National Youth Sports Safety Month

Well it’s springtime, and if you house is anything like mine, spring sports or even practices for summer sports, are in full swing.  Seems like perfect timing for April to be designated as National Youth Sports Safety Month.  Many studies have shown the true benefit to children playing organized sports.  But, one main concern involving children’s sports is always safety and preventing injury.

Injuries can range anywhere from serious injuries like bone breaks, concussions and dehydration to small things such as blisters.  Many parents tell us that our SmartKnitKIDS socks help to cut down on rubbing, irritation and blisters and make especially great soccer socks, as well as socks to wear under ice skating or horse riding boots!  Who knew?!  Actually, it makes perfect sense because the moisture wicking properties in SmartKnitKIDS socks help to cut down on rubbing and irritation caused by moisture.  The completely seamless nature of our socks eliminate other sources of irritation and pressure points.  Our socks are actually great at helping to prevent these small injuries from occurring keeping your kiddos active and in the game.

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Our team at SmartKnitKIDS encourages kids to get active and be involved in youth sports.  It’s a great way to build confidence, develop teamwork and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  And even though our socks can prevent the blisters, it’s important to remember the following things to prevent the serious injuries from occurring.

  1. Get a Pre-Participation Physical Exam – Most school organized sports will require children to receive these physicals before participating. They are a great way to help diagnose any medical conditions that may put your child at risk.  Many sports for younger children don’t require a physical in order to participate, but it doesn’t hurt to mention to your pediatrician any sports or physical activities your child will be playing.
  2. Develop a Hydration Culture – Always send your child to practice with plenty of water – especially during the hotter months. Make sure your child is well hydrated before arriving at practice, and that coaches are allowing frequent hydration breaks throughout practice.stock-photo-14296124-soccer-player-drinking-water
  3. Stretch Before Practicing – A good warmup before practices or games will help keep muscles loose and prevent tears or sprains. Always build in plenty of time for warm up into any practice and arrive early prior to games in order to warm up.livestrong.comImage from livestrong.com
  4. Develop an Off Season – Children are children and it’s important not to push them too hard or let them push themselves too hard either. Most sports medicine specialists recommend 10 consecutive weeks of rest from any one sport in a year’s time.
  5. Wear the Right Gear – Each child should wear all appropriate safety gear (helmets, shin guards, mouth guards, cups, shoulder pads, knee pads, etc.) for both practices and games. Ensure that the gear is the right size and is being worn correctly to prevent injury.omaha.comImage from Omaha.com
  6. Don’t Forget Sunscreen – Whenever you are outdoors for longer periods of time, sunscreen is definitely in order. Many stores will carry sweat proof sunscreen specifically designed for sports.  Remember that the sun can be damaging even when cloudy or even when the temperature is cool.  And, make sure to rub some on the whole family, not just the athlete.
  7. Be Prepared for Minor or Major Emergencies – At least one coach or parent volunteer should be certified in first aid or CPR. Keep a first aid kit and cell phone handy with your sports equipment.  Make sure you know the address of where you’re at in case you need to relay that information to an ambulance.  Be able to recognize the signs of dehydration or concussion.
  8. Eat a Healthy Diet – Grabbing some chicken nuggets from the McDonald’s drive through on the way to a game is sometimes necessarily convenient for many parents. But, make an effort to feed your child foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, as well as lean protein which will help build muscles.  Carbohydrates in moderation are a good fuel for right before a game or practice, but avoid foods high in sugar or fat.healthy food
  9. Get Adequate Sleep – Sleep allows your body to refuel – something that is always important, but especially so when playing sports. Got an early Saturday morning game?  Make sure the kids get in bed early on Friday night so they will get enough sleep.  Children should get the following based on their age:
  • 3 to 6 year olds: 10 to 12 hours
  • 7 to 12 year olds: 10 to 11 hours
  • 12 to 18 year olds: 8 to 9 hours

With that SmartKnitKIDS wishes all of our young athletes a successful season!  Play hard, Stay safe and healthy, and Do your best!

** Disclaimer – Not to take the place of medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor about health concerns.

Bugsley Bucks for Autism Awareness Month

Nearly 25 years ago, the Autism Society designated the month of April as Autism Awareness Month.  What they began was a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all.  Today, the prevalence of autism is 1 in every 88 American children.

SmartKnitKIDS works every day in manufacturing products that help children with sensory differences. Many children with autism also have these sensory issues and therefore, irritations like clothing seams can feel like big irritations to these kids.  SmartKnitKIDS socks are seamless, leaving nothing to irritate sensitive feet and toes.  The form-fitting design gives children’s feet a gentle “hug”, which provides closeness and gentle pressure that are soothing to children.  SmartKnitKIDS uses this same technology and design in a host of other products for kids with sensory issues, including Big Kids SocksKids UndiesCompresso T, and Bralette.

