Celebrate Minecraft and more family fun for the weekend, Sept. 14-16

Minefaire is in town. For all you parents of Minecraft players, you might have been alerted to this convention happening at the Austin Convention Center.

Minecraft has its own convention called Minefaire, which is in town this weekend.

If your kids aren’t into that or you’ve said, “No” to going, there are plenty of other fun things to do in Austin this weekend. Check the weather (It’s going to rain all weekend) before you go.

FRIDAY

Namaste & Play: Get Into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays. $20 per class.Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesday and Friday. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Animanga Club. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Carver Branch. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Ruiz Branch.

Sewing after Dark for Teens. 5 p.m. Friday, Central Library.

SATURDAY

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about color this month., 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

BookPeople. 10:30 a.m. Saturday story time. Lazy Morning, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies.“Sing.” 11 a.m. Saturday. 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock. flixbrewhouse.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody.” Check out the website barnesandnoble.com for future story times.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Batman Day. 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

Minefaire. The largest convention for a single video game is in Austin on Saturday and Sunday. $49-$69.50, but kids younger than 2 are free. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. Minefaire.com.

Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and older. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Odd Squad.” 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Lakeline and Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com

Find your family fun in between the raindrops in Austin this weekend, Sept. 7-9

The rain is going to keep on coming all weekend. Plan accordingly when you’re considering what to do with the kids this weekend. You’ll still find plenty of fun things to do in Austin.

Check out our list:

Vanessa Roeder will be reading a story at Toybrary Austin on Friday.

FRIDAY

Thinkery. Namaste & Play: Get Into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays. $20 per class. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org

Toybrary Austin. Story time with Vanessa Roeder. 10:30 a.m. Friday. $7. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Early Learner Playtime. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7. Central Library.

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Sept. 7, Old Quarry Branch.

Friday Matinee: “A Wrinkle in Time.” 3:30 p.m. Sept. 7, Carver Branch.

Lego Lab. 4 p.m. Sept. 7, North Village Branch

Learn how to sew with circuits at the Thinkery. Contributed by the Thinkery

SATURDAY

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Color this month., 9 a.m. Saturday. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org

Spark Shop Sewn Circuits for ages 4 and up. Learn to sew with conductive thread and circuits. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. $6 for a kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Sink or Swim. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free, but reservations required. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

The Williamson Museum. Hands on History. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave. williamsonmuseum.org

Learn about Girl Scouts on Saturday. Photo by Fran Hunter.

Girl Scouts Kickoff. Make 3-D printed prosthetic hands, visit with service dogs, do science experiments, learn about Girl Scouts and more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Girl Scouts of Central Texas Kodosky Service Center. 12012 Park Thirty-Five Circle. gsctx.org

Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies. “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” 11 a.m. Saturday. 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock. flixbrewhouse.com

BookPeople events. Events: Sonia Sotomayor reads her new children’s book. (This event is sold out and at First Baptist Church.) 2 p.m. Saturday. 10:30 a.m. Saturday story time. We Love Our Grandparents. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Corduroy Takes a Bow.” Sept. 8.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Yarborough Branch.

Saturday Movie Matinee: “Despicable Me 3.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Literature Live, “Tales from Graves.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Howson Branch.

Weekend Builders Family Lego Lab. 2 p.m. Saturday, Twin Oaks Branch.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Odd Squad.” 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Mueller. drafthouse.com

SUNDAY

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Making Folk Art. Make a whirligig and more. 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. Sunday. Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Tween and Teen Anime Club. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 28, Twin Oaks Branch.

Read It, Sing it, Let Us Hear It Open Mic! 1 p.m. Sept. 29, Carver Branch.

Is your child in the right car seat? New guidelines to check

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its guidelines on car seats in one pretty significant way.

Instead of children being in rear-facing seats until they turn 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children stay in rear-facing seats as long as possible until they meet the upper number for that seat’s height or weight limits. That means that most children will outgrow that rear-facing seat anywhere from age 2 to age 5, but there could be some kids who are older than age 5 who are still in rear-facing seats because of their size.

Why make the change?

It’s all based on analysis of trauma data from car crashes, which is the No. 1 cause of death for children age 4 and older.

Children who were in rear-facing car seats had fewer injuries and a decreased chance of death than kids in forward-facing car seats.

Why is that? Kristen Hullum, a nurse and trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, says that it’s all about avoiding head, neck and spine injuries. Young children have immature spines and necks and are also head-heavy, she says. The rear-facing seats prevent more movement of the head, neck and spine than forward-facing ones.

“My 5 year old is petite,” Hullum says. “I still have her rear-facing. That might have seemed pretty conservative to many people, but this justifies it,” she says of the new recommendations.

