Photos Document a Shameful Part of our History

September of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act that sought to outlaw (or at least severely regulate) child labor. While it was passed, it was struck down two years later on the grounds that it was unconstitutional to impose federal law on something that each state should regulate themselves (Wow, how far we’ve come!). It was, however, instrumental in fueling a reform so that today, children can’t legally be employed (the fact that many, many children are, none the less forced to work because of human trafficking, is another matter all together).

Lewis Hine was instrumental in raising awareness to the plight of so many children, sometimes as young as 4 years old who were forced to work, often in grueling conditions which wouldn’t even be allowed for adults today, through his photos. For 16 years he traveled across the US taking photos of exploited children like this one:


This boy is 5 years old and this is the second year that he’s been working picking shrimp, which means that he started this job at age 4.

You can view a collection of the Lewis Hine photos and read the stories behind each one on the Atlas Obscura website.

For an even larger collection of Lewis Hine Child Labor photos visit

No Child Left Behind

No, the title of today’s’ post has nothing to do with education. It has to do with children behind left behind in vehicles and dying of heat exposure.

Most of us respond with shock every time we hear of another child forgotten in a vehicle. “How can anyone forget their child like that?” we ask. However much we’d like to believe that only a bad parent would forget a child in a vehicle, the truth of the matter is that both fathers and mothers are equally likely to do it; wealthy and poor makes no difference either; neither does education or mental awareness or intelligence. In fact, if you think “It could never happen to me! I could never do something like that!” you’re more likely to do it because you aren’t going to take the precautions necessary to make sure it never does happen.

As temperatures rise, even a few minutes alone in a car can result in heat stress, dehydration and death for infants and small children. I won’t go over all the numbers about how hot it can get and what it does to a small child; I’ve covered that before on this blog. What I am going to do is to give you a few tips to try to help make sure that you never have to live through the nightmare of realizing you’ve killed your own child because somehow, even though it could never happen to you, it somehow did and you forgot your child in the car.

1. NEVER, EVER, leave your child alone in the car, even for a couple of minutes while you “pop” in somewhere. Don’t trust your memory. You could easily bump into someone you know and start talking, get distracted, fall, or have an accident. Even if you’re only popping into the post office to mail a package, take the child with you, always! Additionally everyone is now being told to call 911 if they see a child left alone in a vehicle. You could end up in a legal battle to keep your child and judges and juries are getting tougher all the time on this issue. It gets tried as “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” or “child neglect”. You could stand a good chance of having the state put your child in a foster home.

2. Put your purse next to the car seat instead of in the front passenger seat. You’ll look for your purse and remember the child in the back seat.

3. Keep a large doll or teddy bear in the car seat when the child isn’t in the seat and move the doll or  teddy bear  to the front passenger seat whenever the child is in the car seat. Seeing the doll or teddy bear in the passenger seat as you get to your destination will remind you the child is there.

4. Hang a tag with your child’s name on it over the rear-view mirror every time you put the child in the car seat. Make sure it’s big enough and visible enough to be hard to ignore or get used to. Only hang it there when the child is in the vehicle.

5. Make arrangements with your daycare worker or care-takers to ALWAYS call you if and when you don’t drop the child off at the usual time.

Most of these tips are simple and easy to implement but they can make the difference between a life filled with happy memories and a life filled with grief and regret.


Safety Tips for Crowded Venues

I don’t know a parent who hasn’t experienced it, that sinking feeling when you suddenly realize that you can’t see your child and don’t know where he or she has gotten to.

“He was here a second ago! How far could he have gotten?”

Fortunately, the child is usually found fairly rapidly but such isn’t always the case.

So how do we take our children out in public, especially in crowds, and still make sure that they are going to be safe?

We can’t guarantee that something won’t happen, but we can take some measures to keep them as safe as possible by following a few simple safety precautions.

1. Make sure that they are wearing easily identifiable clothing that is bright and easy to spot, even from a distance away. A bright yellow shirt is easier to spot in a crowd than a dull grey one. Add other identifiable accessories (brightly covered hair accessories, arm bands, reflective stripes, etc…) that’ll help you see them quickly when scanning a crowd for a child that was “there a second ago”!

2. Have identification on your child. List the child’s name, blood type, any emergency medical information as well as your contact information, a contact number for someone who is at another loacation (an aunt, grandparents, etc…) so that if they can get a hold of you they can still get a hold of someone who can help get your child home). has a variety of products that are waterproof and can’t help you make sure that your child has, on him or her, all the information needed to help anyone who finds your child able to contact you.

