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CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT is a campaign launched by the Department of Health to help reduce the spread of cold and flu viruses. So if you're sick of your hacking cough or your child's streaming nose, find out how to stop it spreading here.

Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

Where after much careful deliberation, we've selected the winning captions for the posters to publicise Toddlers: The Mumsnet Guide. Many thanks to all for your witty caption ideas and particularly to our winners, marmaduke, shitemum, LeninGrad and GiraffeAHolic. You can order some posters (ready in a few days) to put up at your GP's, nursery, church hall, newsagents etc by emailing marketing@bloomsbury.com with 'mumsnet' in the subject line.

Book club news: Catch up with the January book club chat if you missed the discussion of I Capture the Castle. There's still plenty of time to order The Enchanted April, February's book of the month and read it before the chat on 24 Feb. Go on, it's supposed to be a cracker.

Now for this week's parenting news ...

No booze for kids: Children aged under 15 should not be given alcohol, even in small quantities, England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson told parents this week. He said childhood should be an 'alcohol-free time', and that children who drank were at risk of 'serious harm'. The guidance, which comes after a recent survey suggested 20% of 13 year olds drink alcohol at least once a week, will say children over 15 should only have alcohol one day a week, under supervision from carers or parents. Ministers are worried by rising rates of binge drinking in young people (BBC Online 29.01.09).

Childcare – expensive and scarce: The cost of full-time nursery care has risen above the rate of inflation and now costs between £8,700 and £20,800 a year, according to new figures. This represents a rise of 5% (inflation is 3.1%). In London, the increase was 15%. According to the Daycare Trust, parents are worried about a shortage of childcare as well as its cost: 59% of local authorities reported insufficient childcare places for under-12s in their area (Guardian 28.01.09).

Other stories in brief

All eight octuplets born prematurely in the US are breathing on their own after three were removed from ventilators, and are doing "very, very well" (BBC Online 29.01.09); a British woman is the first in the world to conceive using a new IVF technique that screens eggs for abnormal choromosomes and that could, it's claimed, more than double the success rate for pregnancies (Daily Mail 27.01.09); treating children in intensive care with regular does of insulin may lead to quicker recovery, according to new research (Daily Telegraph 26.01.09); babies are born with a natural sense of rhythm, acording to scientists who played rock songs to newborns - the babies noticed when a beat was intentionally missed out and the scientists say this means they innately understand musical timing (Guardian 27.01.09).

PERFORM Boost your child’s confidence, improve their concentration, give them a creative outlet to make new friends and have fun. Try a FREE class at Perform (4-8s), Perform Plus (8-12s) or Mini Ps (3 months – 3 years). 120 venues across London and the SE. www.perform.org.uk

Hot threads

Spice of life - how do you introduce your child to hot food?
Iron age - when did your child learn to use household appliances?
C-section blues - how do you deal with them?
Bare necessities - what kit is essential for a newborn?
Tinsel in June - what's the strangest thing you've found in a nappy?

Competitions

This week's great prizes are two bumper sets of Orion Children's Books worth £160, including all 16 of the best-selling series The Roman Mysteries, three audio CDs and Caroline Lawrence's new book The Prophet from Ephesus. All you have to do to enter is add a review in our children's book reviews.

Quote of the week

KayHarker on discovering that Saint Anne, mother of Mary, is the patron saint of women in labour, and miners: "Oh, I dunno, makes a weird kind of sense. In my third delivery, they did send a canary up to check for poisonous gas."

IT ALL ADDS UP: try Cornhill Direct's household economy calculator and work out who does most in your home and how much you would get if you were paid market rates for domestic chores. Give your feedback here and have the chance to win £100 of vouchers.

And this week's hot tips from Mumsnetters if you’re looking for a day out include:

Aitch's TV round-up: Terry Pratchett – Living With Alzheimer's, BBC2, Wed 4 February, 9pm
Judging by the Weatherwaxes, the Greebos and the Dibblers on MN, ours is a Pratchett-loving forum. And rightly so, judging by his bravery in confronting the outright 'embuggerance' that is his rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's. In these touching films, he wants to 'name the demon' and confront the stigma attached to his illness, travelling to the States to meet the quacks and docs who may be able to help him. Read more...

Carmenere's recipe of the week: Try LemonMagnolia's Marmalade recipe for some instant old-fashioned family values. 
Filling the house with the smell of oranges and sugar cooking earns you a LOT of traditional mothering points and cancels out any damage that fast food, Fruit Shoots and CBeebies may do to your child.


That's all folks, hope to catch you at the MN book launch where MP is promising to sign all our norks.
Love,
Mumsnet Towers

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