Category Archives: Kid Safety

Marble Boy

As I type today’s post I am waiting for a surgeon somewhere in the southern region of NSW, to call us back to tell is they can deal with this….

Yep, that’s a marble sitting in the wee mans stomach, and it’s been there ten days. Hasn’t moved one way or the other.

Now I don’t want to get into the saga that our local health providers have put us through, let’s just say the complaint letter will be long, about as long as the wait for hospital admission.

He ate the marble at preschool, another thing that we’re very pleased about. Yeah.

Have your kids eaten anything they shouldn’t have? How long before it came out again?

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Kid Safety, Rants & Stuff, The Kids

iMax-ed out…

Everyone always asks me about my car. What do I drive that can carry all these kids, it must be a bus? Until two years ago it was, we had a Toyota HiAce minibus, a huge beast that could fit nowhere but could carry a dozen people. Upgrade time came along and we decided we needed a safer vehicle, given the travel we do. Now remember I am writing about my particular model of iMax which is a 2012, they may have changed a few things by now with the newer ones.

The good stuff about it…

It is safer, air bags in all the usual places, and an engine and bonnet between me and the world. Because previously the engine was under my seat. The size of the boot (or trunk) is massive. It looks nice, everyone comments on it. It seats eight, and I’ve seen some models with a ninth seat in the front. It can fit in most car parks, mini bus drivers will appreciate that. You don’t have to get out of the car for mcdonalds, yay drive through lanes I can fit in! Reversing sensors are great and probably compulsory when driving a rectangle vehicle.

Technology, it talks to my iPhone, love that. I can make/answer calls from the dash without touching the phone. I can listen to my playlists, and get siri to do my bidding. Separate climate control for the rear if you want, or you can flick it over and the kids can’t change it. The front row of seats are comfy and lots of leg room, there is two glove boxes and cup holders. Huge pockets in all doors which hold a lot of crap, I mean books/drink bottles/toys. Cup holders for the back row too. It’s price isn’t bad for the size of vehicle you get either, especially compared to similar vehicles at the time. Servicing only has to be done every 15,000kms instead of ten.

And the bad stuff…

Big big HUGE blind spots, you can lose a whole intersection behind the windscreen pillars. You will need to lean forward and look around them at roundabouts. And don’t get me started on what you can’t see behind you.

Baby seat anchorage points are limited to the middle row, a pain in the arse given the new laws mean more kiddy carseats for longer. And its very hard to do the seat belts up once you have the carseats in place, I am still swapping my kids seats around trying to work out a good configuration a year later. Oh and you enter the rear seat by moving the whole middle row, so if you have a few seats that the seat belt goes through as well as the anchor, be prepared to have to redo the belt through the back of the kiddy seat every time.

While not a big deal, colours are limited. We had a choice of silver, silvery blueish, black and white. I am still yet to own a red car. If you are thinking of getting the fitted floor mats, don’t bother because they catch up under the chair runners which are constantly in use, even though they velcro to the floor. You will get the shits with them and take them out in a week trust me, so glad the car yard threw those in because at two hundred bucks a set I’d have been annoyed. The petrol version is a bit gutless with a full load, and can’t tow anything bigger than a trailer. The rear window openers, a pop and prop open deal, which cracks them open well just a crack. Which is what I expected on a van as we’ve had them before, I didn’t expect them to rattle so much I’m scared to drive with them open, the dealer says he fixed it. Uh huh. I know I know a rattle isn’t a big deal, but it does sound like the window is going to fall off. And another reason we went for a van instead of another mini bus was noise, you simply cannot have a conversation in a diesel mini bus, this means children get louder too.

There are so many tiny things that irritate me about this car, I could write pages, little things like there is no handle for the front passenger to pull themselves up into the car as there is for the driver. The aircon seemingly has only two settings, hot and cold. But even though I’ve said all this, I still love the car, simply because it is decidedly better than any other car we’ve ever owned, but remember we owned a Kia that the engine died in before getting to 100,000kms. So you know, for comparisons sake I’ve got some low starting standards.

UPDATE: Come November 2013, I smashed it. My beautiful black mummy van with the dark windows was no more. I now have a silver one, the same colour everyone else in town bought too, last week I stood in the supermarket car park trying to open someone else’s van. Children have accidentally jumped into the backseat at school pick up, thinking it’s their mums van, I think I need some kind of big sticker down the side of it.