3. If possible, get a cell phone for each child and teach them how to use it to call you if they get separated. Put your number in speed dial and show them how to dial it. Make sure they know how to answer the phone in case you are calling them. Make sure it’s in a zip up pocket or something similar where it won’t fall out.

4. Use the camera in the phone to take pictures. Take a picture of yourself for the phone that’s going to be in the child’s possession and take a photo of each of your children for yours. Take it right before you leave so that it shows the clothing they are wearing. This will make it a lot easier to the police to identify and spot your child if they need to search for him or her.

5. Make a plan ahead of time. Set up a rendez-vous point and make sure that your kids know where it is, where they will know to go if they get lost. Get down on their level to make sure they can see the landmark that you’ve designated. Make sure they understand how to get there and that they are supposed to wait there until you get there (Parents often tell kids to go to a meeting place without understanding that the child thinks the parent will be there when they get there and panic when the parent isn’t. Make sure they understand that they may get there before you do and that if that happens, they need to wait).

6. Make sure that your children know who is safe to approach for help when they are lost. Teach them what a police officer or a security guard looks like. Teach them to ask for help from someone behind a counter in a place of business if they can’t find a policeman. Make sure, however, that they understand to ask for help from a woman in this case, rather than a man (predators are typically men who are by themselves).

Make sure that you children understand to call first, to go to a meet-up spot second, etc… and they will hopefully not need to ask for help from a stranger. Teach them to look determined and walk with a purpose, not confused and lost which would draw the attention of a predator.

Kids are small. They can easily get separated in a sea of legs and follow the wrong pair of legs thinking they are still following their parent or guardian. Keep them close, especially when the crowd gets more dense. Hold their hand or carry them when possible. Failing that, however, having a backup plan to help you reconnect with your child as soon as possible if the unthinkable should happen is essential. A little foresight and preparation can turn a “uh oh!” moment from becoming a “Oh! NO!” one.




Stranger Danger Safety Tips

Stranger Danger for anytime

Strangers can be men or women, young or old. They can have any color skin. Some are tall and some are short, some are thin some are heavy. Some strangers are pretty and some are not so pretty. Some strangers can speak different languages. Most strangers are nice, but some strangers are mean. Because you don’t know if someone is a good stranger or a bad one you should not talk to anyone you don’t know.

Stranger danger, are the buzz words commonly used to refer to the important topic of teaching children about the inherent dangers they may face as they venture out into the world.

Unfortunately the world is a scary place and there are people out there who prey on children. No doubt, it is a very important issue that all parents must address and one that requires ongoing, open communication with their children.

The single most important thing to remember when teaching your children about stranger danger is to instill confidence, rather than fear.

You want to equip your child with the knowledge and strategies they will need to protect themselves in dangerous situations. Also, keep your childs age and maturity level in mind and base lessons upon that.

Again, stranger danger lessons should be ongoing adapt the conversation as your child grows as he/she is likely to encounter different types of situations.

Stranger Danger Tips For Kids
Always tell your parents where you are.
· Try not to walk anywhere alone.
· Don’t take shortcuts through a wooded area.
· Bad people do not always look mean or scary.
· Do not get close to strangers.
· Do not tell your name or address to a stranger.
· Never go with a stranger to look for a lost pet.
· Never get into a car with anyone you don’t know.
· Never enter someone’s home or place of business without a parent.
· If a stranger bothers you, run away.
· Know safe places you can go (such as Police or Fire Stations).
· If a stranger follows you or grabs for you, yell loud and make as much noise as you can.
· If anyone touches you in a bad way, say “NO!”
· Tell your parents about places you don’t feel safe.
· Talk with your parents and come up with a secret code word.
· If you have to ask for help from a stranger, if possible seek help from a police officer or teacher.
· Call 911 to report a stranger.
· Never open the door to a stranger.
· Never tell anyone on the phone you are home alone.
Bad people
don’t always look mean and scary!
Stranger Danger Tips For Parents
Children should always carry some sort of identification including name, address, telephone number and emergency contact information. Have the identification card laminated to last longer. Have this identification in a secure location and not attached to a backpack.
· Map your child’s route to and from school with them. Walk with them from time-to-time.
· Make sure your children follow this route with no deviations unless they get your permission FIRST.
· Teach your child how to use the telephone in order to dial 9-1-1.
· Avoid allowing your children to wear clothing with their name clearly displayed.
· Teach your child to tell you if anything happens that makes them feel unsafe.
· If your children are left with a babysitter ask your children to talk about this experience.
· When using a babysitter make sure you check out references.
· Take a look at the registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. Check with your local police
Parents and children
should discuss the following questions.
What is a stranger? [A person that you and your parents do not

· How might a stranger try to fool you into getting into their car? [By
telling you that your parents couldn’t come so he/she was sent to
give you a ride home.]

