Guest Post! Summertime Safety: “Keeping Kids Out Of Harm’s Way During Outdoor Activities,” By Sean Morris

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Kids look forward to summertime all year, waiting for the day when they can say goodbye to school routines and sleep in a little later, take vacations, and leave homework worries behind. But any parent knows that with the long, warm days also come activities that can present hazards to little ones, so it’s important to keep in mind a few safety measures that will keep accidents and worry at bay.

Bike rides, trips to the park, and fishing at the lake are all great examples of summertime fun that come with risk. Here are some tips on how to ensure your child is safe while he or she is having a blast.

Know the environment

If your child loves to play outside, chances are you’ll see some bug bites at the end of the day. Some kids aren’t bothered much by mosquitoes and other biting pests, but others are highly allergic and break out in large, itchy welts. You can protect your kiddo by having them avoid using scented perfumes or lotions, which attract many types of bugs, and spraying their skin with a safe insect repellent before they go out to play. In areas with high grass and brush, it’s a good idea to have them wear long pants tucked into boots to keep ticks at bay.

Use safety equipment

For bikers, skateboarders, and kids who ride scooters, it’s important to find the right safety gear. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, and even mouth guards are recommended depending on the child’s age, and finding the right fit is imperative. Let your child know that using equipment without being properly suited up is dangerous and that sometimes, borrowing items from friends won’t do any good because the fit will be off.

For many kids, these methods of transportation are essential in the summertime for getting around the neighborhood, but accidents can happen. Make sure your child knows what to do in the event of a spill, and it’s always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit around for scrapes and cuts. For mouth injuries, sometimes there’s nothing to do but call the dentist immediately.

Take extra precaution in the water

Water safety is something that should be taken very seriously no matter what the child’s age or experience level is. Whether they’re in an inflatable pool or at the lake, adult supervision is always recommended. Keep in mind that younger children can drown in mere inches of water, and that swimming pool rules–such as no running or diving–must be obeyed by everyone. Make sure life vests are in good shape and fit well. Teach your child the do’s and don’ts of swim safety well before they go into the water, then help them enforce the rules by being present without distractions.

Don’t rely on someone else supervising, especially at a crowded beach or pool. Even lifeguards can’t watch everyone at all times. As always when a child is outside, make sure they are well protected with sunblock, and don’t forget to keep them hydrated.

Make rest a priority

It’s also a good idea to make sure your child is well-rested before they play in the water, which can be tiring. Staying up late when school is out is part of the fun of summer break, but it can be dangerous when they need to focus. Making sure they put down their phone or laptop at least an hour before bed is a great start; studies show that this helps with a good night’s sleep.

Be careful when cooking outdoors

Many families enjoy fire pits, bonfires, and grilling during the summer, so it’s important to teach children how to be safe around all those flames. Keep grills well away from the house and out of heavily-trafficked areas. Always supervise cooking over an open flame; making s’mores can be great fun on a camping trip, but little ones should have help from an adult. If you use a gas grill, it can be helpful to set a timer–perhaps on your phone–to remind you to check and make sure it’s turned all the way off after cooking is finished.

Summertime is full of adventures for kids, and while some of them can include a bit of risk, it can be a relatively stress-free time for you if you plan accordingly.

About the Author

Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.

 

 

 

 

Today Was One of the Scariest Days of My Life…And I Need to Share This Experience It With You

When I am upset I find it healing and cathartic to write. So, tonight please bear with me while I share an incident that happened to me today at the airport. I didn’t plan on writing a post about this, but I think it is important to women and  for our safety. So here it goes. Today I had to go to the airport to take a short trip. My flight was relatively early and my van was coming between 5:50-6:05 am. For some reason I didn’t sleep well last night, I got about 2 hours total, but I thought it was just me being anxious about leaving Anya, but now I’m wondering if it wasn’t a forewarning of what was soon to come. The van arrived and it was an awful ride. The driver was doing 90 mph weaving in and out of traffic and I prayed the whole time. Then when I arrived at the airport he asked me if I was married and if I lived where he picked me up, I ignored him said have a good day and moved on to print out my boarding pass. I thought that was inappropriate. Well, I had no idea what was in store for me.

As I printed out my boarding pass I noticed a young man standing not too far from me, staring at me. My first thought was he didn’t know where the line was, but I saw he had his pass. So I continued to walk then he walked very closely beside me. Was he trying to find the correct gate? Then the airline’s ticket manager came over and assisted him, I kept walking and he was walking inches from me. I stopped he stopped, I turned around he turned, I walked faster so did he and it went on. I called my mom and told her that I thought this guy was following me, which she told me to call security and stay on with her. I got to the security point and said to the gentleman who took my license, “I think this man is following me.” He didn’t say anything, then instead of standing behind the line this guy was almost beside me, when I was finished, he was so anxious to get behind me he left his ID with the agent. The agent yelled for him to come back, and he hesitated. Then another woman got behind me, I said to her, that I thought something was amiss with this man. He then got in line in front of her to be by me. I then realized I had a problem when he started saying he was with me. I was forcefully telling him he wasn’t and to please leave me alone. I told another agent before I got screened, “this man is following me,” I went through, and another man coming from the other side was after me, again the man jumped in front of him and practically ran through the screening this time, they held him there after I asked two more agents to please delay him so I could get out of his sight. They called their supervisor and I moved like lightning to my gate. When I looked back he was jumping up trying to see where I was going. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

