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THE FAMILY FILE

'90s FAMILY : Pack 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out

August 30, 1995

Countdown time--the kids are going back to school any day now. Celebrate with a snazzy new school bag or backpack in eye-popping colors. Gizmo bags include reflective tape on the front flaps, side panels and shoulder straps so kids can be seen coming and going. The totes also have a hidden ID patch, padded backs and straps, and pebbled bottoms, making it harder to tear up the material when the bag is dragged on the ground as you know it will be.

You may even want to think ahead about that next family trip and pop for a child-proportioned piece of luggage with four-wheel drive and a pull handle. It's guaranteed your child will feel terribly grown up with that first piece of luggage, and then you can chuck that hand-me-down contraption the kid's been lugging around. Available at Imaginarium stores or call Mascot Metropolitan Inc. at (800) 949-1288.

You May Find This Hard to Swallow But . . .

Family hikers and backpackers may be tempted to drink fresh water right out of the mountain spring. No swigging unless you want a mouthful of microbes. Protozoa are a real threat even in water that appears to be perfectly clear, says Dr. Eric A. Weiss, assistant professor of surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.

Giardia--which causes stomach bloating and cramps, gas and diarrhea--is the protozoan you're most likely to encounter in our waters. "If you bring your water to the boiling point, you can be pretty certain you have gotten rid of giardia and everything else that may reasonably be there," says Weiss. Chemical additives such as iodine and chlorine are not always 100% effective.

Briefly . . .

The Los Angeles Master Chorale invites the audience to join in during "Bridging Cultural Harmony." The eight-member Chamber Singers will present the interactive segment during the 50-minute concert at 10 a.m. Saturday at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. $10 adults; $7 under age 18. Call (213) 466-1767 for tickets. . . . Free crib to the first 100 moms to prove they went into labor and delivered on Labor Day. Send copies of hospital admissions record and birth certificate that prove you gave birth Sept. 4 to: Ikea's "A Labor Day to Remember," c/o Jericho Promotions, 924 Broadway, 4th floor, New York, N.Y. 10010. . . . American Legion Post No. 539, will host a free seminar, given by the American Assn. of Independent Paralegals (AAIP), on "The Living Trust." If you determine that you need a living trust, AAIP will do it for $399, which represents a $100 discount for seminar attendees. It's at 2 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Elk's Lodge, 607 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. (800) 232-9455. . . Parenting classes begin Sept. 18 at the nonprofit Center for Individual and Family Counseling, 5445 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood. Ten-week courses cost $100 a person; $150 per couple. Call (818) 761-2227 to enroll.

* This family roundup appears on Wednesdays. Items to be considered should be mailed 3 1/2 weeks before the event to Candace A. Wedlan, The Family File, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053. Fax: (213) 237-4888.

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