SmartKnitKIDS believes in spreading awareness of the condition, as well as celebrating the amazing individuals that live with autism daily. To celebrate these great kiddos, we are offering one amazing deal on SmartKnitKIDS and Big Kids products.  For any purchases made in the month of April that are at least $25*, SmartKnit will send you a Bugsley Bucks card in your order.  The Bugsley Bucks cards will then work like cash on a single purchase made between May 1 and June 15.

$25 – $49.99 Spent = $5 in Bugsley Bucks
$50 – $74.99 Spent = $10 in Bugsley Bucks
$75 – $99.99 Spent = $15 in Bugsley Bucks
$100 – $124.99 Spent = $20 in Bugsley Bucks
$125+ Spent = $25 in Bugsley Bucks

And we haven’t forgotten about those ordering small amounts either.  Any order under $25 will receive 10% off at checkout!

So, this April, we encourage you to do something to raise awareness for autism.  Wear blue. Put a blue light on your front porch. Participate in a local autism event. And don’t forget to order your SmartKnitKIDS products for extra Bugsley Bucks!!

* Subtotal must reach $25.  Tax and shipping are not included.  See www.smartknit.com/rewards for more details.

 

 

 

 

Splitting Seams and Other Important Facts about SmartKnitKIDS Socks

So what is the scoop about all these socks out there claiming to be seamless?  As parents of seam-sensitive children know, they are not all alike.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what all these different “seamless” socks are all about.

Smooth and Handlinked Seams

Both of these types of seams are created by linking together both sides of the sock to fuse together the toe of the sock.  The process is done very carefully to ensure that the resulting seam is as flat as possible.  As you can imagine, this is better than a traditional sock seam, but it really isn’t seamless, despite the claims to the contrary.  As it isn’t truly seamless, it can still cause some discomfort and irritation, especially in seam-sensitive children.  Sometimes it is recommended to turn these socks inside out so that the child wears the sock with the seam on the outside.  This may work for some sensitive children, but many of them find that the “ridge” from the seam is still irritating – regardless of how small or which side of the sock it is on.

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This is an example of a handlinked seam.  Notice you can still see the seam line on the toe.
HandLinkedSeams-Hand-2 Here is the handlinked seam turned inside out.  It is better than a traditional sock, but still has a seam line.

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Here is an example of a smooth seam.  It is very faint, but you can still make out the seam line.

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And this is what your toes would feel.  This is the inside of a sock with smooth seams.

 

Truly Seamless

To make a sock that is truly seamless you have to start at the toe.  Then there is nothing to sew or fuse together.  No seams!  SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks are knitted by starting at the toe and working up from there.  It’s just like a caterpillar knitting a cocoon.  No seam means no irritation.

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This is one of our SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks.  See how there is no irritating seam anywhere in the toe of the sock.

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This is the same sock turned inside out.  Again, it is easy to see that SmartKnitKIDS socks are truly seamless.
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The difference between the seam types is clear when side by side.

 

Pressing Line

So some parents tell us that their child can still feel a “seam” on our SmartKnitKIDS socks.  What is this all about?  Because of the way the socks are knitted, a seam is just not possible.  What are they feeling then?  This is something that occurs in the “finishing” process of our socks.  We’ve told you about how they’re knitted, but after that the socks are pressed to give them a finished look.  Some children can feel this line and are bothered by it.  But, since this is just a pressing line, it can easily be washed out.   It might take one or two washes, but pressing line should diminish.

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This sock is also a SmartKnitKIDS sock, but see how there is a very faint line around the toe.  This sock has gone through the finishing process and has been pressed.

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Here is a close up of the pressing line.  As it sometimes resembles a seam, some people mistake it for a seam.

 

Cuff Only on Small and Medium

Many of our customers have noticed that the Smalls and Mediums have a woven cuff, but the larger sizes do not.  Why is this?  The main reason for this is due to the very small size of these two smallest socks, they require a little more special care in making them resulting in the cuff.  The added bonus is that smaller children tend to have more trouble keeping their socks pulled up and the extra cuff helps with that.

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This is the size difference between a small and an x-large.  Notice how the small has a cuff.

 

Length and AFO Socks

Many parents buy the SmartKnitKIDS socks for their children to wear with AFO braces, but SmartKnit recommends the SmartKnit AFO socks for these instead.  They can be found at this link.  The SmartKnit AFO socks are made the same way (cocoon-style) as SmartKnitKIDS socks, but the specifications are made to specifically fit the length requirements for AFO braces.  Our AFO socks have many more size options to accommodate different widths and lengths, which is important when wearing under an orthosis.  Always check with your provider on the correct size to ensure the orthosis fits properly.