You will be pleased to know it took the head on hit very well, I wasn’t injured nor where the small men in the back. Written off, our insurer gave us a new one. So, we now have a new model and it has only a few differences (a few buttons inside are different), but the squeaks remain and here I was happy about finally sorting that rattle issue. And this particular van has more glitches (more than the old one, my reversing sensors don’t work in the cold weather) that again nobody can find on service days, can you believe it ūüėČ

So in a couple of years we will part with this van, hey Toyota have you got a 4WD people mover on the cards anytime soon?

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Kid Safety, Rants & Stuff, Reviews

Finally I’ve got the kid contained!

Does anyone remember how hard a time I had a year ago trying to keep Henry (Future Dark Overlord) in his seat belt? ¬†Fast forward a year and his evil apprentice Charlie is doing the same thing, I’ve spent a small fortune trying to keep these kids strapped into the car properly. ¬†We were pulled over by the local constabulary recently, and there was Charlie pulling his arms out ready to get out and meet the nice policeman. Our excuse that he’d only done this as the car stopped was not bought. ¬†A lecture on the safety of children in cars followed, I didn’t have to balls to tell the officer that I had considered gaffa taping the kid to the chair in the name of safety, the kid is just that hard to keep in his seat.

So my search for a device to keep them in seats resumed, I happened upon the Houdini Stop.


It is a simple yet sturdy little addition to the baby seat belt, and Charlie is yet to work out how to get it off – hurrah! ¬†He does try to try to wiggle his arms out through the now much smaller neck hole, but a tightening of the seat straps sorts that out. ¬†Job done. ¬†No places to catch little fingers, no damage or modification to the baby car seat. ¬†I needed this thing years ago! ¬†That kid is going nowhere, I can put away the gaffa tape ūüėČ ¬†I don’t think I need to say much more than that, just that it works, oh and that they are available in Australia at Baby Bunting and Pram Warehouse for around twenty dollars.

Another clever device the Houdini Stop people have come up with are Houdini Locks, made specifically for poosplosions! ¬†I think we’ve all had one at least one morning when you are woken by the aroma, not of brewing coffee but a poo storm, the result of a removed nappy and walls painted brown by your baby. ¬†Houdini Locks are little clips designed to help prevent baby ripping off their disposable nappies, they’re also good for doing up a nappy when you have accidentally ripped the whole velcro tab thing off when putting on a new one (I do this all the time!).

Thanks to the lovely people at Houdini Stop I have a set of Houdini Locks to give away, just comment below to go into the draw.  Drawn on 12/3/12


Disclaimer: I received a free product sample from Houdini Stop in order to road test and write this review.


Filed under Babies, Giveaways, Kid Safety, Reviews

Kid proofing the kitchen, with a wooden gate.

In 2006 I moved into our new house with a pregnant wife and two children, since then our family has grown to 6 children. The open design of this house looks great but is a nightmare as far as keeping the children out of the kitchen. I was faced with a problem as the walkway into the kitchen was over 1 metre wide and there was no commercially available kid safe gate wide enough to block the walkway.

One day I visited my brother’s house and noticed that he had built a picket fence style gate for his back veranda that leads down to a 3 metre set of stairs. I got some engineering advice from my brother and got down to designing my own gate.

One of the important things to consider when using timber is, the stronger the gate is the heavier it will be and the stronger the hinges and mounting bases will have to be to handle the weight. At first I attached the metal gate hinges to a narrow strip of timber that was screwed into the chip board of the kitchen bench. This worked for a while till one of my evil toddlers climbed the gate and it pulled out of the kitchen bench. I fixed this by reinforcing the gate mount with a narrow strip of timber on the inside and outside of the kitchen bench. I replaced the wood screws with three large bolts that went all the way through. The bolts were anchored with washers and nuts.

While the two kitchen benches on the sides of the walkway looked like they lined up they were out of line by about 5cm. I had to make a raised timber mounting plate to line the latch bolt to the catch squarely.

Tools used:

#Electric mitre saw or docking saw

#Set square

#tape measure

#hand saw


Timber (pine) sizes used:

1000mm x 90mm x 35mm x 2 rails (top and bottom)

1050mm x 90mm x 35mm cross brace

800mm x 40mm x 20mm x 11 pickets

800mm x 40mm x 20mm x 2 hinge mount reinforcement strips. 

With a quick paint the gate was ready for use. This gate has been in use now for two years and is still keeping the toddlers at bay.

Written by Mr Candy’s Family.

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Filed under How To, Kid Safety, Mr Candy's Family