Posts Tagged ‘safety’

8 Sneaky Signs Your Child’s Being Bullied

Bullying has been around since man started forming relationships. It is inevitable. Unfortunately, in today’s society there seems to be so many more avenues for a bully to utilize to attack their prey. With all of the pressures our kids face day to day, it becomes difficult sometimes to recognize the warning signals of a bullie’s attack. This article is very helpful in making parents aware of some subtle signs to look for. I wish with all my heart that none of your children every suffer from the callousness of a bully. In the meantime, it’s a parent’s duty to be armed with all of the information they can to protect their child.

8 Sneaky Signs Your Child’s Being Bullied

via Woman’s Day / Team Mom – Yahoo! Shine
by Dawn Papandrea

Your child would tell you if he’s being bullied, right? Maybe not. “It’s painful to say, ‘I’m being targeted,'” says Cynthia Lowen, producer and writer of the documentary film, Bully, and co-author of the forthcoming book The Essential Guide to Bullying. While there’s more bullying awareness than ever (who hasn’t heard about the bullied bus matron?), children still fear their parents’ response to the harassment can make the situation worse, says Lowen. Another reason kids may keep this info to themselves: “They may worry that admitting they’re victims will disappoint their parents,” says Jerry Weichman, PhD, a licensed psychologist specializing in teens and tweens at California’s Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, CA, and author of How to Deal. That’s why it’s important to know how to spot the signs of bullying, which aren’t as obvious as you’d think. Here are some surprising red flags to look for.

1. Sharing bullying euphemisms

When you ask your child about his day, and he says there’s “drama” at school or kids were “messing around,” it could be code for “I’m being bullied,” explains Cindy Miller, a New Jersey-based licensed school social worker, psychotherapist and Lowen’s co-author on The Essential Guide to Bullying. If you hear that language often, ask for specifics, she suggests. For instance: “When you say ‘messing around,’ did anyone get physical with you? Did someone spread a rumor about you or call you a name? How did you feel when the ‘drama’ occurred?”

If your child still doesn’t open up, tell him the difference between reporting and tattling. “Reporting is stating that someone’s hurting you and you’re trying to get help. Tattling is trying to get someone in trouble,” says Miller. This way, he knows there’s nothing wrong about giving facts.

2. Coming home hungry

Before you assume your little luncher is simply sick of PB&J, consider what else might be going on in the cafeteria. Perhaps another student is taking his food. Or maybe your child is giving away items voluntarily to become better-liked-or avoiding eating because he fears being ridiculed about his weight or what he’s eating, says Miller. Again, asking direct questions in a non-threatening way here is key, says Lowen. Try: “Who did you sit with at lunch today? Did you like your food? What did you and your friends talk about?”

3. Coming home from school late

You may think he’s hanging out with friends, but he may be taking a longer route home or skipping the bus to avoid bullies, says Miller. A change in after-school routine is how Tara Kennedy Kline of Shoemakersville, PA, realized something wasn’t right. “He started calling me from the bus and asking me if his older buddies could come to our house after school,” she says. Normally, her son was only allowed to have friends over after homework was done, and not at all if his parents weren’t home. “Blatantly disregarding our rule was a red flag for us,” she says. Soon after, she learned about a bullying incident that happened on the bus. So trust your instincts and dig deeper if your child does something out of character.

4. Frequently losing or damaging his things

Sure, kids can be careless and clumsy, but missing or torn/broken belongings can be signs of bullying. “Bookbags getting ripped. Someone takes something. Shoes thrown out of the window of the bus. These are all things bullied kids have told me happened to them,” says Lowen. What’s worse is that children are afraid to tell their parents about things like broken glasses in tough economic times, she says. Lowen also points out that some children give possessions away to win favor with the popular kids. “Parents should keep an account of what’s missing and follow up on their child’s excuse with other parents, teachers or school administrators,” suggests Dr. Weichman. If there’s a discrepancy between your child’s excuse and the explanation an adult gives, your child may be covering for someone’s bad behavior.

5. Becoming upset after getting a text or going online

In the age of cyber-bullying, the end of a school day doesn’t always offer taunted kids a reprieve. “If a parent suspects that cyber-bullying may be going on, she should first confront her child with her concerns, but also verify with monitoring software,” advises Dr. Weichman. Beyond using parental spyware, it’s important to keep computers in common areas at home, such as in the kitchen or family room, says Lowen. “If your child is in his bedroom for two hours and a situation is getting larger than life, he can feel like the entire world is turning on him,” she warns. And it’s hard to prevent your child from responding negatively if you can’t see the situation unfolding.

