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What I wish someone would have told me before the emergency room

Let me first say that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but if someone would have told me some of these things, it may have saved us some dough and my kids some trauma.

`Tis a Flesh Wound

My son was jumping on the trampoline at my brother’€™s house. Bless their hearts, they made the effort to put the safety net around their trampoline. But, it was the metal stairs that lead up to the trampoline that my son cut his head on during a mad, three-kid-scramble to climb out. I was at work, my husband was at school, my sister-in-law did the right thing by calling us. Of course, we hurried over to their house to attend to our son. Although the cut wasn’t deep, it was bleeding a lot.

We took our five-year-old to the emergency room. By the time we arrived, the bleeding had stopped. We weren’€™t concerned about a concussion because my son was lucid and his pupils were their normal size, but we thought that stitches might be in order. When we finally saw the doctor, he informed us that head wounds tend to bleed a lot because there are a lot of capillaries near the surface. He said that the cut wasn’€™t deep or large enough to merit stitches. The doctor asked the nurse to put Neosporin on my kid’s head and sent us on our way. That was the most expensive tube of Neosporin ever!

Don’t Leave Home without your Pharmacy

Our other son tripped a couple weeks ago in the backyard and broke his arm.

Kids in Colorado are having a ball playing youth-friendly tennis

For young children, tennis was always a difficult proposition. The size of the court — 78 feet long, 36 feet wide (27 feet wide for the singles court) — was just too large. The rackets were too big, the balls too heavy and too bouncy. Most tennis players didn’t take up the game until their teenage years, when they were strong enough to handle the racket and athletic enough to cover the court.

But thanks to a retrofit of court sizes and new racket and ball technology, tennis has become a kid-friendly sport.

And in Colorado, tennis for young children has become all the rage.

More than 500 public and private tennis courts in the area have been “rezoned” in the past three years. Instead of 78 feet in length, the newly striped 10-and-younger, kid-friendly dimensions are 60 feet long and 21 feet wide. For kids 8 and younger, there are 36-foot courts on which to play. Lower-compression, orange-colored balls that weigh about half what a normal 56- to 59-gram yellow ball does are easier for kids to control, making for longer rallies. Lighter, smaller rackets also help elevate the quality of play among kids.

All of that has added up to about a 60 percent increase in participation among kids 10 and younger in Colorado’s United States Tennis Association tournaments since 2010. In 2013, there were 11,199 junior-age players registered with Colorado USTA, only the second time in history the number surpassed 11,000.

Instead of just one or two volleys on big, intimidating adult courts, kids now stay better engaged with much longer rallies on smaller courts. One look at some of the kids playing on the 60-foot courts last week at the Crestmoor Community Association, and it was obvious: These kids were having fun.

“I like hitting the orange balls better, because I feel like I can have more control over them,” said Luke O’Drobinak, 8, who was practicing with his 6-year-old brother, Liam.

Their father, Jon, wishes changes such as these had been made when he began playing tennis.

“I grew up playing with a full-size ball on a white concrete court with a cyclone fence,” Jon O’Drobinak said. “The only question I would have is how they transition to the regular ball, but as far as how they’re playing now and progressing, I couldn’t imagine it being any better. With the bigger ball, every other shot was going out. Now, they can have rallies. I mean, think about that: a 6-year-old having rallies!”

Leanne Palmisano has been teaching tennis for 25 years at Crestmoor. In the past couple of years, since the new dimensions and lighter balls have been added, participation among kids has soared, she said, as has the kids’ enjoyment of playing.

“They can play — have points and actually rally,” Palmisano said. “With the adult-size ball, the ball bounces so high that it goes over their head and they can never keep a rally going. What would happen was, they would stand around a lot and become bored. Now, this all just brings everything down to their size.”

The lighter balls and smaller courts were implemented in Europe about 15 years ago. That might help explain why young European players have generally advanced further and faster than Americans since.

“This group of kids that are transitioning with the new stuff, I see better stroke production, I see where they’re not afraid to hit the ball and really swing through the ball. I’m seeing a lot more parents even hitting with their kids, and having rallies,” Palmisano said. “The kids that dismissed (the newer dimensions and equipment) are still struggling with stroke production, because they swing a lot above their shoulders, because that’s where the ball was.”

The tighter dimensions are also bringing older people to the courts.

