This post was sponsored by Empowered SAFETY
With my first child, I was really concerned about safety issues. Possibly even too concerned. I’ve always been a bit of a hypochondriac about my own health. I am a master catastrophizer, and having a child was just a new place to project some of that anxiety. I have been gifted with an overactive imagination, coupled with a propensity towards gloom and doom. This fatalistic creativity has led me to be a bit, ahem, DELUSIONALLY PARANOID, when it comes to the health of my children.
As a therapist, I get the gift of being able to diagnose my own mental illness, yet not always the ability to treat it. I know that my thinking is often irrational, and I know that it stems from some traumatic events in my own life (miscarriages, an earthquake, dramatic adoption waits, a husband being hit by a car, etc.) I spent several years feeling like every child we had was destined to be taken away from us.If I was really honest, I think I even fear that my biological children narrowly escaped the fate of the other pregnancies we lost, and that any moment her own miraculous life will be taken away, too.
I know that the details of my situation is unique, but I think many of us share some crippling fears about the health and development of our children. Since mine were born, I have stressed over every minor illnesses and/or deviation from the "typical" developmental milestones. I will also confess that I have spent a ridiculous amount of time googling symptoms, and crying at the computer as I diagnose rare and deadly diseases that I am sure my child has. Light colored poop? Must be liver failure. A fever and a rash? Sounds like smallpox. Since my kids were born, I have been convinced that they were afflicted with:
spinal meningitis (bad fever)
malaria (we went to Mexico and then they caught a bug)
autism (my two year old is ignoring me!)
sensory processing disorder (why is she covering her ears at that noise??)
hepatitis A (tan poop)
measles (a rash!)
mumps (a rash!)
rubella (another rash!)
torticolis (head fell to same side when sleeping)
hydrocephaly (genitically large cranium)
intestinal failure (too much food in the poop)
heart defect (feet turned blue when cold)
This list could go on, but I'll spare you the WebMD details.
(A scrape Jafta sustained on a bike ride, that nearly turned into a life-threatening infection IN MY OWN MIND.)
Unfortunately, this propensity towards predicting disaster isn’t limited to health issues. I’ve also been insanely paranoid that my kids would fall victim to some sort of tragedy surrounding a product defect . . . a rogue car seat that would fail in an accident, or a window cord that could become a choking hazard, or a stuffed animal whose eye could fall off and cause a choking incident. I spent a lot of time googling the products in our home and reading websites dedicated to reporting every possible safety hazard that posed a risk to children. It was informative but it also fueled some of my obsessive nature around potential tragedy.
My anxiety is something I may always deal with, but I have tried really hard to change my thinking and behavior patterns and not “go there” with every possibility. But in doing so, I also swung the pendulum a little too far to the other side. I banned myself from web-diagnosing my children in favor of going to the doctor – which is good. I also stopped visiting websites that report product defects or child safety hazards. This was good for my sanity, but it also kept me out of the loop of potential problems that I really should be informed about.
This month, I was introduced to a new service that I think is the perfect way to stay abreast of safety issues without getting bogged down with an overload of information that becomes overwhelming. Empowered SAFETY is a subscription service that monitors safety issues that are relevant to your child, and then sends them in an easy-to-digest email that avoids the information overload of trying to monitor all of this information across the internet. Empowered SAFETY montitors four key areas:
Empowered SAFETY monitors actual consumer complaints and tracks product and food recalls and warnings to government agencies. They also monitor news reports, legal filings, press releases, chat rooms, blog postings, and federal and state agency websites for outbreaks and health alerts.
Here’s how it works: first, you register your children. That way, the news feed shows information specific to your child’s age and gender. Then, you can register the products you own, so you can get alerts if there have been any consumer complaints or official recalls for the products you own. There can be hundreds of complaints made to government agencies about child-specific products before a recall is issued. Empowered SAFETY is the only service to alert consumers of these complaints prior to a recall being issued, so you can make informed decisions about the items you own.
Empowered SAFETY also monitors your state so that you can keep appraised of any food recalls or health issues that are state-specific. Their filtering and algorithms are designed so that you only receive information that is relevant to your own location, child's age and registered products.
I really like this service because, for me, it cuts through the noise and delivers the safety information that is important and relevant to me in an easy-to-digest format. I don’t have to go searching, and I don’t get stuck in a rabbit-trail of researching potential catastrophes online. I can relax and know that Empowered Safety will alert me if there is something I need to be concerned about in these areas.
If you want to try Empowered SAFETY , they have generously offered a free 28 day trial to my readers with the code ES28DAY96. This expires the last day of November, so if you want to try it, now is the time! They are also offering one lucky winner a six-month Premium Plus Membership plan for free. The value of each six-month plan is $149.94 each. Use the rafflecopter below to enter, and then leave a comment on how this service could benefit you. Good luck!