Tag Archives: Safety

The Car is Not a Dog Park

OK, so Lauren Fix, the Car Coach (you’ve seen her on the TODAY show), writes for us now and then.  She sent us a great article on Pet Safety and Your Car.

We looked through this and saw that our dog, Lovey, probably believes that our car is a dog park.  We let her do everything in the car she shouldn’t – sit in my lap, move from front to back seat, and we let her hang out her window (though I hang on to her).

So, we’re revising our car routine for Lovey so everyone is safe.

Thanks for the tips Lauren!

– Susan

Happy 4th – and Stay Safe!

Good info from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

1. Use fireworks outdoors only.
2. Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
3. Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
4. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
5. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
6. Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
7. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
8. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
9. Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

Have a wonderful 4th!

– Susan

Seat Belt Safety

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,


Grilling on Memorial Day Weekend – Don’t Blow Up the House

It’s finally warm and we’re grilling out with friends this weekend.

The grill has been hibernating since last fall; we’ll be going through tips our writers put together on grilling safety so we don’t inadvertently blow up the house or set the dog on fire.

Here’s good info on BBQ safety from the Home Safety Council.

We just posted this on backyard fire pit safety.

Here are a couple of good tips from both articles.

  1. Establish a ‘no-kid zone’ around the BBQ and the fire pit.
  2. Never leave children unsupervised. Kids tend to not realize the danger in fire and are fearless when it comes to getting close to one. Children can be careless when walking or playing around a fire and get seriously hurt.
  3. Don’t eat too many cheeseburgers at once. Pace yourself.  There a lots of parties. Remember – it’s a three-day weekend.

Ok, that last one isn’t in any of the articles…Just good advice.

Watch the kids (and the dogs) and have fun this weekend!


How to Smartly Study Abroad

by Lauren, our college blogger

I have previously written a blog entry for WHN about the benefits of studying abroad and what to start thinking about before starting your adventure abroad. Now that the application and admission process is complete, here are some basic travel tips on how students can make their time abroad as memorable and stress-free as possible!

Research, Research, Research!

  • Study up on fashion trends of your destination. As a study abroad student, the last thing you want to do is stick out like an American tourist. Pay attention to what people wear and try to fit in as much as possible. This will be a key step if you are looking to be completely immersed into a culture.
  • Mind your Ps&Qs.Learn the social customs and proper etiquette to show your respect for the culture, as well as avoiding offending anyone unintentionally
  • Know the current events of both your own country as well as your new home. People are going to be interested in where your come from and what you think about their country. Knowing the political structure is very important, as many people will ask your opinion as an American.

Pack Lightly

The biggest bummer imaginable is lugging around large amounts of luggage, especially internationally. Even through studying abroad usually means having to pack for a semester or two, try to pack as little as possible.

  • Only bring necessities you cannot live without or get out of America.Everything else can be purchased in your study abroad location. The majority of airlines only allow two large pieces of luggage, which could still be a lot to travel with.
  • My friends that have gone or are currently abroad have suggested taking a big travel backpack that you can find in sporting good stores. They are easy to carry and you can fit a lot into them. Leave room in the bags for all those fabulous souvenirs you pick up!

Keep Safe

Just because you are having amazing adventures abroad does not mean safety takes a back seat. Use the same common sense that you would use in America

  • Avoid going out at night alone for the obvious reasons.Going out with a group of friends is much more fun anyways!
  • Always have a mode of communication so incase anything does go wrong, you will not be stranded without help.
  • Befriend locals but be careful! All the same rules apply. They could be great people at first but can easily turn into an unwanted personality.

Cell Phones are a MUST

One of the most important requirements of the majority study abroad programs is to have a cell phone within the first week upon arrival. A cell phone is crucial for emergencies, as well as keeping an active social life! Instead of buying an international cell phone plan in the United States, go for the pay-as-you-go phone in the country of choice. These are much cheaper and do not tie you into binding contracts.