6. Wearing long sleeves all the time or covering up when it doesn’t seem warranted

Don’t shrug off your child’s desire to keep covered as shyness or a fashion statement. There might be visible signs of physical bullying he’s trying to conceal. And here’s why: One reaction that parents often have is, ‘you have to stand up for yourself’ or ‘hit him back,'” says Lowen. But a child may not be capable of or willing to follow that advice, so he hides bruises and cuts rather than face his parents’ judgment. If you suspect your child is hiding injuries, don’t react in a shocked or confrontational manner. Phrases such as “Tell me who did this to you right now!” should be avoided, says Dr. Weichman. Instead, put on your poker face and ask what’s going on that might have contributed to the injuries.

7. Disappearing friends

Most parents know who their children pal around with: who calls every night, who they join forces with for school projects, who’s sleeping over. If the usual suspects are MIA, it might be more than the clique simply growing apart. “If your child’s circle suddenly isn’t around, ask, ‘Where are your friends? What are they doing?'” suggests Lowen. When the Mishra family moved back to their old neighborhood in North Carolina, their teen daughter was excited to reconnect with her grammar-school friends. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. “One former friend decided she didn’t like my daughter anymore and told the host of an upcoming party that my? child shouldn’t be invited,” says Mishra. “That was when I realized that this was not harmless ?jealousy but outright bullying.” Mishra’s daughter is now considering moving in with ?her grandparents in Michigan for her senior year.

8. Claiming that after-school activities were cancelled or practice ended early

Cancellations happen, but if they’re happening a lot, your child may be hiding that he’s dropped out of an activity because of bullying. Changes in routine and a loss of interest in favorite hobbies are usually good indicators that something’s amiss. “Kids send out distress signals when they’re in trouble,” says Miller. It’s up to you to stay attuned, and get your child to open up. And when he clues you in, keep two things in mind. “You have to believe him, and it’s probably worse than he’s letting on,” says Lowen.

Whether or not you spot these signs in your child, start an open dialogue about bullying so he knows you can be counted on, says Dr. Weichman. “Kids need to be reassured that sharing what’s going on with their parents is both safe and non-judgmental.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock



Gun Safety

In light of recent events in Aurora, CO I came across this article via a Twitter post. While the information here couldn’t have influenced the events of that night, I am posting it as a reference should parents need it. I grew up in a house with guns. My father was/is an avid hunter. Guns are a part of my own household as my husband is also an avid hunter. In both circumstances the children in the house grew up with a VERY healthy respect for the power of guns. It was always a black and white issue –  DO NOT TOUCH!!! On top of that it was ingrained in our minds that the guns were not ours. They belonged to my father or my husband and you do not touch something that does not belong to you.

Even if you think you will never ever possess a gun in your own home, I think it would be beneficial to read this article. You child may not be around guns in your surroundings but encounter their existence in the homes of friends or your acquaintances. They should know what to do and what NOT to do.

Gun Safety

via KidsHealth

Guns are in more than one third of all U.S. households, so they’re a very real danger to children, whether you own one or not. That’s why it’s important to talk to kids about the potential dangers of guns, and what to do if they find one.

If you do keep a gun in the house, it’s vital to keep it out of sight and out of reach of kids. The gun should be kept locked and unloaded, and the ammunition should be stored separately.

Guns and Pretend Play

Allowing kids to play with toy guns is a personal decision, as is how to respond to a child’s pretend shooting action during the course of play. Remember that even if you don’t allow your kids to have a toy gun, their friends may have them. So explain to your kids that real guns — unlike toy guns or those shown on TV, in movies, or in video games — can seriously injure or even kill a person.

Talking to Kids About Gun Safety

Teach kids to follow these rules from the National Rifle Association (NRA) if they come into contact with a gun:

  • stop
  • don’t touch
  • remove yourself from the area
  • tell an adult

It’s particularly important that children leave the area where the gun is located to avoid being harmed by someone who doesn’t know not to touch it. A child as young as 3 has the finger strength to pull a trigger.

It’s also important for kids to tell an adult about a gun that’s been found.

If You Have a Gun in Your Home

Many kids are raised with guns in the home, particularly if hunting is a part of family recreation. If you keep a gun in the home, it’s important to teach your kids to act in a safe and responsible way around it.