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The AFO sock is in the middle in purple.  On the left side is a SmartKnitKIDS sock, size x-large.  To the right is a SmartKnitKIDS sock, size 2x-large.  Notice how the AFO sock and the 2XL sock are roughly the same length, but the AFO sock is much narrower.  It is designed to be worn under a brace.

 

Sizing

Another question that we get asked a lot is how the sizing works.  This is also unique.  SmartKnitKIDS socks don’t have heels.  Because there is no part of the sock that is defined for the foot, each sock size can easily be worn by many different sized feet.  Here’s how to figure out what size you need. Step 1: Determine which length your child desires (ankle, crew or knee high) and find it on the chart below.  Step 2: Find your child’s shoe size under the correct length heading.  Step 3: Find your child’s SmartKnitKIDS sock size to the left.  It’s that simple!

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Now that’s the skinny on all the ins and outs of SmartKnitKIDS socks!  Here’s to seam free days for all!

Easter Bunny Bugsley Coloring Contest

Easter is this Sunday, March 27.  To help our SmartKnitKIDS fans celebrate, we got Bugsley to pose as the Easter Bunny for this adorable picture:

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But, something happened to our picture!  Somehow it lost all of the color before we could save it.  We’re hoping you can help!  Download our picture from the link below and add your favorite colors to make a SmartKnitKIDS Easter Masterpiece!

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Submit your coloring page to info@smartknitkids.com, post on SmartKnitKIDS’ Facebook page or tweet it (tag @smartknitkids in your tweet) on Twitter by March 31 at 11:59 p.m. CDT to join our coloring contest.  One winner will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift card to http://www.smartknit.com.  Be sure to have your child write his or her first name and age on the coloring sheet.

Happy Easter from Bugsley and your friends at SmartKnitKIDS!!

Tips for Tackling Daylight Savings with your Kids

Daylight Savings begins March 13, 2016.  We will all lose one hour of sleep as we move our clocks forward one hour (hint = spring forward)!  The lost hour can be especially hard on children.  Follow the tips below to help make the Daylight Savings Transition a little easier.

Grumpy Girl

 

  1. Transition into the time difference gradually – Get your kids up and put them to bed 15 minutes earlier every day leading up to Daylight Savings Day. Taking baby steps toward the earlier day will make the transition a little bit easier to bear.
  2. Add a nap into the day – Adding an afternoon nap for a few days will help your and your children’s bodies adjust to the time difference a little bit quicker. If your kids are already napping, let them sleep a little bit longer than normal for a few days. Just make sure it isn’t too close to their bed time or yours.
  3. Keep your normal number of sleep hours – It might be hard to convince your kids or yourself that it’s bedtime, but it’s important to do so. You’re getting up early already, so make sure to carry that over to bedtime.  Keeping your number of sleep hours and avoiding staying up that extra hour, will help everyone adjust to the time difference quicker.
  4. Control the lights – The body’s natural melatonin, which helps to induce sleep, increases when the environment begins to get dark. Going to sleep at an earlier time will be easier if the environment is adapted to feel more like night.  If it’s still light outside, make sure to cover the windows and dim the lights in your child’s bedroom.  Turn off all electronic devices 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
  5.  Whatever your bedtime routine is, don’t change it –  There is comfort in routine and if you stick to your normal bedtime activities, your children will not notice the time difference quite so much.

Sleepy Girl

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!

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Leap Day Story and Fact

Well today is Leap Day – the day that only comes around once every four years.  And with it comes quite a history and a collection oddities as unique as the day itself.  Take a look:

How the day came to pass

Blame it on the ancient Egyptians (okay, someone else would have probably figured it out by now if it hadn’t been them, but it was, so we’ll blame them).  What did they do?  They figured out that the man-made calendar they were using didn’t always match up quite right with the solar year.  That’s because it actually takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to travel one rotation around the sun – just a smidge longer than the standard 365 days they were using.

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It was the Romans, though, that took it one step further – fixing it.  Julius Caesar ordered his astronomer, Sosigenes, in 45BC to come up with a simple solution.  Sosigenes figured that if he added one day to the calendar every fourth year, things would then line up.  And so, Leap Day or February 29 was born.  At that time, February was the last month of the year, so they just tacked the extra day onto the end of it.  This was known as the Julian calendar (after Julius Caesar himself) and was used from that time all the way until 1582 AD.

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That’s when someone else, Pope Gregory XIII, figured out that even adding the extra day every four years, it still wasn’t quite right.  We were adding 11 minutes and 14 seconds more than necessary each year.  What’s 11 minutes, right?  Well in the 1,627 years it took for someone to figure this out, it amounted to about 10 days!!  Okay, now I get why that 11 minutes was so important.

So, what did Pope Gregory do about it?  He cut a whopping 10 days out of the month of October for the year of 1582 for starters.  But, more importantly, Gregory also set up exact rules for adding Leap Day to the calendar.

