Category: Causes + General Do-Gooding

Breaking news – CPSC votes to ban sale of all drop side cribs

With the recent slew of crib recalls, and now Pottery Barn Kids voluntarily recalling 82,000 drop side cribs today, it seems that the CPSC has had enough, so much so that they voted unanimously to ban the sale of drop side cribs in the United States. The issue with drop-side cribs is not a new one, mostly due to poorly constructed and installed sides on specific brands and models coming loose and babies getting dangerously and sometimes fatally trapped. However, this new ban now applies to all brands selling this type of crib. So, once again, check your cribs,...

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Breaking news – Over 2 million cribs recalled

It’s time to check your cribs yet again, mamas, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a recall of 2 million cribs, including some popular brands. The list of recalled cribs includes Jenny Lind, Evenflo, and Delta (just to name a few). Evidently babies can fall out of these cribs, or worse, get dangerously and fatally trapped. Yikes.Thankfully no deaths have been reported, but if you have one of the listed cribs, you’ll want to get rid of it immediately. This isn’t the first time that drop side cribs have come under scrutiny, and according to the...

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Going Down, Down, Down to help the Gulf

Though I haven’t seen the Gulf of Mexico since I was a teen, I’ll never forget the color and warmth of the turquoise-blue water that lured me in until I was wrinkled and waterlogged. It’s those waters and the creatures most affected by them that The Gulf Restoration Network has been working to protect and preserve for years, though they certainly have never needed our support like they do now. Which is why I love that I can support efforts to restore the Gulf by purchasing the lovely print Down, Down, Down which also reminds me of those see-to-forever...

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With a KaBOOM!, we can get kids outside to play

One of the greatest joys of suburbia is the big green playground in our back yard–which makes not having decent sushi down the block almost worth it. But it bums me out that there are loads of kids who can’t just walk to a great place to play because there are no safe playgrounds nearby. How else will kids learn how to play Four Square or how to jump from a high swing if we adults don’t step in to help?  Fortunately, Chicago-born Darell Hammond has been thinking about this since ’95 when he read about kids who died...

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Save Handmade – CPSIA Update

We’ve been following the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and its negative effect on the handmade products and small businesses we love, ever since the very beginning. And so, we wanted to pass along some updates, so that you can help us save handmade – and protect the interests of hundreds of thousands of craftspeople, parents and shoppers like us, who will suffer if this misguided act passes. After all, if only the big made-in-China toy companies can afford to comply with the CPSIA, those are the only toys that will be available for your kids to play...

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To Mama With Love will make your mama proud she raised such a great kid

I spend a lot of time looking at great Mother’s Day gifts (anyone see our Mother’s Day Gift Guide?) but that doesn’t mean I don’t procrastinate right along with the best of you.  Which is why I can practically smell the annual Mother’s Day’s burnt toast, and I still don’t have anything for my own beloved mama. How perfect that I just learned about To Mama With Love, a collaborative online art project that lets me create a mini-page (or “heartspace”) in honor of my mom, telling her in photos, videos and words, how much she has meant to...

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A penny saved is a piece of the planet saved

One of the things about all those pennies laying around at the bottom of drawers or under the couch is that they are, well, laying around doing nothing. Rather than leave those coins to clog up the vacuum cleaner, why not use your extra pennies as a way to get your kids involved in some very cool conservation projects? Pennies for the Planet has organized a way to do just that. Get your kids collecting all that spare change and funnel the money into conservation projects like protecting the shorebirds along California’s coast, the coastal marshes in Louisiana, and...

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Cool Mom Picks loves ebay’s World of Good

When World of Good by eBay invited us to pick our favorite fair trade Mother’s Day gifts, we replied with a resounding “yes!” What better way to celebrate moms than with products that support people and communities in need. So we scoured the thousands amazing items and picked six favorites that we’d love to get ourselves on Mother’s Day — like the gorgeous rose garden ceramic vase that’s handcrafted by mothers in Vietnam and might just be the perfect way to deliver those Mother’s Day flowers. Or take my favorite item, the batik cotton scarf (pictured) that — for only $30 I...

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A second reason it’s nice when your kids outgrow their Care Bears DVD

My kids are outgrowing more than their clothes: We now have dozens of DVDs that are considered too “babyish” for my precocious offspring. Instead of just leaving them in an ever-growing pile in my basement, I’m sending my stack to Kidflicks.org who forwards gently used DVDs to children’s hospitals and pediatric wards. Kidflicks was started about eight years ago by two smart sisters, Marni and Berni Barta who donated their own video castoffs to a local pediatric ward, and were told that kids who enter the hospital request movies more than anything else to help pass the time. Now,...

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Environmentally friendly school fundraiser? Reader Q&A

I’m trying to find a good elementary school fundraiser for my daughter’s school to change things up a bit in the coming school year. I’d love to do one that doesn’t involve that ubiquitous cookie dough or wrapping paper….and would be thrilled to find one that is green or at least environmentally friendly. -Dina Having bought my weight in both gaudy wrapping paper and 75-ingredient cookie dough all in the name of fundraising, I am all for spreading the word on more interesting alternatives. Here are some of my favorite ideas that not only do some good, they’re products...