Get your car seat professional installed and inspected each time you get a new one. 2007 Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman

Here is the progression of where and in what your child should sit in the car:

  1. Rear-facing infant carrier in the back seat (or convertible rear-facing car seat if it’s weight range is low enough for an infant) until the child outgrows the height or weight limit for that carrier, which is typically anywhere from 22 pounds to 35 pounds. For infant carriers, that usually happens around age 1, but it could be later.
  2. Rear-facing car seat in the back seat until the child outgrows the height or weight limit for that seat. That could happen any time from age 2 to 5 or even later depending on the upper limits for that seat, which can be 40 to 50 pounds or even more.
  3. Forward-facing car seat with a harness in the back seat until the child outgrows the upper height and weight limit, which could be anywhere from 65 to 90 pounds. The forward-facing seat should be tethered to the car.
  4. A booster seat in the back seat that raises the child up so that the car’s seat belt fits the child properly until the child is 4 foot 9 inches tall and outgrows the upper limits for that booster, usually around 100 pounds. That could happen anytime between age 8 and age 12. It’s Texas law that children younger than 8 ride in a booster seat or car seat.
  5. In the back seat using the car’s seat belt once they have reached the upper limit of the booster seat’s height and weight limits until age 13.
  6. In the front seat, only after age 13, but also tall enough and heavy enough to not be injured by the air bag. That’s at least 4 foot 9 inches and 100 pounds. Even though it’s hard for preteens to want to be in the back seat, it’s about safety. Airbags inflate at 200 miles an hour, Hullum says.” If that air bag hits them in their face, there’s a significant brain injury,” she says. “The air bag should be at somebody’s chest.”
Kristen Hullum, trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, teaches a class to teachers. American-Statesman 2017

There are other recommendations and guidelines that parents should know.

  • Get your child seat professionally installed each time you get a new one. Hospitals and county Emergency Medical Services offer car seat checks that you can sign up to attend.
  • When picking a car seat, the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. They all have to pass the same federal guidelines. It’s more of a question of which one has the fanciest cup holders.
  • If you can’t afford a car seat, your pediatrician or any car seat check location should be able tell you how to get a free one.
  • Car seats do have expiration dates that are usually between six and 10 years. They wear out with use.
  • Once a car seat has been in an accident, it is no longer safe to use. Car insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of the new one.
  • Unless you know the complete history of that car seat, do not buy or receive a used one.
  • If you have a truck that only has a front-seat, you can install a car seat in the passenger seat, but you have to make sure the air bag is turned off.
  • Rear-facing car seats could be a problem for toddlers and preschoolers who get motion sickness. If that’s the case, talk to your pediatrician about what medications or techniques they recommend.

For parents who might be thinking that their 5-year-old is never going to see the world around her if she’s still in a rear-facing seat, Hullum says, not to worry. Her 5-year-old can easily remind her if she’s passed a Chic-Fil-A.

Car seat checks

9-11 a.m. Sept. 7, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd.

9 a.m. Sept. 10, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St.

9 a.m.-noon, Sept. 13,  Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, 1781 E. Old Settler Blvd, Round Rock

2-5 p.m. Sept. 13, Elgin Fire Station, 111 N. Avenue C, Elgin

9-11 a.m. Sept. 17, H-E-B Mueller, 1801 E. 51 St.

9 a.m. Sept. 19, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane

9 a.m.-noon Sept. 29, St. David’s Emergency Center, 601 St. David’s Loop, Leander. Free car seats will be available at this event.

9 A.M. Oct. 2, Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive

9-11 a.m. Oct. 5, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd.

9 a.m. Oct. 9, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St.

9 a.m.-noon, Oct. 11, Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, 1781 E. Old Settler Blvd., Round Rock

9-11 a.m. Oct. 15, H-E-B Mueller, 1801 E. 51 St.

9 a.m. Oct. 17, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane

Call 512-943-1264 to register for an appointment with St. David’s or Williamson County EMS. Call 512-324-8687 to register for an appointment in Elgin, Dell Children’s Medical Center or H-E-B. Call 512-972-7233 for CommUnity Care Clinic and recreation centers.

Enter to win tickets to ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’

Want to take the kids to see Jack Black and Cate Blanchett and the world of “The House with a Clock in its Walls”? I’ve got five sets of a family four pack of tickets to a 7 p.m Sept. 18 screening at Regal Gateway.

Jack Black in “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” (Amblin Entertainment)

Enter to win by emailing me at nvillalpando@statesman.com with your name and phone number by Sept. 13. Put “House with Clock” in the subject line. I’ll notify winners on Sept. 14.

The movie is based on a book about 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle in an old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart.

The best place to raise a family? Not Austin. We’re not that fun

OK, Wallet Hub. This one you got wrong. Austin was named 33rd in Wallet Hub’s list for the Best Places to Raise a Family. Why so low?

Get this: It ranked us 106 in family fun. What? It couldn’t find our parks? Our children’s museum or the many other museums with family programming? Our family theater companies? Our at least one festival every weekend that is for families? Or recreation center offerings?

Luke Keyes, of Austin Oddities was on hand to help kids and grown-ups in the art of super large bubble making much to the delight of his ever growing audience The Contemporary offers free family fun on the second Saturday of the month. .RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015

We could understand if it knocked us for affordability or access to health care, but family fun? You don’t know Austin, Wallet Hub.

By the way, in affordability, it ranked us 21. What? It ranked us 74 in health and safety, and 97 in socioeconomic issues. In education and child care it ranked us 36th.

So where does Wallet Hub think is the best place to raise a family?

  1. Overland Park, Kan.
  2. Irvine, Calif.
  3. Fremont, Calif.
  4. South Burlington, Vt.
  5. Bismarck, N.D.
  6. Plano
  7. Fargo, N.D.
  8. Sioux Falls, S.D.
  9. Huntington Beach, Calif.
  10. Gilbert, Ariz.

I’d like to see you move to South Dakota, North Dakota or Kansas and enjoy the family fun there, Wallet Hub.