I called my mom and tried to stay as incognito as possible in a very empty gate area. All of a sudden I see him running full speed ahead with his stuff in cart from the security area. Then, I began to shake and my mom could hear from my voice this was serious, “I said, “Mom he’s coming after me again!“. I’m not one that scares easily, but I was shaken. I knew this man was fixated on me. He kept saying he was with me and regardless of what I said he didn’t hear me. I walked quickly into a restaurant and asked the manager if I could stay by  him as I saw a TSA agent coming. She said that another woman had told her someone should watch me because this man was after me. He still was trying to get closer. She walked me down to the police and they came up to talk to him, he actually tried to walk away and come towards me again, but they stopped him. They told him if he didn’t stop they wouldn’t let him board, and guess what? He was boarding my plane. When I heard that my heart dropped. The police spoke to the airline, and the ticket manager who  originally came over spoke to me, had my seat changed and I was assured that someone on the plan would make sure nothing happened. The scary thing was, the man kept looking at me regardless. I found out that he had a band on his wrist which meant he was released from a hospital and apparently had some serious issues. They escorted him on and the airline made sure their employees were aware of the situation.

I got on the plane and at one point I had to go to the bathroom. At first I didn’t see a bathroom near the front and when I looked back I began to panic thinking I had to walk back there where he was seated. The panic must have shown because several people quickly pointed out the bathroom in front that I couldn’t see. It was the most tense ride of my life. I practically ran off the plane and jumped in a cab.Although he was getting a connecting flight,I couldn’t shake the feeling he was after me.

So here’s the thing, I’m feeling a range of emotions. I am angry because I view myself as strong and I feel like I panicked. I’m a little traumatized because part of me felt like something really bad could have happened to me today and the implications that would have on my daughter. I’m sad because someone most likely dropped the ball and this man who was clearly unhealthy was travelling alone and another woman may experience what I did and that turns my stomach. I’m decompressing, but his face and the situation keeps going through my head. So sister friends please pray for me.

Lastly, I want to say this:

  • If you feel like you are in danger trust your instincts
  • Alert the authorities and if you have to do it a few times do it!
  • Alert other people around you to the situation
  • No one has the right to intimidate you, stalk you, scare you or invade your space 
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Know your boundaries and when someone steps over them don’t be afraid to tell them to stop

Most of all pray. I am so grateful that I’m writing you from the safety of my hotel bed, but I also know that women get attacked, harassed and stalked every day and it is NOT OKAY. It is degrading, scary, and dehumanizing so please be safe, stay alert and always in prayer. Thank you for letting me work this out through words, I wish you all a safe night sleep.

BTW I received a survey from the shuttle normally I ignore them, this time I didn’t! Enough was enough.

Guest Post! The Info Every Parent Should Leave with Their Babysitter

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Via Flickr – by Boudewijn Berends

Everyone who knows me knows how organized I am. I mean, I literally plan when I’m going to plan. But my supposedly great attention to detail failed me last summer. My husband and I went on a day trip to a nearby antique fair and left the kids with a babysitter. Prior to the date, I had texted our sitter where we’d be and how to get in touch with us if there was a problem.

On the day, I thought we were all set. But the sitter took the kids to a park that’s close to our house, and my daughter tripped and hurt her knee. Now, it wasn’t anything too serious. Our sitter was able to clean it up and put a band aid and some ice on it and all was well. But when my daughter is sick or hurt, she only wants me or my husband helping her, and she desperately wanted to talk to us after she fell. Unfortunately, our sitter had forgotten her phone at her house so she didn’t have the info I had texted her, and she didn’t know our cell phone numbers by heart. And stupidly, I hadn’t written any of it down for her. So, the sitter had a long afternoon of trying to comfort our very weepy daughter.

This situation definitely made me reassess what kind of information we were leaving for our sitter and how we were communicating it to her. So, I created a babysitter info sheet that I now leave out on our kitchen table every time a sitter stays with the kids. Here are a few of the pieces of information that I’ve included:

A list of local emergency contacts. If there’s an emergency, you don’t want your sitter to have to go online or look in a phone book for the proper emergency service to contact. As Babycenter.com notes, it best that you leave contact information for fire, police, poison control and other medical services as well as a neighbor’s information.

Your number and where you’ll be. This seems like a no brainer, but as the story about my daughter’s hurt knee indicates, it isn’t always so cut and dry. In the age of cell phones, we rely heavily on our gadgets for sending info, but that won’t cut it for your babysitter. As WorkItMom.com notes, you should be sure to write down your contact information and the info for where you’ll be.

Each child’s name and their swimming ability. My kids’ favorite activity to do in the summer is swimming. And when we can’t take them, we’ll often let the sitter do it. If your sitter will be taking your children to the pool, first, ask them to prepare by taking a look at this guide which will help them become knowledgeable about the basics of swim safety. Then, make sure she knows how strong their swimming skills are. Of course, she should never leave them alone in the pool, but when she knows how well they can swim, she’ll be able to better manage their time in the pool.

Address of the house and directions to it. If there is an emergency, your babysitter may need to provide your address to emergency medical professionals. make this easy on her. As this information on babysitting safety from the University of Michigan explains, be sure your address is prominently displayed. And if finding your home is tricky (heck, even if isn’t!), provide easy to understand directions, in case she needs to help the responders find your home.

In an emergency, every second counts. When you provide necessary details for your sitter, you make it easier for her to make quick decisions in these tough situations.

Written By: Patricia Sarmiento loves blogging about health, wellness, fitness, and other health-related topics. A health and fitness fanatic, she makes living an active lifestyle a constant goal. She lives with her family in Maryland.