To ensure the safest environment for your family:

  • Take the ammunition out of the gun.
  • Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
  • Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
  • Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
  • Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
  • When handling or cleaning a gun, adults should never leave the gun unattended.

If you own a gun or have found one in your home and want to dispose of it, call your local police station. Do not dial 911 or an emergency line. Laws differ between states, but generally, the firearm will be checked to ensure it was not part of a criminal investigation and then it will be destroyed.

Community “buy-back” or “amnesty” days are another disposal option. These programs allow people to bring unwanted guns to a designated place where they will be made unusable. To find out if your community hosts such a program, contact your local police department — but don’t wait until such a program becomes available to dispose of an unwanted firearm.

Gun Safety Outside Your Home

Gun safety does not end when your child leaves your home. Kids can still come in contact with a gun at a neighbor’s house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances away from home.

Make sure you talk to your kids about gun safety outside your home. They might even know which friends have guns in the home and where they are stored — ask them.

Also discuss gun safety with the parents of friends if your child spends time in their homes. It may feel like an awkward conversation, but the person you ask will likely understand that you only have your child’s safety in mind. It is OK to speak up and ask! If there is a gun in the friend’s home, you need to decide if it poses a safety risk to your child. If you’re uncomfortable having your child play there, consider offering to host at your house instead.

A Word About BB and Non-powder Guns

Non-powder guns, such as ball-bearing (BB) guns, pellet guns, and paintball guns, are not regulated by the government but can cause serious injury and death.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that kids under age 16 not use high-velocity BB guns or pellet guns. And these guns should only be used under the supervision of an adult. Kids who have a BB gun, or are likely to come into contact with one, must know to never point it at anyone, including themselves.

Paintball guns are known to cause traumatic eye injuries, so kids need to wear protective eye gear. Kids should not put caps for toy guns in their pockets because these can ignite due to friction and cause burns and loud noises that can damage hearing.

Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: July 2011



Food Product Dating (Fact Sheet/USDA)

Have you ever gone into the kitchen to cook a meal – take something out of the refrigerator or cabinet and just stand there… wondering… “What does this expiration date mean?” “It’s been in the fridge for a week. I wonder if it’s still good?” I came across this Fact Sheet from the USDA (via ConsumerBell) and thought it might be a great resource of information about food product dating. Ever wonder what the difference is between “Best if used by,” “Use by,” and “Sell by”? How much to do you know about dates on egg cartons, UPC or bar codes, storage times? This fact sheet has all the info you need.

Food Product Dating

via USDA Fact Sheet

“Sell by Feb 14” is a type of information you might find on a meat or poultry product. Are dates required on food products? Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date? Here is some background information which answers these and other questions about product dating. Read the rest of this entry »

Four Food Safety Tips for the Fourth! How to Protect Your Family from a Surprising July 4th Danger

Four Food Safety Tips for the Fourth!
How to Protect Your Family
from a Surprising July 4th Danger

Posted by Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

This infographic featuring food safety tips from the Founding Fathers was created as part of the Food Safe Families consumer food safety education campaign.

Read the rest of this entry »

Simple Steps Save Lives

I can’t say it enough – You need to be vigilant when it comes to pool safety. Take precautions. Be observant,. Be proactive. Here’s another article I came across about pool safety. If being around a pool is new for you this is great information. If you’re a longtime pool user it doesn’t hurt to review. Let’s be safe around pools this summer!

Simple Steps Save Lives


Learn how simple safety steps save lives in and around pools and spas.

Parents and families can build on their current safety systems at pools and spas by adopting additional water safety steps. Adding as many proven water safety steps as possible is the best way to assure a safe and fun experience, because you can never know which one might save a child’s life—until it does.

Staying Close, Being Alert and Watching Children in and Around the Pool
  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors

Read the rest of this entry »

Tips To Keep Kids Safe Around Pools

Summer has officially started. The temperature is starting to rise. Kids are out of school and antsy. Swimming in a pool is great fun and a wonderful way to spend a summer day. I just read an article about pool safety and thought I’d pass along the important points.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2005 to 2009, an average of 3,880 people – more than 10 a day – died yearly by drowning. An estimated 5,789 people were treated in emergency rooms each year for near-fatal drowning.