“It’s not just for kids. I’ve had some older ladies who never picked up a racket before coming in,” Palmisano said. “They don’t have to move so much on the newer court. I think the older-age divisions are going to start really picking it up too.”

But it’s the kids who are flocking to the courts.

“It’s just so much easier for them to learn now,” said Lisa Schaeffer, assistant executive director of Colorado USTA. “When I grew up, you spent more time chasing balls than actually hitting them.”

Tennis 2.0

A look at the new game of tennis, for kids 10 and younger.

New court size

60 feet long, instead of 78

21 feet wide, instead of 27

( For kids 8 and younger, 36-foot long court)


Red ball: For kids 8-and-younger, 23 percent larger than normal yellow tennis ball, 65 percent lighter. Bounces 75 percent lower than normal ball.

Orange ball: For kids age 9 and 10. Same size as normal yellow tennis ball, 50 percent lighter, bounces 30 percent lower.

Adrian Dater, Photo: Karl Gehring, The Denver Post

Loving ways you can help kids overcome their fears

“Mommy!! Monsters are under my bed!!”  Our creative and knowledge hungry preschoolers are constantly exploring, being exposed to new things and developing new skills. All of these exciting and new things are wonderful for development and can encourage a very active imagination.

However, these new things, ideas and images, combined with an active imagination can create fear and anxiety. Fears and anxiety in preschoolers are completely normal and can take anywhere from six- twelve months for them to be overcome.

Typically, your child’s fear will fit into one of these three categories:

1)    Specific Things- spiders, the dark, monsters in the room, the neighbor’s dog etc.

2)    New Situations- new daycare, new people, new events etc..

3)    Being Hurt- covering their “boo-boos,” being embarrassed when they receive even minor scrap or cut.

 Some children will immediately vocalize to you or another adult what they are feeling fearful of, whereas other children might be less vocal. If you notice your child having difficulty sleeping, sleeping too much, backtracking on potty training or a sudden increase of aggressive behavior these can be signs that a child is experiencing a new fear or feeling of anxiety.

Vela Adventures’ Fantastic Summer Day Camps…for Moms!

Confession: I was absolutely thrilled to send both my kids to overnight camp at YMCA of the Rockies’ Camp Chief Ouray this week…until I woke up in a funk the morning after dropping them off. While they were having the time of their lives, I literally stayed in my bathrobe all day and worked from my bed. My husband brought me breakfast, lunch and we ordered in for dinner.

It’s gonna be ugly when they leave for college.

 Fortunately, I had an outing scheduled the next day with Vela Adventures’ Camp Vela which catapulted me out of my gloom into a world of sunshine, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), lakeside yoga, gourmet food and new friendships! Why should children get to have all the fun?

Last summer, Vela Adventures’ co-founder Heather Fleck registered her kids for Avid4Adventure’s camps. “They were going rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking,” said Heather. “I was happy for them but I wanted to go, too!”

Thus Vela Adventures was borne. Heather teamed up with Kelly Kocher and together they run these all-inclusive Denver- and Boulder-area adventures that empower women to try new things by getting out of their comfort zone. The adventures are planned between 9 a.m.-2 p.m.ish–perfect for moms while their kids are at summer camp or during the school year.

Every adventure makes you feel like a VIP and for once, you don’t need to do a stitch of the planning. From a horseback riding and spa party to whitewater rafting and wine tasting, Heather and Kelly make sure every detail is perfect.

velaadventuresI signed up for the stand-up paddleboard, yoga and beach party. A few days before the event, I was emailed a form where I submitted my juice/coffee choices for breakfast and lunch options. Upon arriving at Chatfield State Park, they had already paid for everyone’s entrance fees and we met with our certified SUP professional Effie who showed us the ropes. Or rather, the boards, paddles and strokes.

It was my fourth time on a SUP but the first time I’d received actual instruction. Buoyed up with confidence, I sailed across the lake as I drafted off the sultry breeze. With the light wind came the rhythmic wash of white caps, which had caused panic in the past but I quickly learned to smoothly navigate these luminous blooms. All the ladies quickly bonded in the supportive, non-competitive setting and when we eventually paddled back to shore, we were greeted with healthy snacks, cold drinks, towels and sunscreen.

