There are some houses that kids seem to flock to. Ours is one of those. Partly, it’s because I work from home. Partly it’s because we’ve got three kids, so there’s always something happening here in the summers. On balance, I’m glad to have a houseful of kids. For one thing, I always know where MINE are!
The trouble with being a kid magnet is that things happen. I don’t mean bickering and arguments, because it’s easy enough to send a problem child home. (Unless it’s mine, of course.) Scrapes, bruises, and nosebleeds happen. Toys wear out and get broken. Unaccountably, the dog runs through the house, her coat covered in shampoo. But most of all, there are germs. Just like in school classrooms, everyone’s germs are shared.
I keep a comprehensive first-aid kit. It includes the usual bandages, antiseptics, and ointments. But after the recent strep outbreak, I added a non-contact digital thermometer called the Thermee, made by Ginger Hill Creations. I just love this thing. I hold it near the child’s forehead and in just a second or two, I have an accurate temperature reading. It never even touches the child, so it can’t spread germs.
It also gives me more freedom with other people’s kids. I wouldn’t feel right about putting a regular thermometer in a child’s mouth, –it’s like an invasion of privacy. This, on the other hand, is more like a quick touch of a child’s forehead, only there’s no contact at all. If there’s no fever, the Thermee gives an all-clear alert. If there’s a fever of 100 degrees or over, it beeps and flashes. The display is nice and large, so there’s no guesswork at all. Best of all, none of the kids mind my using it. They think it’s funny. “Did I beep, did I beep?”
The Thermee thermometer is economical and easy to use. If the battery runs low, the Thermee will flash a warning. It uses two AAA batteries, which can be bought almost anywhere. I wish I could say the same about my old stick thermometer! When that stopped working, I had a hard time getting it open. Even then, it was a pain finding a matching battery in nearby stores.
The Thermee non-contact thermometer has a memory mode feature. That way, you can record temperatures for a single person over a period of time. Of course, this isn’t very useful outside the family. I’m not going to take a visiting kid’s temperature more than once. After that, I call home and ask someone to pick up the child. I did use the memory feature on my own kids, when the oldest got strep. When my younger child showed signs of strep, we got it treated right away.
Now, let me assure you — my house is not a hellhole of germs. It’s frequently cluttered, but I can mop, dust, and vacuum with the best of them. I spend most of my time with my kids. When my husband comes home, I do bookkeeping for my clients. It’s a normal everyday home with three children, a dog, and several assorted neighbors and cousins roaming in and out at will. To be fair, when my sister’s kids come, she usually comes with them. It’s not like running a day care, where you’re regularly stuck taking care of other people’s kids.
If your home is a high-traffic zone for youngsters, be sure to set up a good first-aid kit. Organize it so you can find things quickly. If you use something, make a note on your shopping list so you replace it. Stock bandages and antibiotic cream. A pair of tweezers is handy for thorns and splinters. Then, add a Thermee non-contact digital thermometer to the kit. I keep one in the bathroom for regular use, and a second in the first aid kit. Keep that kit handy. I guarantee, you’ll want it!
So, what do you think? Is your house a kid magnet? If so, be prepared for lots of fun, frustration, joy, and work. Acquaint the children with the benefits of soap and water. Explain where the facial tissue is, and why they should use it. One child’s sniffly nose quickly rockets through the neighborhood. It’s like having a block party, with germs as the main course.
Be ready with those snacks, toys, and bandages. And for the health of your kids and neighbors, keep a Thermee non-contact thermometer around. Then you’re ready, if flu season hits sooner than you expect.