. They certainly serve an important role for many people. Grandma is coming over for a few days and your apartment doesn't have an extra bed. No problem. You don't have to feel bad offering her the sofa because you know what a good rest she is going to have. Grandma will be doing the funky chicken in the morning. Seriously though, if you think you might want one of these in your house or apartment, you should go for it.


4 Things To Consider Before Purchasing Bunk Beds

Bunk beds and loft beds provide a great solution for families looking to conserve space. They are typically used in kid's rooms to provide more space for kid's activities. Bunk beds make it possible for two kids to share a room or provide a built-in solution for sleepovers! Loft beds are supreme space-savers for kids dealing with a small room. Incorporating the bed with drawers, desks and sometimes even a trundle, loft beds leave the rest of the bedroom available for everything else.

You may think that bunk bed and loft bed designs are fairly standard. While they do often have a typical "look" to them, there are still hundreds of variations from which to choose. All bunk beds are not created equal, however, and buyers should do their homework in order to make a smart -- and safe purchase.


With the multiple layout and design options offered for bunk beds and loft beds, it is easy to fall in love with one. Most families need this bed to last many years, which is why it is important to take into consideration the bunk bed's functionality before making a purchase.

Is the bed big enough for a growing child? Many bunk beds offer designs that incorporate a full bed. Purchasing a bigger bunk bed will add years to its life. There are also different heights available on bunk beds. As long as the ceilings in the bedroom are not too low, purchasing the higher bunk bed will allow taller children and adults to sit comfortably on the bottom bunk. This also prolongs the life of the bunk bed.

Lastly, the theme or design makes a difference. The tent or princess-themed bed may look cute now, but if a family needs this bed to last the lifetime of the child at home, choosing a bunk bed with a simpler design may be a more prudent choice.

Product Recalls

As is true with all products purchased with kids in mind, it is always important to check for product recalls. Bunk beds and loft beds can be recalled for various reasons. Some have openings that can entrap small children and others may have faulty guardrails or ladders. Reputable dealers are aware of all product recalls, but it is still good as a consumer to do your homework. Before purchasing a bed, check with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to be sure the bunk bed has not been recalled.

Construction Method

Children are not gentle creatures. Bunk beds purchased for use in a child's room will have to withstand a lot of abuse. Considering the construction method of the bunk bed before purchasing can ensure the bed will remain safe.

The first rule of thumb is that wood bunk beds are typically safer than metal ones. This is because the metal ones tend to be wobbly, dent, rust and have a propensity for weak joints. A metal bunk bed may be cheaper, but it is not a good investment.

Even wooden beds have their issues, however. The heavier the wood, the safer the bunk bed. Screws and wing nuts also have a tendency to jostle loose over time. That is why it is important to look for a wooden bunk bed that has ample support braces to absorb some of the impact off the joints.

Cost of Shipping

Online furniture shopping is on the rise and can be a huge convenience because shoppers don't have to haul the bunk bed home themselves. Cost of shipping can be cost prohibitive, however. Before ordering online, check to see if the company offers free shipping or flat-rate shipping. Choosing an online dealer that offers free shipping can save hundreds of dollars off the cost of a bunk bed.


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