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Dog lovers of the world, unite!

I’ve seen first hand the joy that pets can give to people who really need it, which is why we’re so honored to be part of the It’s Good to Give series sponsored by Milk-Bone, which helps support the Canine Assistants Program. Since I was never allowed to have any pets growing up beside a couple of lame hamsters (insert much hand wringing and wailing for my entire childhood), I was thrilled that my kids would have our dog Indy to grow up with. While knock wood, my kids are healthy and don’t need a dog the way the kids in...

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For kids who walk around with a light bulb blinking over their heads

Earth Day is fast-approaching, but this isn’t just any Earth Day. This year happens to mark the 40th anniversary of the eco-celebration and to celebrate, Design Squad on PBS KIDS GO is launching the nationwide 2010 Trash to Treasure competition on April 5th. Think your genius of a kid has what it takes to beat someone else’s genius of a kid in an attempt to recycle, reuse and re-engineer everyday materials into the world’s next how-did-we-live-without-it invention? Well, if they’re between the ages of 5 and 19, this is their chance. The rules are simple: Kids have to invent...

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Let’s hear it for birthdays and the American Cancer Society!

We are always exceedingly grateful to all of our sponsors at Cool Mom Picks, big and small, because they are the ones who allow us to do what we do here. But there’s one in particular that we want to give an extra-special shout-out to, because we so love everything they’re about. The American Cancer Society is continuing their excellent More Birthdays campaign, in celebration of many cancer survivors who get to keep blowing out those candles every year–including a dear friend who just celebrated her five year “anniversary” yesterday. (Whoo Jurene!) The campaign is optimistic, it’s uplifting, and...

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A good reason to Dwink up

I’m still not sure why parents with white couches and white carpets put juice boxes out at their children’s parties except maybe, they like a challenge? A few years back we discovered the awesome Dwink Boxes which keep kids from squeezing the middles and forcing all that lovely purple juice up the straw and onto everything. If you need an excuse to buy one, check out the new Special Edition Dwink Box just out today. The white color is sleek, and I love those raised bubbles. But more importantly, all of the net profits are being donated to the...

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The little desk set that could. And will.

There isn’t a single thing not to like about the functional design of these groovy desk/chair pairings from midesk, from their hand-crafted here in the USA wooden cut-outs to the non-toxic paints used to finish them. These desks are a marvel of storage — the chairs have two shelves tucked inside the base — and they’re sized just right for small scholars. On top of that, they take up remarkably little space, when the chairs are tucked neatly into the desks. So, sure, love them for all of that, but prepare to really love them: For every ten desks...

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Spend for Good. It’s just that easy.

I do my best to support my favorite charities on a regular basis, but often times it’s only when something tragic happens and I’m called into action. But thanks to Spend for Good, I can donate to my favorite charities when I thinking about say, shoes. Or airplane tickets. Or that new kids CD at iTunes. This super smart new org has partnered with hundreds of vendors who have will generously donate a percentage of your purchase to your favorite charity when you shop through their website. The extremely broad list includes Target, Orbitz, Best Buy, Gap, ShopBop, and...

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Helping kids in Haiti, one Tinkertoy tower at a time.

Here’s a fun way to get your kids involved in the Haiti relief effort: A Play-a-thon. In case you have never heard of one (like me, up until now), it’s just like raising pledges for many other ‘a-thons’, but instead of running, dancing, or phoning a pledge into a B-list celebrity-manned phone bank, your kids play for the money. Get friends, neighbors, grandparents, teachers, whoever you can snag to pledge a flat donation or certain amount for every 15 minutes your kid plays. Invite a group of kids to play together and turn it into a real event. Hasbro...

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The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood

If you’ve had a baby, you probably know what I mean when I say that during all four births for me, there was always a point when I thought I might die. You’ve used all your physical strength breathing and having contractions and back pain. You’ve used all your emotional strength floating in and out of pain and giving yourself pep talks. But of course when I had these issues, I was nestled in the heart of a modern hospital with nurses and doctors all around me. And during the birth of my youngest, when his heart rate dropped...

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We need to move it, move it.

Michelle Obama may be known for her sculpted arms, but her commitment to health and exercise goes a lot deeper. Last week, the First Lady introduced a new initiative, Let’s Move!, which is supported by the newly created Partnership for a Healthier America. Their ultimate (and ambitious) goal? Eradicating childhood obesity in one generation. One third of American children are currently obese or overweight, and we spend $150 billion dollars a year on concerns related to obesity. For the first time in history, American children may not even live as long as their parents, and that’s scary enough to...

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A headband that’s even sweeter than it looks

I’m eagerly awaiting the day that we can trade our winter hats for springy headbands, but one look outside my Brooklyn window and uh, yeah. Not gonna happen so soon. But when it does, I’ll be prepared with the new Ellie headband from CMP fave Bella Tunno. The design was created to help support a little girl named Ellie Potvin, who’s all of eight and battling Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer with a tough prognosis. Because I’ve got a relative dealing with a young daughter in and out of the hospital to treat some pretty awful stuff, this one...

