Here’s why we like the Find Friends app – you can find your family members and friends in an emergency (or everyday use at the mall, on a trip, anywhere)
You can see my two family members on the map (the tiny circles).
If you’re interested, just download the app, then add people important to you. The app sends a request to that person who accepts the invite (or they should :).
It’s great for peace of mind – especially in an emergency.
This Halloween, take a few moments and get your house ready for the festivities.
- Avoid tripping trick-or-treaters!
Take things like hoses, ladders, flowerpots, wires, lawn furniture and bikes off your porch, driveway and sidewalk – anywhere you think kids (or adults) may be walking on Halloween.
- Turn on porch and outside lights
It’s easier for trick-or-treaters to see! (This is a good time to replace burnt-out, outdoor light bulbs.)
- Clean sweep
Sweep the leaves off your walkways and porches.
- Clear the path
Keep outdoor decor, jack-o-lanterns and candles away from sidewalks, dry leaves, and Halloween decorations – you get the idea.
Dogs, cats and other pets may be frightened or excited by the ringing doorbell, trick-or-treat screaming and unexpected Halloween visitors. If you have an excitable pet, consider putting him or her in a safe, quiet area away from the festivities.
- Candy – or no?
Purchase individually wrapped candies. Or, consider handing out non-candy alternatives like colored pencils, erasers, small pads of paper (perfect for notes, doodles and diaries.)
- Not home?
If you are going out, remember to turn on home security systems and lock doors and windows. And, don’t leave the porch light on! In many communities, a lit porch light means you’re ready for trick-or-treaters.
If you’re out driving, be cautious and go slowly – Halloween is Saturday this year and a big night for kids and families and they are walking the neighborhood.
With the kids back in school, you’re probably driving a car load of kids to soccer practice, ballet classes, baseball games and more.
Here are some kids and casr safety tips to share with all of the kids you’re taking around town.
- Never start the car until EVERYONE, including yourself, are buckled up.
- Remind children not to distract the driver while the vehicle is in motion.
- “Everyone must buckle up, no matter how short the trip,” says Jennifer Huebner from the AAA’s Traffic Safety Programs. Setting a consistent message each and every time reinforces the safety habit.
- “Everyone should have their own seat belt,” says Amanda Giruzzi, a representative of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Children should also be reminded to never sit in the car unless there is a seat belt for them. If there are only three seat belts in the back seat then only three kids should sit back there.”
- “Even if they’re riding in someone else’s car, they need to buckle up,” says Huebner. If kids feel like they are in an unsafe vehicle, like being asked to ride in the bed of a pickup, or if the driver seems unfit to drive, “your child should never get into a vehicle if they feel unsafe.”
Here are more tips on kids and car safety.
Yesterday we posted some info from the US Fire Administration and Safe Kids USA on fire safety around the holidays. Today we’re looking at what they have to say about trimming the Christmas tree:
If you decorate a tree, Safe Kids USA and the USFA recommend these precautions:
- Never leave a lighted Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended.
- Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections, and broken sockets.
- Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
- Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize this risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times.
- Do not put a live tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator, or heat vent.
- Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood, or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
Decorate with children in mind:
- Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
- Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level
- Keep lights out of reach.
Safe Kids USA offers these tips to prevent poisoning (take note of the berries for pets as well as kids!)
- Keep alcohol (including baking extracts) out of reach
- Do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
- Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach.
- Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.
- Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.
- In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.
Here’s a stat that wakes you up: the top four days for candle fires are around Christmas and New Years, according to a release from the US Fire Administration. They’ve joined with Safe Kids USA to talk about fire safety and kids this season.
They also say that candles started over 15,000 house fires in the US in 2005. That would probably wipe out a good portion of your neighborhood.
Also – from their release – Wintertime is the most dangerous time of the year for injuries and deaths from fire. Each year, approximately 450 children ages 14 and under die in residential fires; children under the age of 5 are at the greatest risk.
Here are their tips:
- Battery-operated flameless candles are an alternative that does not have a fire risk.