Next it was onto a relaxing Hatha Yoga session. Full disclosure: I do not like yoga, nor do I find it relaxing. But between our soothing instructor Bonnie, the staggering mountain backdrop and our lakeside setting under a cottonwood tree that traced lacy patterns in the sky, I didn’t think of dying even once. For a previous yoga hater, that my friends, is progress. I even echoed her “Namaste” at the end and almost believed it.

lunchPerhaps what I appreciated the most about my Camp Vela experience was their attention to details. The water bottles and fresh towels on our yoga mats. The gourmet boxed lunches from Whole Foods, the fresh flower centerpieces and the logo-monogrammed linen napkins and tablecloth. The champagne toast and thank-you cards as we were leaving. And not to be forgotten was our very own ice cream truck with out-of-this-world flavors from Coaches Scoop Frozen Dessert.

Vela Adventures ain’t your children’s summer camp. Nor would you want it to be.


Camp Vela will be in Boulder July 15 – July 18, 2014. You may purchase single-day outings or the entire four-day week package for a $40 discount.
Tues., July 15, Longmont
Standup Paddleboard/Yoga/Beach Party
Wed., July 16, Boulder
Whitewater Tubing & Beer Tasting
Thurs., July 17, Boulder
Mountain Biking & Painting
Fri., July 18, Longmont
Outdoor Archery & Spa Party
To learn more and reserve your spot go to

How to ensure your child’s safety at camp: preventing sexual abuse

You’re gearing up for summer activities and you’ve enrolled your kids in overnight camp. You’re excited and your child is excited. How can you do your best to ensure your child’s safety at camp?

Parents have two primary prevention strategies for reducing the risk of child sexual abuse:  1) Screening caregivers and 2) Teaching kids body-safety rules. While it’s ultimately an adult’s responsibility to protect children through screening caregivers, parents can’t be with children at all times. Here are four body-safety rules for a child/teen who is heading off to summer camp:

7 ideas to get outdoors with your kids this summer!

As a wee Canadian lassie, I have marvelous summertime memories of water fights, snuggling up by the fire with my cousins on camping trips and endless explorations (not to mention getting lost in a quite a few of them thanks to my hilarious-yet-directionally-impaired Aunt Sue).

Awkward: me. Not awkward: hiking Glacier National Park.

My awkward self at Glacier National Park.

Now that I’m a mom, I realize my family gave me a tremendous gift by encouraging us to have active outdoor fun and I want to pass this onto my own kids.

That’s why Mile High Mamas is thrilled to partner with the OFF!® brand in celebrating National Get Outdoors Day on June 14,th as well as Great Outdoors Month, which supports outdoor fun throughout the month of June.

There are events across the U.S., and the free event at City Park will have four interactive villages where you can fish, bike, climb, garden, dance, explore and play! While the Outdoor Adventure Village gives visitors the chance to paddle, canoe, and cast a line into the fishing pond, the Expressive Arts Village allows attendees to draw, paint, make music, plant gardens and learn about urban farming.

getoutdoorsBut wait, there’s more! The United Healthcare BodyWalk Village lets family members learn about healthy and active lifestyle choices and you can try out new outdoor activities at the Adaptive Recreation Village such as bicycling on a hand-pedal bike and fishing with an adaptive fishing rod.

Mile High Mamas will be there, as well. Be sure to join us at the OFF!® brand tent for OFF! Deep Woods® Insect Repellent Towelettes samples, outdoor-themed giveaways, fun facts, a photo booth (think: crazy fun!) and tips for protecting yourself against mosquitoes and ticks during the buggy summer season. Enter to win a prize basket filled with essentials for outdoor exercise, complete with a copy of fellow nature-lover and Bachelorette alum Trista Sutter’s new book, “Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart,” signed by Trista herself.

All activities and events are from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and are free for all ages. To learn more about the National Get Outdoors Day celebration at Denver City Park (E. 17th Ave. and Colorado Blvd., Denver), visit: Also check out;  and


Local Ideas

aspenDo you want to spend more time in the outdoors this summer? You’re not alone! The OFF!® brand found in a recent national survey that nearly all Americans (97 percent) think it’s important to spend time outside, but almost three-quarters of Americans wish they could spend more time outdoors.

Denver is an outdoor mecca. In Jefferson County alone, there are 53,000 acres that include 28 regional parks and a trail system that spans 227 miles.

