Halloween Safety Tips – no Tricks, only Treats!

Dressing in costume and dancing around bonfires to ward off the unwanted spirits and preparing their harvest for winter amidst celebrations was what the Celtic people called Samhain which later transitioned into the holiday we all know and love – Halloween.
While we all love to celebrate Halloween today, we must remember to put the safety of our children first.  As one of the most popular holidays for children to enjoy, there are some crucial tips to remember to ensure your child has a safe and happy Halloween experience.
Let’s start with costume tips:
  • Choose your child’s costume wisely by looking for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you’re making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk the salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material.
  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder breathing ability.
  • Be sure to avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can trip your child.
  • Select light or bright colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, attach reflective kids-halloween-costumes.jpgtape to the costume for visibility. A few strips on the back, front, and goodie bag should do the trick.
  • Ensure your child’s emergency information (name, number, and address) are somewhere on his clothes or on a bracelet if you’re not going to be with him/her.
  • Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don’t look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.
Let’s make sure those treats aren’t tricks!
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Yes, some will want to begin immediately so please be sure they are aware that waiting is part of the process.
  • The signs of candy that has been tampered with or could be dangerous are as follows:
    An unusual appearance or discoloration
    Tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers
    Spoiled or unwrapped items
    Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them.
  • Tell children not to accept — and, especially, not to eat–anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
  • Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.
  • Remember, when it doubt THROW IT OUT! (If you have questions about possibly tainted candy you can also contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or your local police department for assistance.
While Trick-or-treating, remember the following:
  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
promo292884444.pngIf you are out and about on the night these little gremlins are trick-or-treating, please remember to be extra cautious while driving and keep your eyes peeled for children darting out from between vehicles or in odd places that aren’t crosswalks.
If you decide to stay in and offer treats to children, be sure the path to your doorway is well lit and clear of any trip hazards.  Also, if you have pets, be sure they are secured in a safe place to avoid escape during this active time which may be stressful to them.
And, lastly, if you wish to enjoy some adult Halloween Festivities be sure that you too are dressed appropriately if you are walking in dark areas.  If you are driving to Halloween festivities, be sure to avoid alcohol or make arrangements for a designated driver instead. 
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween,
Your friends at Close Range Safety Training Academy

 

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Is Bullying a part of your child’s school day?

It’s Back to School season and as you relax back into the routine remember to keep a watchful eye on your child’s routine too! Are you missing the signs of bullying? Statistics show that 28% of children in school are victims of bullying which also means bullies exist in similar if not larger numbers.

Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics reveal that young people with low self-esteem are at greater risk of bullying, but a low-self esteem may also be what urges some to bully as well.

There are two factors at play when bullying is evident.  The bully is usually a victim of his or her own abuse and finds a bit of release when attacking another.  A victim of bullying is usually a weaker individual who is now subjected to emotional damage as a result from bullying.

Bullying varies from verbal abuse to violent acts depending on the circumstances.  All variations of bullying can do irreversible harm.

school-bullying.jpgMental Health Advocates have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression and an increased risk for suicide. But less is known about the long-term psychological health of adults who, as children, were bullies or victims of bullying. When a child is both a bully and bullied by their peers, this is a red flag and can indicate that the youngster has other serious psychiatric problems, and often, these children are at high risk for later adversities in adulthood, including a wide range of mental health problems.

Recognizing, Ending, and repairing the results of Bullying starts at home! 

Is your child a victim of bullying? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Visible cuts or bruises
  • Damage to property or loss of property such as school supplies or personal items
  • Chronic illnesses such as stomach aches, headaches, or just feeling sick
  • Behavioral changes such as different eating habits, different sleeping habits, withdrawn behaviors, or lack of interest in favored activities
  • Self Destructive behaviors such as being argumentative, poor school performance in grades or programs, or suicidal thoughts

Is your child a bully? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Doesn’t accept responsibility for negative actions
  • Often has new belongings that you did not purchase for him/hershutterstock_262406261-min.jpg
  • Hangs around with a destructive crowd while focusing on popularity or a reputation
  • Gets in trouble a lot at school
  • Is competitive and combative at the same time

 