· How can you protect yourself? [By asking the person to give you the
family’s secret code word.]

· What should you do if someone brought a package to your house when you’re home alone? [Speak to him/her through a closed door, telling them
your mom/dad is resting and cannot come to the door. Tell them to
leave the package on the porch.]

· Is it safe to accept gifts from strangers? [NO!]

· If a stranger stops their car near you and asks for directions, what should you do? [Stand at a good distance from the car, even if they
ask you to come closer.]

· If you become separated from your family at a store or mall, what should you do? [Tell someone who works in the store that you are lost. DO

· What
should you do if someone grabs you and starts taking you out of the
store? [Yell, “I don’t know you!” and keep it

· In an emergency, how can you call the police or fire? [Dial

· What is a secret family code word used for? [To let you know that it is safe
for someone to pick you up.]

· If you come home to an empty house after school, what is the first thing you should do? [Lock all the doors.]


· Always tell your parents where you are going.

· Bad people do not always look mean or scary.

· Do not get close to strangers. Make sure you have room to run.

· Never go with a stranger to help look for a lost pet or play a game.

· Never get into a car with anyone you dont know.

· If a stranger bothers you, run away and ask an adult for help.

· Know safe places you can go a police or fire station, the library, a store or a friends house.

· If a stranger follows you or grabs for you, yell loud! Shout, I dont know you! Fight back and make as much noise as you can.

· If anyone touches you in a bad way, say, NO! Get away and tell an adult you trust. Keep telling until someone listens.


· Know how and when to call 911.

· Never open the door to a stranger.

· Never tell anyone on the phone you are home alone.

· Never tell any callers your name, number or address.

· Hang up right away if you do not like what someone is saying on the phone.


Always have an updated photo of your child. On the back put important information such as, name, date of birth, height, weight, and hair and eye color.

Stranger Danger Safety Tips for Walkers

Many walkers fear being attacked or mugged by a stranger. You need to “look forward to being attacked.”

There is no technique or tip or weapon to guarantee you won’t be attacked. If you have been attacked, and you are reading this, you did the right thing – whatever you did allowed you to survive. You won. The bad guys have surprise on their side and even the best martial arts expert can become a target. If it happens to you, don’t agonize over coulda-shoulda-woulda. You survived. You won.

Choice of walking routes
Walk indoors: Treadmills
are an option for those who do not have a place to walk they consider to be safe. Some sports facilities have indoor tracks as well. Use the further tips below to stay safe in the parking lot or to and from your home.

High pedestrian traffic areas: Bad guys don’t want witnesses. Being in view of a well-traveled vehicular street is good, but having people on the path with you is better.

Open areas: Paths lined with bushes and trees are pleasant for walking, but afford many hiding places for the bad guys and places they can take you to finish their crimes out of view.

Strangers aren’t out to attack YOU. It is nothing personal, they are just looking for a target of opportunity. Your goal, therefore, is to look like somebody who will be too much trouble to mess with. They also want to make you their victim without attracting attention from others.

Attitude: Keep your head up and striding purposefully. Look aware of your surroundings and be aware of them. Headphones may give the impression that you are less aware. Lt. Jim Bullard suggests your mental attitude should be, “No low life scum is going to spoil three minutes of my day!”

Companions: Walking with a friend or group reduces your chance of attack significantly.

Dog: Walking with a dog, even a little ankle-biter, will greatly reduce the chance of attack. Obey all licensing, leash, and doo-doo ordinances in the jurisdiction you are walking through.

Stick: Why mess with somebody with a walking/hiking stick when there are lots of people without one?

Alarm: A brightly colored personal body alarm can be a deterrent when visibly worn. Bad guys don’t want to attract attention. A whistle is also a good signal device.

Pepper spray: Where legal, carrying this in your hand or visibly displayed may be a deterrent.

When accosted
As I said above, there is no guaranteed way to prevent being chosen as a target, some bad guys just can’t read the clues that you are more trouble than they bargained for. Now is your chance to prove it.