Gregory’s Rules: An extra day is added to the calendar in every year that is divisible by four.  Century years (1800, 1900, 2000, etc.) are excluded from adding the extra day unless they are also divisible by 400.  For example, 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was.  2100 will not be.

Thanks to Pope Gregory and his rules, our calendar will be in tune with the seasons for the next several thousand years.  Gregory was one smart Pope!  Sadly though, not everyone was so keen to change over their calendars.  Religious politics as they were at the time meant that the Catholic Church’s Bishop of Rome wasn’t exactly super popular.  (Europe was in the middle of the Protestant Reformation.)  Catholic countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy were pretty quick to adopt Gregory’s calendar, but Protestant countries were slow to follow.  The British Empire, which included the colonies that became the United States, didn’t adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1752!  We were nearly 200 years late to the party, folks!  But, even later, were the Eastern European countries which finally accepted the change during the 1910s and 1920s!

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So with that wacky history, there are bound to be other quirks.

Women Proposing Marriage to Men

In many countries around the world, February 29 is the day for women to propose to men!  A woman may propose to any man she chooses, but some countries stipulate that she must wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat.  If the man refuses, he owes her a pair of gloves (or 12 pairs), fabric for a skirt, a silk dress, a kiss or even some money, depending entirely on what country the pair are from.  Get your red petticoats out, girls!

Woman proposes

Work-for-Free Day

Did you know that you might be spending Monday working for free?  If your wages are paid on a fixed annual or monthly salary, than you are working an extra day in 2016.  Since your salary is figured on a standard 365-day year, February 29 is technically a Work-for-Free Day!

Leapers, Leaplings or Leap-Day Babies

Did you know that if you are born on February 29, you are known as a Leaper, a Leapling or a Leap-Day Baby.  Anyone else getting images of frogs right now?  Any person’s chances of being born on Leap Day are one in 1,461.  And since there are roughly five million leaplings around the world, it’s safe to say those odds have been beaten a few times.  So, when would a Leapling celebrate a birthday during non leap years?  Most leaplings say you get to pick between February 28 and March 1.  Legally speaking, though, it depends on what country you’re in.  Most U.S. states, as well as the U.K. and Hong Kong designate March 1st, while China, Taiwan and New Zealand have picked February 28.  So, if you’re a leapling and you’re planning to get your driver’s license, register to vote or have your first beer, you might have to wait an extra day.

Obviously, it’s pretty rare to be a leapling, but I wonder what the odds are of giving birth to THREE leaplings?  A Norwegian woman holds the record for this, giving birth to the most children on consecutive leap days.  She had daughter Heidi on February 29, 1960; son Olav on February 29, 1964 and finally son Lief-Martin on February 29, 1968.  That’s just wild!

The Keogh family of the U.K. has had one in three consecutive generations beginning with Peter Anthony on Leap Day in 1940; his son Peter Eric on Leap Day in 1964; and granddaughter Bethany on Leap Day in 1996.

Or, what about Sir James Milne Wilson, who was the 8th premier of Tasmania.  He was BORN on Leap Day in 1812 and DIED on Leap Day in 1880.

Astrologers believe that Leaplings all have unusual talents.  This might be true since famous Leaplings include English poet Lord Byron AND rapper Ja Rule!

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FILE - In this March 2, 2010 file photo, rapper Ja Rule attends the premiere of "Brooklyn's Finest" in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, file)

Leap Year Capital of the World

Apparently the people of Anthony, Texas really like Leap Years, because they have designated themselves the Leap Year Capital of the World.  They hold a Leap Year Festival, which includes a guided trip to Aztec Cave, square dancing and even “fun at the horse farm”!

Skipping Leap Day

Because of Pope Gregory’s cool calculation, every 100 years we skip a Leap Year . . . except when we don’t!  The year 2000 would have been skipped since it’s a century year, but since it has the unique fact that it is also divisible by 400, we didn’t skip it.  This means that the last skipped Leap Year was in 1900 and the next one won’t be until 2100.  And the vast majority of all people living today will never skip a Leap Year.

Leap Year Superstitions

Some cultures think Leap Year is unlucky.  The Chinese believe that more accidents and mishaps occur during the Leap Year.  They believe children born during that time are harder to bring up.  And that it’s also a bad time to start a business or get married.

In Russia, leap year is believed to bring freak weather patterns and a great risk of death.  Russian, as well as Scottish, farmers believe that leap years are bad years for crops and livestock.

Greeks also believe it’s a bad time to get married.  And in Italy, there is a legend that says that women are erratic during a leap year, and that you shouldn’t plan important life events during those years.

And somehow U.S. Presidential election years AND Summer Olympic years line up with Leap Years.  I wonder if that was planned . . . .

There you have it – Leap Year and Leap Day facts!  Go impress your friends or win a round of Jeopardy!