As College Students We Have Nothing Anyways, So What Happens When You Get The Little Bit You Have Stolen?

by Lauren, our college blogger

This past semester I was pick-pocketed on Chicago’s ‘El’ after a night out! Not exactly a great way to end a fun night out with friends. The train was packed and everyone was squished closely together…making it very easy for someone to reach into my bag and take my wallet. Needless to say I learned the hard way by loosing my room key, my school ID, my public transportation pass, my cash cards, and gift cards. Here is some advice on what I learned on what I will be doing to prevent this happening again in the future.

School ID

  • As a college student, this is pretty much your life on a plastic card. Entrance into buildings, mailroom access, your campus cash, and more are all programmed into this card. The first thing I did when I got back to my dorm after noticing my school ID was missing was go to my RA’s room and let them know my wallet had been stolen. This was the smartest move I could have done because the RAs were able to give me a temporary access pass until I was able to go buy another school ID during the week.

Campus Safety

  • PUT THIS NUMBER IN YOUR PHONE!I found myself without it, and when my RAs were not answering their doors at 3:00 AM I desperately needed this number to get back into my room. I had to call my mother so she could look up the number. They were able to help me right away and were super helpful when I filled out a crime report the next day. Something a lot worse could have happened and I would have been in a lot of trouble without this number.

Credit Cards

  • This is an obvious one, but if there is any sort of credit or debit card make sure it cancel it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The first thing I did after getting into my room was call the banks and go online to their websites to make sure my cards were canceled. The next day I went to my bank and made sure everything was canceled and told them the situation. They gave me a temporary ATM card to use while they mailed me my new card.

Watch Yourself

  • I was in a very crowded train when this happened and it was standing room only when my wallet was taken out of my purse. I always thought nothing like this would happen to me if I was with my purse at all times. Be aware of the people around you. I moved when I noticed a sketchy person close to me, but I think it may have been too late….Keep personal items in your view, even though my purse was on my arm I still was not paying attention. If I had my purse in front of me in my line of vision none of this would have happened.

Travel Lightly

  • Finally, make sure when you are go out you only take with you what you really need. I didn’t need to be carrying both of my debit cards, my gift cards, or even my work ID. My room key was also attached to my wallet and I would have been much better off if I put it on a separate key chain with my other keys. If you are going out ONLY bring what you know you will need, because it is so much better to have only a few things taken than your whole life inside a wallet

High Chair Recall

MSNBC is reporting that people should stop using these products immediately –

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Evenflo Co., announced Thursday a voluntary recall of about 643,000 Envision high chairs and expanded a recall of 90,000 Majestic model high chairs. Both models of high chairs were recalled due to risks from falls and choking hazards.”

If you suspect something might be wrong with a product you have, contact the appropriate agency – here’s a list:

Recalls.gov – This U.S. government recalls from six major federal agencies including-

  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – Reviews potential problems from more than 15,000 types of consumer products.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Recalls about and problems with motor vehicles, child safety devices, tires, etc.
  3. U.S. Coast Guard —Defects on boats made or imported into the United States.
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration —Product actions of the last 60 days, based on distribution and degree of health risk.
  5. Food Safety and Inspection Service —Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, monitoring meat, poultry, and eggs.
  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Monitoring potential problems caused by pesticides. U.S. EPA

Here’s a link to the article ….

Check the Smoke Detectors in Your Home

Having a working smoke alarm reduces your chance of dying in a fire by nearly one-half, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA).  You should have smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside bedrooms.  If you keep bedroom doors closed, put a smoke alarm in each bedroom

Here are more smart tips from their site:

  1. Test your alarm and check or replace your batteries today, along with the following ‘starter list.’
  2. Make sure you have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers for each floor of your home. Check with your fire department or building code official if there are code requirements for additional alarms.
  3. Many hardware, home supply or general merchandise stores carry smoke alarms.
  4. Make sure the alarm you buy is UL-listed. The Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit, product-safety testing and certification organization and has tested products for public safety for more than a century.