That’s a whole lot of outdoor fun. Here are some ideas to get outdoors:

Let this summer be the one for outdoor fun and remember: #TheOutdoorsMissesYou!

Mile High Mamas is partnering with the OFF!® brand on this campaign. All opinions expressed are our own. Stay tuned for the fun details of National Get Outdoors Day as well as a giveaway.


Children’s Hospital sees surge in kids accidentally eating marijuana

The number of children coming into Colorado’s largest pediatric emergency department after accidentally eating marijuana is on pace to more than double last year’s total.

Michael DiStefano, the medical director of the Children’s Hospital Colorado emergency department, said nine kids so far this year have been brought into the hospital for accidental marijuana ingestion. Of those, seven were admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit — most commonly for what DiStefano said was either extreme sedation or agitation. One of those kids had breathing problems that required a respirator, DiStefano said.

Most of the children admitted are between 3 and 7 years old, DiStefano said.

Last year, the hospital saw eight children in its emergency room who accidentally ate marijuana. Between 2005 and 2013, only eight children were admitted at the hospital for unintentional marijuana ingestion, DiStefano said.

Though the numbers are still small compared to the total patient load, DiStefano said the patients at Children’s are just one slice of what hospitals across the state are seeing.

“It is important to stop it before it becomes a huge problem,” he said.

DiStefano spoke Wednesday after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill attempting to do just that.

The new law, formerly known as House Bill 1366, requires state regulators to come up with rules that make edible marijuana products identifiable even when they are out of their packaging. Lawmakers suggested the products might all contain a unique stamp or be made in a particular shape or color.

At Wednesday’s bill signing, held in the lobby of Children’s Hospital, Rep. Frank McNulty criticized marijuana businesses for making edible products that resemble candy or other treats — things that he said would naturally appeal to kids.

“Marijuana edibles are dangerous in the hands of kids,” said McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican who was one of the new law’s sponsors in the legislature. “That has become all too familiar to the people who work here are Children’s Hospital.”

The edibles bill was one of six different bills Hickenlooper signed at the ceremony Wednesday. Other bills put regulations on the amount of marijuana concentrate that stores can sell, create programs designed to reduce prescription drug abuse and collect data on school immunization rates.

One bill creates a $10 million grant program to help scientists research the medically efficacy and safety of marijuana.

Hickenlooper said the bills “are critical to our ongoing goal of making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation and our constant goal of protecting our children.”

John Ingold

Sensory Processing Disorder: Joshua’s Story and the STAR Center’s Treament

Joshua’s Story

 “I felt helpless because I couldn’t tell other people (including the school) what to do to help Joshua because I didn’t know myself. It is heartbreaking to find out that your child has SPD and not have any idea what to do about it.  Very quickly I went from wondering if I was just a bad parent to knowing that I was completely inadequate to deal with the new reality and not knowing where to look to find the answers.”

                      –Joshua’s Mom

Joshua was withdrawn, prone to outbursts of anger, reluctant to try new things and had communication challenges. Joshua’s mom searched online and found the STAR Center whose therapy program was pioneered as an intensive model… so kids progress faster.    

 What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Sensory Processing Disorder affects 1 in 20 children, which is approximately one child in every classroom. Sadly, misdiagnosis is common because many health care professionals are not trained to recognize sensory issues.

 The symptoms of SPD vary greatly depending upon the sense that is affected, how that sense is affected, and the severity of the condition. People with SPD misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, sound, and movement. They may feel bombarded by information, they may seek out intense sensory experiences, or they may be unaware of sensations that others feel. They may have feeding and weight/growth difficulties. They may also have sensory-motor symptoms such as a weak body, clumsiness or awkwardness or delayed motor skills.

Joshua’s Therapy

The therapist at the STAR Center spent a lot of time pushing Joshua’s social limits. She engaged him in a lot of play that forced him to learn to negotiate, listen to other people’s ideas and compromise. She also worked on helping him translate his thoughts into more articulate language so that he would be able to communicate better with others. She didn’t punish Joshua for his misbehavior. She mentored him and tried to help him analytically understand the different outcomes of his behavior.  This usually led him to self-correction and it was amazing to watch him grow through this process.  