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Have a Heart for Haiti – hurry over for some retail philanthropy

It’s getting to where so many generous companies are donating to Haiti, it’s becoming harder to keep track of them all. And that’s a good thing. So I was so happy to see that one of our favorite bloggers and great friend of CMP, Christine Koh of Boston Mamas, has helped organize the Have a Heart for Haiti effort, in which Boston mom-run businesses have committed to donating a percentage of profits directly to UNICEF, earmarked for Haiti. The one catch? Today, February 15, is the last day. So hit the site and see if there’s anything you’ve been...

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Women helping women with supima cotton

Are you heart-ed out yet? No? Good. Because we just discovered the charity-minded Michael Stars Joyful Heart tees, created in part by Mariska Hargitay and pimped out by fab friends like Jennifer Aniston, Hilary Swank, Debra Messing, Courteney Cox, and others who spell their names totally differently than you think they do until you look it up on IMDB. The tees were created to support the Joyful Heart Foundation (founded by Hargitay) which does good by victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. For every shirt that you buy, Michael Stars will donate one of their very...

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Is your faux leather handbag carrying high levels of lead?

I’ve coveted Shiraleah’s handbags after spotting them on CMP favorite Darlybird, and I recently scooped up a forest-green pleather style which has gone with me everywhere. Until this morning. That’s when my mother told me she’d heard that hundreds of non-leather handbags were found to have excessive levels of lead in them. Yes, lead, which doctors warn has the worst effects on children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. [Update: Darlybird – who we continue to love and respect – originally stocked Shiraleah bags because of the very strong eco clams made by the company, and is as...

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DriveSafe.ly keeps your hands on the wheel, where they belong

I know that there is no text or email worthy of taking my eyes off the road while driving, especially now that I’m carrying precious cargo in the back seat. But, the urge is strong, oh so strong, to see what message has just popped up, and I’m such a good driver, there’s hardly any traffic, I’ll just grab my phone and take a quick peak, only for a second. . .  Not cool, right? And now, totally unnecessary with the new free app called DriveSafe.ly on the scene. DriveSafe.ly reads your phone’s texts and emails out loud and you don’t...

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An auction to raise money for Haiti. Get something great while doing something great

What happens when some of the most creative bloggers set their minds to raising money for Haiti? Only an auction filled with incredible artwork, handmade toys, clothing, and plenty more we’d like to own even without knowing all the proceeds are going to a cause that’s near and dear to all of our hearts right now. Proceeds from the To Haiti with Love auction, coordinated by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Kate Inglis, all go directly to the St. Josephs family of homes through the Broken Wings Mission. You will swoon over Kate’s breathtaking photographs, and the fact...

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Pepsi wants to give you their Superbowl commercial money

As a former ad agency madman, I fully admit that I watch the Superbowl for the commercials. And to consume unhealthy snacks. But this year, it isn’t the little 30-second snippets that have me excited, it’s Pepsi’s decision to break a 23-year Superbowl streak, take their $20 million, and give it away. Yes, Give. It. Away. And some of it could be yours if you have one good idea that could make the U.S., or even just your corner of it, a better place. For all the deets go to refresheverything.com but here is the basic scoop: Every month...

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Project Night Night helps a homeless child sleep a little better

My sons are 7 and 9, but every night, the snuggle up in bed with their favorite stuffed friends. Those “stufties,” as my little son calls them, are just one more layer of familiarity and comfort in their lives. Not every child has that though — that warm bed in a safe house to curl up in every night. And that’s where Project Night Night comes in. Project Night Night provides that little bit of comfort and security for homeless children, in the form of a Night Night Package which includes a security blanket, a stuffed friend, and a...

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Your old soles could help Haiti

Haiti has been on our minds nonstop since the devastating earthquake last week, but now that donations have been made to some worthy charities, we are stuck with what else can we do? What else? Donate shoes. Soles4Souls has partnered with Foot Solutions to try to get as many gently-worn shoes as possible to the people of Haiti. From little sneakers for a child, to sturdy work boots for an adult clearing rubble, all types of basic footwear are needed except probably snow boots. But, if you have those, send them along since Soles4Souls will be sure to find...

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Time for Lunch to slow down and get real

Next month Congress is going to be revisiting school meal program guidelines, and the more parents and kids they hear from before they do so, the greater the chance that our schools will have real food (what a concept) to offer our children. That includes my own district, which has such frightening food options I don’t let my kids buy school lunches. Slow Food USA, an org we all completely adore, is behind the Time for Lunch Campaign, and you can get involved–write your Congresspeople, sign the online petition, or help organize an action like an eat-in. (Now there’s...

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Update on cadmium in children’s jewelry: CSPC says, throw it ALL out

Just a few days ago, we told you about an Associated Press investigation of children’s jewelry and metal toys manufactured in China that revealed high levels of the toxic metal cadmium in several mass produced kids’ products. In response, both Claire’s and Walmart have removed certain children’s jewelry from their shelves. Phew! And now the Consumer Product Safety Commission is now recommending that parents take all cheap metal jewelry of Chinese origin away from children, regardless of the brand or where you purchased it. That’s right. ALL of it. We’ll keep you updated on this situation as we learn...

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