1. Use the elbow it is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss is away from you…chances are that he is more interested in our wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver wont see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DONT DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

1. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head, DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your air bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car parked on the drivers side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. Finally, if the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!

Remember not all strangers or predators look mean and scary. Raise your sense of awareness and dont become a victim.

Safety First, Safety Always!!

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

Free Cabinet Latch Starter Kit

Home Made Simple wants to protect your children, especially in your home and to do that, they’re making available a free cabinet latch started kit available for a limited time while supplies last.

This from the Home Made Simple website:

To request your cabinet latch starter kit*


*Limit one order per household. Limited time only. While supplies last. Offer valid
for the residents of the 50 United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, 13 years or older.
Void where prohibited.

Caution: Read and follow the manufacturer’s warnings and directions
for installation and use. Cabinet safety latches are only a deterrent, not a substitute
for proper adult supervision. Toxic and dangerous substances, as well as sharp-edged
or pointed objects, should always be placed high up or otherwise be inaccessible
to children. Check latch for security after installation. Avoid letting children
see how you operate child safety devices. Watching you disengage a lock, latch or
cover could enable them to learn sooner how to defeat it.

Children in hot cars can suffer brain damage

With spring and summer just around the corner, it’s perhaps time to remind ourselves about the dangers represented by vehicles left in the sun, especially with children inside.

Studies have shown that the temperature inside a vehicle can rapidly rise to extremely dangerous levels. Children’s bodies are much more sensitive than adults bodies and their temperatures can rise 3 to 5 times faster (it’s a question of body mass. A chicken cooks faster than a turkey… no nasty insinuations intended). The effects on the child’s body can be disastrous with severe dehydration, seizures, brain damage and eventually death.

So here are the safety rules once again:

1. Never leave a child alone, unattended in a vehicle. NEVER! Even if you are just going to be 2 seconds (or so you think) take the child with you.

2. Make it a habit to always have your keys in your hands when you get out of the car. It’s just too easy to accidentally lock your keys in the car and if your child is strapped in his car seat he’s going to be in harm’s way by the time you get the vehicle unlocked.

3. Have a spare key somewhere you can get at it fast (magnetic key holder, wheel well, etc…) just in case safety rules # 2 fails. Especially if you have small children or consistently drive small children around, make sure you have a spare key somewhere where you can get to it fast if you accidentally lock your keys in your car.

4. When stopping for gas, pay at the pump. Take out a gas station credit card or do whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t have to go into the gas station to pay while leaving the child in the car.

5. Do not leave your vehicle unlocked when at home. Even if it isn’t a matter of protecting your car from burglars, it’s too easy for children to climb in an unlocked vehicle and end up locking themselves in. By the time you figure out what has happened, it might be too late. Always keep your car locked.

What about if you notice a child alone and unattended inside a vehicle?

1. call 911. They will ask about the vehicles’ license plate, the age of the child, the apparent condition of the child.

2. if the vehicle isn’t locked, open the doors to get air circulating. Provide shade for the child with a blanket, sunshade or coat until emergency services get there. If the child appears to be in distress, remove the child from the vehicle and stay close until emergency services arrive.

Let Grandma Drive the Kids!

Here’s an interesting article from the Los Angeles Times. In spite of what you might think about the way old people drive when they’re in front of you, apparently it’s safer to let them drive your kids around than it is to entrust them to your spouse (or yourself for that matter). Here’s the catch though, Grandparents are more likely to get in an accident than you or your spouse.

According to the study conducted by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania, “regarding crashes that occurred from Jan. 15, 2003, to Nov. 30, 2007, involving 217,976 children 15 or younger. Injuries were reported for 1,302 kids.  Among those kids, 161 were driving with grandparents, resulting in an injury rate for grandparent drivers of 0.7%; while 2,293 were in the car with parent drivers, resulting in an injury rate for parents of 1.05%. “

Compounding the surprise of this finding is the fact that grandparents are more likely than parents to incorrectly use restraints.

So, let’s recap. Grandparents aren’t strapping kids in correctly and they’re getting in more accidents than parents are but still injury rates for kids is lower.

The conclusion reached by researchers is that grandparents might drive differently (read “more cautiously”) when they have the grandkids in the back. In other words, they may be having more accidents but not when they’ve got the kids in the back.

I’m feeling better and better about being a grandpa all the time!