This Week In Parenting News: Grammys For Kids Music, A Dad Attacks Larry Nassar and VTech Recalls Rattles

In this week’s edition of parenting news, I give you the skinny on the must-have album nominated for a kid’s music Grammy and we take a look at how the sexual assault charges against former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar are impacting parents. Yet another study shows that kids need to avoid screens before bed. And, oh, and there are recalls for VTech items, so check your shelves.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was one of five nominees for the 2018 Grammy for Best Children’s Record. We recommend you pick up this album.

Grammys for Kids Music

Did you know that Grammy awards also go to children’s music? For the 2018 Grammy Awards, the top winner was Lisa Loeb, with her stunning Feel What U Feel. But the album that I think you should download or buy today for yourself, I mean for your kids, is by South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo and is named Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids & Parents Around The World.

The album is musically intriguing, harmonically beautiful and chock full of morals that no one can argue with. The intro, for example, is all about sitting down and making peace with people if you are angry. The first song is Ayhlalephansi, or Sit down and Make Peace. The second cut off the album is “All Women Are Beautiful.” Who can argue with that?  And of course I absolutely love their take on Old MacDonald, but Zulu style of course.

For those familiar with South African music and cadences, the album is lovingly familiar with its choral emphasis and arrangements. Church folk will see the similarities between popular Black American spiritual music and the pieces that Ladysmith sings. For those unfamiliar, this is a great introduction to the world of world music, plus the messages are positive and spiritually upbeat. Great for kids. Your littlest ones will march around the room throwing their hands in the air. Your bigger ones might find something a little deeper as they listen.

My kids listen to a large variety of music and Ladysmith Black Mambazo certainly rounds out their education. Bonus, there are absolutely no curse words or crass circumstances (Hello! Children’s music!) so you can leave it on and let it play. Thank goodness.

Here are the Grammy 2018 nominees for Best Children’s Music. The winner is noted in bold.

A dad is restrained in court after he tries to attack former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for sexually abusing his daughters./Image from video screen shot

What We All Have Learned from the 260 Young Women and Girls Sexually Abused by Team USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

(Note: This portion of this week’s news roundup contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse that might offend you or be painful to you if you are a survivor of sexual assault. Sassyplum agrees, however, that it is necessary to report this information as a warning and a reminder of what comprises sexual abuse.) 

  1. Lunging at the child molester during a court hearing might not be cool but it can net you a GoFundMe that raised $23,000 in a short order. How’s this? The dad of two girls who were abused by the serial molester straight tried to jump on Nassar during the hearing. It was shocking, but absolutely no one was mad that he tried it. Judge Janice Cunningham eventually said that the girl’s dad would not be charged, given the extreme situation.
  2. Parents across the country are horrified that a doctor said that inserting fingers into the vagina of a young girl was a “treatment” they had to undergo before going on to win gold, silver and bronze medals in their sport. According to the Indy Star, which was the first to report these abuses: “Lead Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis also said during the sentencing phase of Nassar’s trial that he penetrated his patients’ anuses and vaginas with his bare hands.”
  3. Olympic darling Simone Biles is among the many who accused Nassar of sexual abuse, often right up to the moments prior to public competition.


Sleep, Screen Time and Healthy Weight

Yet another study has found that kids who stay on their cell phones, tablets or computers before bed get less sleep and gain more weight. Those are the basic findings of a study conducted by Penn State’s College of Medicine. These findings add to the plethora of information that suggests that better sleep can be attained by turning off electronic devices at least an hour before bed.

According to Science Daily:

Caitlyn Fuller, medical student, said the results — published in the journal Global Pediatric Health — may suggest a vicious cycle of technology use, poor sleep and rising BMIs.

“We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,” Fuller said. “We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming.”

Sing and Shake Elephant Rattle by VTech has been recalled.

VTech Recalls Dangerous Baby Products: Check Your Shelves

Everybody’s favorite smart baby toy maker has recalled 280,000 rattles and 37,000 crib mobiles. The 280,000 rattles affected feature model number 80-184800 and the number 1848 is printed on the back of the rattle adjacent to the battery door. You might have bought them at Walmart, Kmart, Meijer, Mills Fleet Farm, Seventh Avenue, and between November 2015 through November 2017 for about $8.

About 37,000 mobiles sold in the U.S. and 4,800 sold in Canada were recalled due to reports of the clamp that attaches the mobile to the crib rail breaking, leading the mobile to fall. Naturally,  this poses an injury hazard to an baby or toddler in a crib. The model numbers for those are 80-503000 (blue) and 80-503050 (pink). The items were sold at Kmart, Walmart, and between February 2017 through November 2017 for about $25.

VTech is offering a full refund for both the rattles (recall number 18-083) and the mobiles (recall number 18-084). You can contact VTech at 800-521-2010 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at

H/T CPSC for the info.

Quick Hits

Here We Are, the NYT-bestselling book by Oliver Jeffers, is a must-read. Please buy it for yourself and for your kid. It’s lovely. (And as the daughter of a head librarian for a major city school system, I have really good training and insights into what makes for a stellar children’s book. This is THE book for birthday presents for new parents this year. Trust me.)

16 More Children Succumb To The Flu

It’s getting so serious that some parents are cancelling birthday parties. Depending upon how your city is dealing with the epidemic that might not be a bad idea. The flu situation is not  pretty and the season’s peak is yet to come. Take precautions, whatever they may be. Whatever you do, vaccine shaming (or not) is a parenting group no-no.


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