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Debra Holtzman, Child Safety and Health Expert

Debra Holtzman, Child Safety and Health Expert

When it comes to baby and child safety, I’m certain that over-40 moms reinvented the hamster wheel of eternal paranoia.

When my son was born just before I turned 42, I was so protective he could have moonlighted as the understudy for The Boy In The Plastic Bubble (with John Travolta, 1976) over the ensuing years.

I was plagued with what seemed to be irrational fears about electrical outlets, crib bars, sharp teeth on small pets and things that went squeak in the night.

It would be nearly 7 years later before I learned that I belonged to a sorority of angst-tormented midlife mothers.

One recently told me that having a baby after forty was like growing a third arm and spending the rest of your life trying to figure out what to do with it.

Then last weekend at the Celebrating Midlife Mother’s Day 2010 pre-launch party, I met the older mom who crammed it in a nutshell for the rest of us:

“We’re so frightened about child safety” she said, “because we’ve been around long enough to know things can—and do—go wrong.”

If that’s the case, Debra Holtzman, Child Safety and Health Expert (http://www NULL.thesafetyexpert NULL.com NULL./)—and author of The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Health Living (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/159181085X?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=159181085X)—has to be our go-to gal for a midlife mom fear-reduction.

Or better yet, a wet dream for the parentally paranoid.

Holtzman—who who has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows from The Today Show to Dateline NBC—became “passionate” about teaching child safety when she found her toddler son ready to tuck in to a bottle of Grandpa’s heart medicine.

Although it was a close call, Holtzman, who is also a practicing attorney, says she’s been “saddened many times over the years to meet and speak to parents who have lost a child to an accidental injury.”

As honorary co-chair of the Florida Safe Kids Coalition (http://www NULL.safekids NULL.org/in-your-area/coalitions/list NULL.html?state=FL&localstate=FL), and safety educator at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, FL—and also serving as official safety expert for Discovery Health Channel’s “Make Room for Baby”—it’s safe to say that child-safety is Debra Holtzman’s mission.

I admit there was a moment—cherry-picking through her book from titles like “treat the cooking area like a danger zone,” to “learn to recognize the signs of rabies”—I had a paranoid surge.

What? It’s worse than I actually thought?

The virtual smorgasbord of risks and hazards from home to the eternity of the outside world transforms baby’s cotton crawling blanket into a toxic gas-drenched WWI battlefield.

How is it than any of them are making it out alive?

Here Holtzman is reassuring—“My book does offer some [accident] statistics, but if solutions were not provided, the result would be fear.

“I prefer to highlight what parents can do to keep their children safe in every aspect of their lives” she continues.

In her classes and public speaking engagements, Holtzman says that, while traditionally mothers over 40 “have additional fears,”, the younger generation is fast catching up.

She claims that all mothers today are extremely concerned about the safety and quality of children’s products and other household items.

“With the recent recalls of cribs and toys, and other chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA)… parents have lost confidence in our system of safety checks.”

Holtzman emphasizes that, over 2 years writing  her book, she “interviewed parents, grandparents, representatives from governmental agencies, doctors, nurses and various safety and health groups to get the latest information.”

When I told her that I was almost overwhelmed by the sheer volume of risks and safety precautions in her book, Holtzman gave it to me straight.

“Parents have always been overloaded with advice, some of it based on old wives tales.”

“My book empowers you to know what to do and what not to do—now you can hear advice from Uncle Charlie or Aunt Louise, smile sweetly, say thanks, then go do what is best for your child.”

And then I got it!

For my generation, The Safe Baby is like The Joy of Cooking, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex, But Where Afraid to Ask, or the original  “Whatever for Dummies.”

It’s the bible of its genre that you read, stock in full view on the reference bookshelf, and thank the lady who wrote it for helping you sleep at night.

Notes for this blog:

Debra Holtzman, Child Safety and Health Expert

Visit her online at: www.TheSafetyExpert.com (http://www NULL.thesafetyexpert NULL.com/).

Debra has a law degree, an M.A. in occupational health and safety and a B.A in communications. She is a certified child passenger safety technician and a CPR Instructor.

Debra was named an “Every Day Hero” by Reader’s Digest and a “Woman Making a Difference” by Family Circle Magazine and has written three published books and penned numerous articles for parenting resources and websites.

She currently lives in South Florida with my husband, Robert; son, Adam; daughter Laura; and dog, Rocky.

Click here for further information on the Celebrating Midlife Mother’s Day 2010 tribute. Also, visit the main site at http://www.achildafter40.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/) from 11th April for the launch of the campaign.

One Response to Taking The ‘Maybe’ Out of Baby Safety

  1. Ellen Besso (http://www NULL.ellenbesso NULL.com/midlifemaze) says:

    Angel: Excellent post. I can only imagine how, with the wisdom of a few extra years, older moms would worry. It’s true about knowing what can go wrong. I wasn’t an older Mom, but because I lost my 1st baby, as you know, I could vie for the ‘Planet’s Biggest Worrier Award’(she’s 29 now & I still have to just put the dangers out of my mind!).

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