Tips To Keep Kids Safe

  1. Lock pools and spasbehind a four-sided, four-foot fence with self-closing gates.
  2. Make sure pools and spas have compliant anti-entrapment drain covers and back-up devices.
  3. Be mindful that inflatable or portable pools can pose a drowning risk.
  4. Designate a “water watcher,” a responsible adult who is not distracted by phone calls, text messages, reading or talking to others.
  5. supervise children even if they know how to swim.
  6. Keep a phone near and use it only to call for help in an emergency.
  7. If a child is missing, check the water first.
  8. Learn how to swim.
  9. Never use swimming toys in place of U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
  10. Learn CPR and know how to use rescue equipment pin an emergency.
  11. Teach children water safety rules such as never swim alone or play near pool or spa drains.


Internet Safety Pledge Promotes Online Security

Internet safety has become an important issue in my family recently. As our kids get old enough to want to reach out via social media and all of the devices available to them it is important that parents take the time to talk with their kids about the internet and what it has to offer – the good and the bad. Here’s an article I came across that should help parents with that discussion

Internet Safety Pledge Promotes Online Security

via CupertinoPatch

New ‘contract’ gives parents and children an opportunity to discuss using the Internet responsibly.

Fort Lauderdale, FL –McGruff SafeGuard® recently launched an Internet Safety Pledge and Contract that helps parents keep children and teens safe online.  This is especially important during summer when kids have more free and unsupervised time to go online on mobile devices.

The Internet Safety Pledge – one for kids and one for teenagers – gives parents an opportunity to discuss their expectations for their kids’ behavior online with them.  This includes which content is appropriate to view, dangerous activities, peer pressure and more.  The contract, replete with places for parents and kids/teens to sign, formally documents expectations for online behavior between parent and child.  It reminds kids of their personal responsibility for their online behavior and safety, and reinforces parents’ rules.

Parents can’t be everywhere all the time. Review the Internet Safety Tips below, then print out the kid or teen McGruff SafeGuard Internet Safety Pledge and Contract at and have your children sign it. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: How To Treat Child Poisoning From Chemicals

This video was a link off of the article I just posted, “Laundry Detergent “Pods” Pose Danger“. Very helpful information and tips to keep kids safe.

How to Treat Child Poisoning from Chemicals / Healthline Health and Wellness Videos

 (sorry about the ad before the video)

Laundry Detergent “Pods” Pose Danger For Kids

This issue has been in the news lately. Sharing a recent article about the dangers associated with laundry “pods”.

Rise in Kids Eating Laundry Detergent “Pods”
That Look Like Candy

by Lisa Collier Cool / Yahoo Health
Sweet-smelling and colorful, but toxic, single-use laundry detergent packs or “pods” are causing a rising rate of poisoning in kids who confuse them for candy. In the past 72 hours alone, nine childhood poisonings of toddlers (typical age 23 months) have been reported to the California Poison Control System (CPCS).

Richard Geller, MD, MPH—Medical Director, California Poison Control System, Children’s Hospital, Madera—reports that accidental poisonings linked to detergent pods are becoming increasingly frequent, with 82 cases in California through the end of May. Nationally, at least 250 cases have been reported to poison control centers this year, most of them since March when the products began to hit grocery store shelves.

All of the latest childhood poisonings required emergency evaluation and treatment, with six of them linked to Tide Pods, two to Purex Ultra Packs, and one to All Mighty Paks. So far, no deaths have been reported, but nationally, a number of kids have required hospitalization—sometimes on ventilators—for several days after eating detergent pods.

All of those kids are now out of the hospital, with no long-term health problems or complications reported. Typically their symptoms cleared up in one week or less. Other pod-poisoning cases were successfully treated at home, with the parents following advice from poison control centers, or the kids were evaluated and treated in emergency rooms without the need for a hospital stay. Read the rest of this entry »

Group Warns Playground Equipment Can Reach Dangerous Temperatures

This was on the news yesterday. Thought I’d share this article.


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) by mzielinska Seeking relief from the heat at the playground can pose certain hazards. Temperatures can reach more than 170 degrees on artificial turf fields and over 160 degrees on black rubber safety surfacing, according to readings taken by the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates. Dozens of children are treated each year at the city’s burn centers for playground injuries caused by equipment reaching dangerous temperatures.

“It takes a second for a child to take off his or her shoes, it takes a few seconds to get burned,” Geoffrey Croft, with the NYC Park Advocates, told 1010 WINS. “Young kids freeze when they feel heat, an older child runs away, but a younger child doesn’t.” Children should avoid walking with bare feet on the artificial turf and stay away from metal slides, which could also cause severe burns. Doctors also advise children drink lots of liquids and be kept in shaded areas, if possible, while at the playground.



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