- Decorative lighting should be labeled with the seal of an independent testing lab and should only be used outdoors if it’s labeled for outdoor use.
And some tips from Suzanne Morton, Safe Kids USA fire and burn safety program manager:
- Never, never leave lit candles unattended
- Don’t put candles on a tree or a natural wreath, or near curtains or drapes
- Keep matches and lighters locked out of reach of children
November is National Adoption Month. There are a couple of sites with information on this month’s focus –
AdoptUsKids. The goal of National Adoption Month in 2009 is to increase awareness of the need for recruiting and retaining foster and adoptive parents. Good info on the several ways you can contribute to this cause (no matter who you are – they have a link….)
The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) has interesting statistics here.
Organizations behind this month’s focus the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Ad Council, AdoptUsKids, and Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Halloween is this Saturday – which is a big night for kids (candy and costumes) as well as adults (beverages and costumes).
For Adults – Five Tips:
- If you’re driving, be cautious and go slowly – watch for kids and families as they walk through neighborhoods.
- Trick or treating with the kids? Watch them – if they are in masks or have a large costume, their vision (and coordination) may be less that perfect. (Read this to be sure the costumes are safe!)
- Remind kids that rules still apply. (Like – look both ways before crossing the road, travel in groups, don’t leave the group, and no running.)
- Have pets at home? If trick or treaters, ringing doorbells and strangers are too much, keep your dog or cat away from the front door.
- Don’t have kids and going out to a party? Crazy costumes + adult beverages = Get a cab.
– The WHN Team
When we think of Halloween, costumes and candy usually pop into mind. However with all the fun it’s easy to forget about safety.
Here are a few costume tips from Jenna B., our guest blogger and child life specialist at Children’s Hospital in Minnesota.
Jenna writes: As a child life specialist in the ER, I never quite know what’s going to happen on any given day…especially a holiday. When I worked in the ER one Halloween night, I saw several Halloween costume-related injuries including –
- A boy in a Star Wars costume who had accidentally poked himself in the eye with a plastic light saber
- Another boy with a gash on his knee after he tripped on his Superman cape
- A girl who needed stitches on her forehead after tripping and falling on the skirt of her Cinderella dress
- A boy who needed stitches on his chin from crashing into a wall while wearing a Spider-Man mask he couldn’t see out of.
There seem to be three common “Halloween hazards” for kids in costume:
- Costumes that are too big or baggy.
- No overly-large or baggy costumes – they cause tripping! If kids do have big costumes, consider cutting and trimming if they are overly baggy. Watch if they have a cape, cloak, a long train or loose ribbons or rope. This can be an accident waiting to happen.
- Masks or other head coverings that obstruct vision.
- It gets dark early this time of year, remember that wearing a mask in the dark makes it even harder to see. This can lead to a painful collision with an unseen object. Encourage kids to use face paint, glitter, or stickers rather than face-covering masks.
- Consider adding reflective tape to the fabric of your child’s costume so cars have a better chance of seeing kids.
- Swords, magic wands or light sabers.
- While accessories make the costume, they can be dangerous – particularly if your kids aren’t looking where they swing the magic wand or light saber. If your child insists on carrying a prop with their costume, encourage them to carry one that is rubber, plastic or non-pointy, so that won’t hurt themselves (or someone else!) by mistake.
- Extra tip: And lastly, just in case of emergency –
- Inside the costume: Write your child’s name and the best phone number to reach you at. Or, match the costume with a cool ID bracelet that has this same info.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!!
Quick Tip: There’s lots of talk about getting the H1N1 shot (yes or no?).
No matter what you decide, here is great info (with a form!) to track your family’s medical history and vaccination schedule .
Here in Minnesota, we just passed a seat belt safety law. If you’re stopped for not wearing a seat belt, you’re fined $25.
Our friends at WCCO/CBS have a good story on it. It’s here. (Always good news and info from WCCO.)
And you’ll see our accompanying article on Kids and Car Safety. This is one of my favorites – practical, good tips from experts as well as moms and dads on safety in AND out of the car.
Please read it -Kids and Car Safety.
Have a good day,