What to know about smoke detectors

There are two different types of smoke detectors available:

  1. Ionization smoke detectors typically are better at detecting fast flaming fires, which consume combustible materials rapidly and spread quickly. Examples of fast flaming fires include paper burning in a wastebasket, or a grease fire in the kitchen.
  2. Photoelectric smoke detectors generally are more effective on slow smoldering fires. These are fires that smolder for hours before bursting into flames, such as when a lighted cigarette is dropped onto a couch or bedding.

Things to know about these detectors -

  1. Some detectors have a dual sensor, which can detect both ionization (fast flames) and photoelectric (smoldering) fires.
  2. Consider purchasing ‘wireless’ or ‘interconnected’ alarm systems. This means when one alarm goes off, it will trigger the other alarms.
  3. Follow instructions for proper use and installation.
  • Generally speaking, the smoke alarms should be near bedrooms, either on the ceiling or six to twelve inches below the ceiling on the wall.
  • If on the ceiling, the smoke detector should be mounted away from corners and walls (at least 8-10 inches away).
  • In a room with a pitched ceiling, a smoke detector should be mounted at or near the ceiling’s highest point.
  • Locate smoke alarms away from air vents.

Smoke detector facts and care

  1. Smoke alarms should be replaced every eight to ten years.
  2. Consider writing the purchase date on your alarm with a permanent marker. That way, you’ll know when to replace it.
  3. Smoke detectors should not be painted.
  4. Test! Press the “test” button for a few seconds – this will activate the alarm.
  5. Clean! Smoke alarms are particle-sensitive and dust, lint or cobwebs can limit its ability to detect smoke. Keep smoke alarms clean by vacuuming the surface and around the alarm with a vacuum attachment.
  6. Replace the batteries twice a year, or earlier if necessary. (Here’s a WHN reader tip – Change smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.)
  7. Never disconnect a good smoke detector battery if it alarms due to cooking or to use the battery for other purposes. You may not remember to put the batteries back in after cooking.

Conduct home fire drills monthly to test the condition of your equipment and ensure your family knows what to do in the event of a fire. Periodically, test the smoke alarm when your children are sleeping: reports show that children often sleep too soundly to hear the alarm.

Here’s another WHN reader tip: If you have children or elderly adults in your home, they may sleep through the alarm. Consider alternative devices such as voice warning systems or low frequency alarms. Use these together with regular smoke detectors.

– Susan

    Baby Gear You Can Skip (and save some money!)

    We were visiting one of our soon to deliver moms yesterday and she had some last minute questions. One was ‘Should she get a bath seat that suctions to the tub bottom?’

    Our answer is no – and that reminded us that we have a list of products that we think you should just skip. These are a few items we feel are either unnecessary or are considered a safety risk:

    • Sleep positioners:  Those wedge-shaped foam pieces can be a suffocation hazard.
    • Crib bedding sets:  Yes, we know they are adorable, but cute quilts, bumpers and pillows can be a suffocation risk. Keep that crib simple – just a tight-fitting crib sheet and a light blanket.
    • Bottle sterilizer:  You can wash bottles in the top rack of your dishwasher or by hand with hot water and dish detergent.
    • Wipes warmer: We will admit we had one Mom who said she couldn’t live without it, but realistically do you want your baby to get used to warm wipes all the time? Also, the heat from them can damage the finish of a dresser or nightstand.
    • Ear, oral, forehead, or under-the-arm thermometers? No – rectal models are the most precise.
    • Last but not least: That bath seat we discussed earlier. It poses a drowning risk.

    We hope this helped clear up a few of the misconceptions that are out there about these products.

    See you soon for more baby-related information,

    - WHN baby-bloggers Sarah and Linda at Planning4Baby.com