“I have seen Joshua emerge socially in his awareness of his surroundings (no more talking in front of him because he actually listens and responds now).  It seems like his intellect has also been unlocked and he is chatty and interested in everything. He seems confident about going to school.  He is more articulate in his speech (ie. he is able to tell me what he wants or thinks) and doesn’t seem so reluctant to try new things.  And he is fun!!!  He hasn’t been that in a while. Before therapy, I would have never known what to do and I certainly would have gone to bed feeling like a complete failure as a parent.  Thank you for giving me the tools to overcome all of that. It was an absolutely incredible experience! ” 

 starcenterSTAR Center, a Colorado 501(c)(3), is the premier treatment center for children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder, feeding disorders, and other sensory issues associated with other conditions such as ADHD, autism, and a wide variety of additional developmental disorders. Mile High Mamas has partnered with Star Center on this promotion. | 303.221.7827

Greeley oil and gas driller backs down after parents’ fury

An oil and gas industry proposal to drill 19 wells within 900 feet of an elementary school in Greeley ignited such parent fury that company officials on Monday backed down.

Mineral Resources Inc. officials said withdrawing their application to drill by the Frontier Academy school is an example of listening to community concerns.

They made their decision as state regulators are investigating recent fires and explosions at industry storage tanks northeast of Denver — including one last week near a different elementary school.

“We’re grateful. Now our children are safe,” said Trisha Golding, head of the Frontier Parents’ Group, who pressed their case Thursday with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director Matt Lepore.

“And we’re not going to rest until this city and schools make sure this doesn’t happen again behind our school or any other school,” Golding said.

The showdown began this month when parents found out about the project. Colorado last year made a rule requiring 1,000-foot buffer zones around schools and hospitals.

But Mineral Resources had proposed drilling KEEP READING

Child abuse data website now accessible to the public

Colorado has created a website that provides the public with child-protection and child-abuse data for each county, making the state one of four in the nation to make such information accessible to the public.

The creation of the website is one part of a series of reforms in Colorado after news reports on problems with the state’s child-protection system by The Denver Post and 9News.

“At the end of the day, the goal is to be transparent with the public and to keep our families safe and healthy,” said Julie Krow, the director of the Office of Youth and Families in the Colorado Department of Human Services. “This is something we can’t do alone. We need our community to help us.”

California, Arizona and Iowa are the other states with similar websites available to the public.

Colorado’s website,, provides county-level data on child-abuse referrals, instances of child abuse and how many children are reunified with their families after being placed in foster care. Other tracked information includes instances when children are removed from troubled families, caseworker visitation rates, child fatalities, types of maltreatment, and timeliness of responses to allegations of abuse.

“This is a strong effort to increase transparency,” Krow said.

The website, which the state created in partnership with the University of Kansas, required an initial investment of about $390,000, Krow said. Ongoing maintenance costs are minimal, she said.

The website allows comparisons that show how a county is performing in contrast to the rest of the state or to another county. Information also can be sorted by age, gender and race, and by the state’s judicial districts.

Krow said county child- protection officials can use the data to see how they are doing compared with their peers in the state. If those officials see one county excelling in certain areas, they can reach out to the other county to find out how to make improvements, she said.

Already, before the data became public, the state has been reviewing it to make improvements, Krow said. She said that over the past year, the state sought to improve response times for reviewing and investigating child-abuse allegations. The counties now meet time standards nearly 90 percent of the time — up from 50 percent, she said.

The website drew praise from Stephanie Villafuerte, the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, an advocacy organization.

“Now we can talk about the facts,” she said. “We can talk about the numbers and statistics and talk about all that as opposed to just talking about anecdotes. I think that this is a brand-new day.”

Colorado officials launched the website the same month they announced they had spent nearly $1 million to arm child-protection workers with new laptops, smartphones and computer tablets to help them become more efficient. The state also plans to have a new child-abuse hotline up and running by January. Efforts also are underway to overhaul the system for training child-protection workers and mandatory child-abuse reporters.

The investigative reports by The Post and 9News in 2012 found caseworkers often made mistakes in their paperwork or when doing safety assessments and safety plans for at-risk families. In more than half of the child-abuse deaths reviewed during a six-year period, caseworkers did not follow state policy regarding how to investigate abuse and neglect allegations, according to an analysis of state child-fatality reviews done by the news organizations.

Christopher N. Osher