Wherever you stand on the issue of gun control, we can all agree that children shouldn’t have access to firearms…
A question that every parent has to face sooner or later… when is my child old enough or big enough to move from a car seat with a 5-point harness to a booster seat?
Unfortunately, there is no set age or weight. Fortunately there are some factors that can help you make the right call to ensure the safety of your child(ren).
According to “Car Seats for the Littles” (csftl.org), more important than age or weight is the child’s maturity level. According to the site:
“Moving a child to a booster seat gives them freedom that they’ve never had before: freedom to lean sideways, slouch, bother their sister, pick up a toy off the floor, and so on and so forth. If a child is wiggling out of position at the time of a crash, that leaves them vulnerable to serious injury.
That means the decision to move from harness to booster is rooted in the child’s maturity. The ability to sit correctly for the entire ride, 100% of the time, happens somewhere past age 5 for most kids, and not until 6 or 7 for a many others.”
Find out more by visiting csftl.org
If you’ve got small children you know how much of a lifesaver a tablet, a cell phone or the TV can be at times. Your child might not sit still long enough to read a book but if you put them in front of a video game they’ll stay mesmerized for hours at a time.
Debates have raged concerning the merits or dangers associated with letting your children spend so much time with electronic devices and TVs but there are new studies that seem to point to the fact that it might also lead to vision problems later in life.
The problem is that the crystal lens in your child’s eyes don’t fully develop until they are older. It might not be fully formed until your child is three or four. The blue light from LED screens goes straight through instead of being blocked as it does in adults where the crystal lens is fully formed.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting children under 2-years of age to no exposure and children over 2 to no more than 2 hours a day, others are saying that just isn’t realistic. A better solution, the advocate, is to get your children to wear protective glasses that block the blue light.
If your children already has to wear glasses, you can get a coating added to your child’s glasses. If not you can purchase blue light blocking glasses for your child at http://www.gunnars.com/
When kids get together and decide that they want to get drunk they don’t really care about the quality of the alcohol; to them booze is booze. Unfortunately many kids and teenagers will drink whatever they can find that will get them drunk, including apparently, alcohol based hand sanitizers.
Besides the obvious issue of underage drinking is the issue of what exactly they are ingesting. Turns out that there’s a big difference between the alcohol that is sold for consumption and the alcohol in sanitizers.
Hand sanitizers contain isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol will definitely get you drunk but it can also cause internal damage, blindness and, in extreme cases, death.
To make matters worse kids are apparently purchasing or stealing sanitizers and challenging each other to drink it. Others just start drinking it because of the scents added to make them smell the way they do (strawberry and orange, for example).
Lest you think this is just an isolated incident, hospitals across the US have reported a 400% increase in sanitizer related alcohol poisoning in young children in the past 5 years. This means that almost 17,000 kids each year are brought into hospital emergency rooms because they have been drinking sanitizers.
Bottom line is that you should make sure that sanitizers are kept out of the reach of children, especially those that smell tasty. Additionally, parents need to make sure that they aren’t giving their children access to sanitizers that they might ingest.
You might think that, as you’re sitting by the pool with your kids you’ll hear them cry out if they are in danger of drowning. It takes only about 1 minute before submersion occurs so if you’re looking at your cell phone, reading a book or getting a tan, you probably aren’t watching well enough. Check out what a child drowning actually looks like:
How old does a child need to be in order to be left at home alone? How about with siblings? Once you make that call, how do you ensure that they are safe and that their experience isn’t a negative one?
Most states have no minimum age laws (Illinois, Maryland and Oregon are the exceptions with minimum ages set at 14, 8 and 10 respectively) preferring instead to let the parents decide for themselves when their child is mature enough. Children are all different and have different needs and while one child may be ready to be left alone at 10, another might not be ready until much later. Generally it’s probably best not to let a child under the age of 10 be alone except for very brief periods and certainly infants and toddlers should never be left alone, even for a few minutes.
Be that as it may, here are some tips to help in giving your child this type of independence:
– When you believe that your child is old enough, start by leaving them alone for a short period of time. As they show that they can handle it and don’t show unusual behavior (acting more nervous or fearful, suddenly having nightmares or other behavior changes that might signal fear that they might not be vocalizing) you can start extending the time.
– Make sure that your child knows how to calmly dial 911 and knows what to say.
– Make sure that the child knows his or her full name as well as the address of the house where they are.
– Make sure that they have your phone number memorized as well (It isn’t enough to have it set up in their cell phone. Cell phones can break and die and they need to know how to get a hold of you if this should happen.
– Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal clues about how the child feels about being alone in the house. Don’t force the child until he or she is ready.
– Make sure that the child knows how to work the security system if you have one installed; make sure they also know what to do if the alarm goes off.
– Walk through several scenarios with them such as what to do if there is someone at the front door, what to do if they see or hear someone walking around outside, what to say if someone calls, what to do in the event of a storm, tornado or other inclement weather, what to do if the power goes out (make sure you leave flashlights and let the child know where they are in case of power outage), etc…
– Set a time (or times, if the stay is longer) when the child needs to check in with you (This is a great test to see if they can follow orders and take responsibility).
– Let them know that this is a privilege but also a responsibility and because of that there are certain rules that if broken will result in them no being allow to be alone in the house again until they show that they are mature enough to abide by the rules (e. g. no friends get to come over, rules about how much TV or computer times they are allowed and what they are allowed to view, rules and restrictions about cooking, etc…)
– Finally make sure that the environment you are leaving them in is a safe one. Lock up all guns and firearms. Make sure that drugs and alcohol is locked up as well. Make sure that matches and lighters are put away too.
Being a good parent is all about leading a child from dependency on you, as the parent to independence and leaving them alone at home, in a safe environment is certainly one of the steps in this process. A little preparation, dialogue and instruction can make this transition easier and more worry free.
From the http://www.whaleprogram.org/ website:
“W.H.A.L.E.™ stands for “We Have A Little Emergency.” This car seat safety program was developed by Connie Day, a caregiver from Virginia. In the event of an automobile accident that incapacitates the adult driver and passengers, rescue personnel will have a difficult time identifying children riding in car safety seats. In some situations, these adults may not be related to the child passenger; therefore, conventional means of obtaining information will be useless. In these cases, W.H.A.L.E.™ can make a significant difference.”
The program consists of three parts:
1. An Information Label is attached to the back of the car seat, which provides important information about the child, such as name, date of birth, medical history and who to contact in case of emergency. The label is placed on the back of the car seat where it is not visible from outside the vehicle. This ensures the privacy of this personal information.
2. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Car Seat Stickers are attached to the sides of the seat.
3. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Vehicle Stickers are attached to the rear/side windows of the vehicle. Each of these stickers depicts the W.H.A.L.E™ logo and will alert emergency personnel that the occupants participate in the program.
Read more about the W.H.A.L.E. program and find out where to get your kit at http://www.whaleprogram.org/