5 THINGS CAN DO AT HOME TO PREVENT YOUR CHILD FROM
BEING A BULLY OR  A VICTIM OF BULLYING: 

  • Monitor your child’s social media activity, google searches and online activities. The internet is a great source of information not only for a person but also about a person based on their internet habits.  Is your child researching ways to harm others or defend his/her self?  Is your child making fun of others on social media or being made fun of on his/her social media account? If you monitor your child’s internet activity as well as set limitations you can prevent harm not only in regards to bullying but multiple other threats that are in the cyber world. (To learn more about technology safety and your child be sure to check out Project Harmony).
  • Communicate with your child on a regular basis! Keeping the door open to communication is the most valuable thing you can do for your child during their school years as this is the time they develop their social skills and general life skills. Keeping the door open means to listen without judgement and advise without bias. Sometimes it’s hard to be a parent and a friend, but when you’re not able to balance the two you could be seen as the enemy and it’s a fine line.  Talking with your children on their level can not only protect them from bullying, but also from being a victim of numerous threats out there for young, impressionable children.
  • Ask the right questions…carefully. Ask your children if they’ve ever witnessed bullying, how they felt about it and what they did if they saw it. Ask if they’ve ever been bullied or bullied someone and what the result was.  Choose your responses carefully.  Sometimes a victim is afraid to report bullying and telling them they have to will not help. Also, breaking their trust by reporting it without their permission could harm your relationship.  Never tell your child to fight back or choose revenge.  If you learn your child is a bully, find out why.  Is it their peers influencing the behavior? Did something happen at home to influence this behavior? Remember, also, there is therapy available for children that can help with the problems you may discover and aren’t sure how to resolve.  Also, schools have professional counselors on staff that are willing to meet with you and your child privately to resolve these types of situations so take advantage of that! (stopbullying.gov is a great resource on how to talk with your child about bullying and other valuable info on the topic.)
  • Remember that your home and family life is where it all begins! Be sure you are providing a quality way of life for your child(ren) to the best of your ability. Leben in der Familiep.jpgMany households have single parents trying to hold it all together, or even with two parents it can be hard in modern society to make time for your children when so much other responsibility is baring down on you to be able to provide for them.  It’s easy to lose focus on what makes quality family time when you are in a situation that brings your work home with you or many other issues that can consume most of your time.  Life is hard enough but being a parent is no small challenge, especially in this day and age. Do what you must to schedule time with your child(ren) daily and if there is more time available on weekends, use it wisely.  Pay attention to homework and school activities.  Be as involved as you possibly can in your child’s lives. (Families for Life offers a great list of tips to help you build a better family life in a hectic world – click here!)

Close Range Safety Training Academy recognizes and respects the importance of children and their future.  We urge you to join us.  For more tips about this important topic, visit: www.kidpower.org.  For more health and safety tips, please be sure to follow our blog.

Swimming Safety for Children

It’s that time of year again where families are enjoying the sun, the waves and each other. Summertime activities for families often include spending time at the pool or the beach as a refreshing getaway from the daily grind.

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What can be a wonderful way to spend time with your loved ones can turn into a traumatic event in a flash. Nearly 3,000 children annually are treated for accidents that occur in water related activities. Of those figures nearly 400 result in death and 50% of child survivors of submersion incidents are left with brain damage.

75% of children who are treated for submersion incidents are under the age of 3 years old. Statistics also show that over 60% of the victims were under adult supervision in a familiar area such as their own back yard.

Drowning accidents happen quickly. On average, a child who has drowned was unsupervised for less than 5 minutes. This means, the time it takes to glance at your cell phone or take call is enough time for a child to drown. Every second counts!

Child drowning is a silent death. Small children will not be splashing about or calling out for help. You will not be alerted if a child is in trouble.

If you will be spending time near water, please remember these important safety tips for children:

