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.
Weather.com is reporting that it’s about to get Arctic cold for most of the US, particularly the East and Midwest.
Here are some of our tips on getting the family as ready as possible for the cold blast:
- Plan Ahead:
Have extra blankets on hand and if possible, make sure everyone has:
– warm coat
– gloves or mittens
– warm socks
– water-resistant boots
- Emergency response and school closings
Know the emergency response plan for your workplace, each child’s school or daycare center, as well as other places where your family spends time.
- Basic house knowledge
Make sure your older family members know basic first aid and house skills (how to turn off the house water, gas and electricity at the main valves or switches.)
And, listen to your local weather forecaster and read through the following tips to keep your family warm in winter weather.
More details at: Getting Your Family Ready for Winter.
In light of the sub-freezing temps around the country, we’re re-posting advice about dogs and cold weather.
I’m ready to come inside
In January, 2009, we spoke to Dr. Eric Ruhland, a veterinarian from Hastings, Minnesota, (current temp today: 1, feels like -12) and asked him about his guidelines for keeping dogs safe in this frigid weather.
1. Small Dogs (under 20 pounds, up to 50)
Smaller breeds get colder faster. Keep them outdoors no more that five minutes.
Why? Small dogs, like Yorkies, have a larger surface to volume ratio – which means more surface area and smaller bodies (the opposite of an elephant which has a lot of volume).
2. Large Dogs (over 50 pounds)
Larger dogs, like German Shepherds, can be outside up to 10 minutes in this freezing weather.
3. An Outdoor Dog?
If you have a dog that’s always outside no matter what, they need an enclosed area of an enclosed exclusion from the elements that has at least six inches of bedding. There are laws in every state for keeping a dog safe and outdoors. As an example, here is Minnesota’s law.
4. For All Dogs
For all dogs, watch for frostbite. Dr. Ruhland says there are several areas to be concerned about:
- Noses (they are wet and can easily freeze)
- The inside back of the thighs (almost no hair!)
- The insides of ears
- Ear tips
And Dr. Ruhland’s rule of thumb? If you think it’s cold outside, so does your dog.
Thanks Dr. Ruhland!
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.
If you’re bicycling around town – experts advise you know your buffer zone.
For instance – a bicycle commuting instructor from Seattle Washington says, ‘The driver thinks they can beat you and they underestimate the speed at which a bicycle can travel.’ Watch when you come to driveways, intersections and passing lanes!
Read the 6 tips here.
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.
This is usually a week where family hangs out after the holidays. In a calm moment at the house, scream ‘Fire’ and see who knows gets out of the house quickly and safely.
If no one knows how to get out, create a home emergency exit plan this Saturday or Sunday.
- Draw a floor plan of your residence. Mark two escape routes from each room, in case of flooding or fire. If your home has more than one story, make sure there is a way to safely exit the upper floors.
- Place a copy of each plan in each room in an obvious location – like on a door (just like hotels do!).
- Practice your escape plan every month using two exits. Make sure windows and doors aren’t stuck (winter freeze?) and that screens can be removed.
- Practice at night to see how long family members take to wake up. You should also practice blindfolded. Why? This mimics the darkness of smoke. Smoke makes it very difficult to see anything as you try to get out.
- Designate a place for everyone to meet outside. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of this place (so you can call if the emergency happens and you’re not there). Consider a neighbor’s house or nearby gas station.
Also, get your kids involved with this; they’ll need to know how to get out as well. Here are some good tips:
- Have your kids choose the place where to meet in case you need to leave the house immediately. Make a deal with your kids that they will stay in that spot until they are told by firefighters or police that it is OK to move. Make sure this meeting place is away from the road and driveway – first responder vehicles will drive on these.
- You’ve done the family escape plan – have the kids color in escape routes (remember they have to have two exits to color in).
- Have your kids choose where they’d like to place the escape plan in their room (you need to make it easily accessible) as well as other rooms in the house.
Also, you may not be home when an emergency or fire strikes – so ….
- Know the emergency response plan adn phone numbers for your workplace, your children’s school or day-care center, as well as other places where your family spends time.
- Also, meet with neighbors either informally or through a neighborhood group to create a neighborhood preparedness plan. Learn what neighbors or relatives may require extra assistance.
OK, that should fill a couple of hours this weekend. Have a safe and happy new year!
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!!
Every year, fires during the holiday season (which we’re stretching from Halloween through New Year’s) cause around $930 million dollars in property damage. Take extra precautions by following these tips.
- When we say ‘holiday’ we mean Halloween, Thanksgiving, religious holidays and New Year’s Eve.
- Consider using decor (artificial tree, scarecrow) that is labeled “flame resistant.”
- Do not place your tree, lit pumpkin or outdoor lights close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.
- If you do use an evergreen, water it daily to keep it from drying out.
- Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
- If you do use an evergreen, water it daily to keep it from drying out.
- Make sure to inspect stringed lights and window ornaments annually for deterioration.
- Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe.
- Use lights in their designed areas. Don’t use ‘indoor’ lights outside.
- Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
- All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
- Don’t burn wrapping paper, candy wrappers, or boxes in your fireplace.
- For pumpkins, trees, outdoor decor and wreaths: Consider battery-operated candles instead of ‘real’ ones. Check out SmartCandle and Amazon.com, which has a slew of options.
- If you have a party with smokers, you should always check between sofa and chair pads because cigarettes, cigars and other items can drop down and smolder for hours before you even know the fire has started.
- Don’t smoke in bed or while sitting in furniture.
- Don’t leave burning cigarettes in an ashtray.
- Keep lighters and matches out of sight and reach from children.
- If you smoke outdoors, be sure to take in all ashtrays and cigarette butts so the wind does not blow the ashtray contents around your property.
- Make sure all butts have be extinguished before emptying the ashtrays.
The goal: Safety first, fun second.