  • NEVER leave a child unsupervised by a pool or water for even a moment and do not assume flotation accessories, safety devices or life jackets will do the job alone if you step away for a moment.
  • ALWAYS have young children or inexperienced swimmers war a US Coast430d12aceb248f1272a55a9c9db0350b--kids-swimming-swimming-pools.jpg Guard Approved Life Jacket
  • DO NOT allow a child in a pool without an adult also in the pool.
  • Install a fence or other barrier around the pool. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm. The fence or barrier should be at least 4 feet high and have no foot- or handholds that could help a child climb it. Openings in the barrier should be less than 4” in diameter. Also, the gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.
  • Above Ground Pools should have steps or ladders leading to the pool disabled, locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when not in use and never leave or allow use of items such as tricycles or other riding toys near the pool.
  • Don’t assume if there is a Lifeguard on duty you don’t need to keep a constant eye on your child. Lifeguards are watching everyone and usually very busy. All people in the area are their responsibility so their focus must be constantly shifting and we cannot stress enough that it only takes a few seconds for a child to slip underneath the water and silently suffer.
  • At beaches or lakes where there is a lifeguard present, be sure to check with the guard to find out about the current water conditions. Unlike the calm waters of a swimming pool, the ocean has dangers such as currents, tides, or undertow.
  • Before you go to a water park, make sure there is a qualified lifeguard on duty at all times, be aware of which rides are appropriate for your child based on the age and size of your child, and review the rules of the water park in detail with your child making sure he/she understands.
  • At lakes and ponds remember the surface likely has jagged rocks, broken bottles and hazardous trash as well as vastly changing depths from the shore to just a few feet out.

KidsPlayingInLakeSummer-1464474088-1.jpgWhenever a child is missing, check the pool first. Every second counts! If you find a child in the water, instantly get him/her out and call to others for help. Make sure someone has called 9-1-1 immediately.  Check to make sure the child’s air passages are clear. If the child is not breathing, start CPR if you are trained to do so. When the emergency number is called, follow the instructions the emergency operators provide. If you suspect the child has suffered a neck injury, such as from diving, keep the child on his/her back and brace the neck and shoulders with your hands and forearms to help keep the neck from moving to minimize further injury until emergency help arrives. This type of immobilization is best done by someone who is trained in the technique. Keep the child still and speak in calm tones to keep the child comforted. Continue to watch for adequate breathing.

For more safety tips and advice regarding children’s water safety, visit Kid’s Health for Parents. For tips about sun exposure safety, be sure to check out our previous blog “Keeping Summer Fun and Safe” and be sure to follow the Close Range Safety Tips blog year round for useful information.

Close Range Safety Training Academy recommends that everyone receive First Aid and CPR training for adults, children and infants.  We offer multiple American Red Cross courses that can aid in saving lives and preventing injuries.  To book your training, please visit www.closerangetraining.com.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, Please Don’t Look Away!👊🚫

Did you know that April is Child Abuse Prevention month? It’s a topic that many of us do not like to address because it’s very harsh reality to accept. But, unfortunately, it is a reality that affects an average of six million children annually. That’s a staggering number!

The brain develops in response to experiences with caregivers, family and the community quickly during the early developmental stages of infancy and childhood. Development is directly linked to the quality and quantity of those experiences. Repeated exposure to stressful or abusive events as well as neglect can affect the brain’s stress response and over time a child may react as if danger is always present in their environment regardless of actual circumstances.

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Awareness of the signs of child abuse is your first step in saving a child.

Here are some key signs to look for:

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS:

  • Failure to thrive socially or academically
  • Learning and/or Speech disorders
  • Delayed physical, emotional or intellectual development
  • Discomfort with physical contact or difficulty connecting with others
  • Lags in physical, emotional or intellectual development
  • Behavior extremes, such as appearing overly compliant and passive or very demanding and aggressive.
  • Increased fear or avoidance of a specific person and/or situation
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Bedwetting
  • Anxiety and/or excessive worrying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncharacteristic obedience or perfectionism
  • Strong feelings of shame or guilt
  • Programmed statements or behaviors
  • Knowledge of or interest in sexual behaviors that are not age appropriate

PHYSICAL SIGNS:

  • Bruises, welts or swelling
  • Sprains or fractures
  • Burns
  • Lacerations or abrasions
  • Frequent physical complaints, such as stomachaches and headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Torn, stained or bloody clothing
  • Pain or itching in the genital area; bruises or bleeding in the external genital area
  • Sexually transmitted infections or diseasesTheir-lifes-stop-child-abuse-28564802-599-775.jpg

Research has found that children exposed to any form of abuse, if left unaddressed or ignored, are at an increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems throughout their life and into adulthood.

Depending on your role in the child’s life, you may or not be privy to prevention but turning a blind eye to the signs of child abuse is never the path to choose. Identifying the signs may be an uncomfortable position to be depending on your relationship with the child, but you can protect your position by being anonymous. There are many sources that can help you help a child, such as Child Help’s national hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or you can do an internet search for sources in your area.

We encourage you to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more.