A bomb threat at a middle school in Marlboro county has been proven to be a hoax. In the wake of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, the country is in a panic. The threat was taken very seriously and the school was locked down and put on alert. For more information on the hoax read Ashley Peskoe’s article for The Warren Reporter.
Archive for April 2013
MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, has recently started warning parents that drunk driving is not the only thing that has killed teenagers who drink. In fact it’s estimated that only 32% of teen drinking deaths are caused by driving while intoxicated. Parents need to be made aware that other things can happen when teens are drinking. Homicide, suicide, alcohol poisoning, and accidents were listed. For more information on the subject, and statistics, read Larry Copelands article for USA Today.
No doubt that in this day and age– and for anyone who watches the news at all– your child’s safety at school is a topic that’s regularly on your mind. Unless you’ve chosen to homeschool, you must acknowledge that you are automatically placing trust in teachers and school staff regarding the safety of your child on school grounds. However, you do still have a role in your child’s safety at school. There are strategies you can use to help ensure your child is as safe as possible.
Be Informed & Involved
You are your child’s first teacher and best advocate. These roles do not end once schooling begins. Be informed about your child’s school. Read every classroom and school newsletter, flyer, and note. Regularly attend the school’s PTA meetings, parent advisory board meetings, school improvement team meetings, and any other meetings where parents can be involved. These meetings –while they may not sound like the most fun– are the best way to understand and stay informed about the happenings and inner-workings of the school. Another way to stay informed and be knowledgeable about school happenings is to be involved in the school. Volunteer in your child’s class and at school events. Attend the parent- teacher conferences, book fairs, carnivals, and family nights. This helps you to become an active and valued part of the school community. It also allows you to build a strong relationship with your child’s teacher, as well as school staff and administration. Let’s face it, human nature dictates that the better they know you, the more likely they are to keep an extra good eye on your child. And the more informed and involved you are in your child’s school, the safer your child is likely to be and feel.
Following Rules & Procedures
If you’re informed and involved at your child’s school, you know that there are certain classroom and school-wide rules and procedures in place to keep the students safe. School is vastly different from home in that these professionals are working with large (sometimes very large) groups of children at almost all times. Behaviors that may perfectly acceptable and non-problematic in the smaller home setting can become unsafe in large groups of children, especially elementary age children. Know and follow these rules and procedures. Ensure that your child knows and follows these rules and procedures. Discuss them routinely with your child, especially at the start of each school year and after holiday breaks.
The Importance of Those Safety Drills
Nowadays, schools have safety drills for seemingly everything: fire drills, tornado drills, lockdown drills, and intruder drills. It might be easy to perceive them as fluff, or as practicing for something that will probably never happen at your school. Do not allow yourself to be lulled into such complacency. School safety drills are much like home or auto insurance –you have them, hoping you’ll never need them. But if you do need to use them, you are so grateful that you do have them. Talk to your child about these drills. Emphasize the importance of listening and following the teacher’s directions during drills. Stress that they are for practice –they are nothing to worry about. Rather, the drills make sure that your child, your child’s class, and the teachers all know what to do if there is an emergency.
Some Thoughts About Bullying
Bullying is verbal and/or physical behavior that is intended to embarrass, belittle, demean, influence, intimidate, or hurt another individual. Bullying is not a childhood rite of passage. It is not necessary for “putting hair on your chest” or “developing character.” Bullying is an abusive behavior that emotionally and physically traumatizes the victims. Do not practice or tolerate bullying within your home, your family, or your circle of family friends. Talk to your child about bullying, and state in no uncertain terms that it is unacceptable at home and at school. If your child shares that they are being bullied or you suspect that bullying is occurring, talk with your child about it. Find out the who, when, where, why, and how of what has been happening between your child and the other child(ren). Develop, discuss, and practice respectful, non-violent strategies for your child to deal with the bullying on the spot when it happens. However, do not leave it there; talk to your child’s teacher about what your child is telling you. Is this what the teacher is seeing? Is there another side to the story? Will the teacher observe, investigate, and then share what they learn about the situation? Give the teacher the opportunity to work with you to address the situation in a reasonable amount of time. However, if the teacher refuses to address it or take it seriously, you should then take the next step and discuss your concerns with school administration.
Admittedly, you can’t be at school every minute with your child. And, there are some safety situations for which you and your child cannot prepare. However, these simple strategies will help maximize awareness and safety, making you and your child more aware of rules, procedures, and practice drills, more informed about and involved in school events (which is always a good thing), and more connected and invested in your school and each other. You will always be your child’s most important teacher and advocate.
A story I read recently by Patty Hastings for The Bulletin entitled, “Sons Fall has Parents Talking Window Safety,” would bring most parents to tears. The last thing Becca Keene Cunningham expected six days short of her son Thomas’ 4th birthday was a fall from a second story window that fractured his skull and left part of his brain damaged.
The Cunninghams did everything possible to protect their three children, but forgot to install window guards. That is a guilt they will live with for the rest of their lives, but they aren’t alone. Many parents around the country don’t use these potentially life saving devices either. How many of us think “oh, that can’t happen to my child; I watch them constantly.” The fact is you can’t watch your children every single minute of every single day. You would have to be perfect super parents, and I’m sorry, but none of us are, or ever will be for that matter.
Children are inquisitive and it only takes a second for tragedy to strike. If it’s preventable by installing a simple window guard then why take that chance. You can’t get back your child once they are gone and they can be gone in an instant. It may not happen to your child, but then again it might. Do you want to be a statistic?
Summer is heating up and so are summer sports. Kids will be out playing football, basketball, baseball, and any other brand of sport that will keep them outside and running. However, it’s important to build in safety tips to go along with practice and playing. In many states the summers are beyond hot, so make sure that safety tips for the weather are built in as well. For more on summer sports safety tips read Christy Millweard’s article for KFVS12.
Six days short of his fourth birthday, Thomas Cunningham took a fall from a second story window, landing on the concrete and fracturing his skull. This happens more often than you would think, resulting in children dying from falls that could easily have been prevented. The Cunninghams try to raise awareness, because while they were lucky, some parents aren’t. Patty Hastings reports for The Bulletin on the sad story and what you can do to protect your children from window falls.
We all remember the days when going to the playground wasn’t considered a health hazard; maybe because we just didn’t know better. Now, the surfaces are rubber, the corners or rounded, and the metal has been removed. Still, with all of the protection going on at least 15 children a year are dying from playground related accidents. The question is why; the answer is provided by Laura McMullen reporting for U.S. News.
We’ve all laughed at a two year old that swipes a hand over the TV to get it to work, or touches the pages in a magazine to make them move. But honestly should we be laughing? We have no idea what health effects this new generation of ipods and tablets is having on our children mentally, as well as physically. Ariel Brewster reports on the topic for City News.
Liquid laundry packets are becoming extremely popular with parents for doing laundry. However, many parents don’t realize that these can be a danger to their little ones. Take extra steps to put these packets out of your children’s reach, as they can be a hazard. U.S. News Health reports.
Traveling with the entire family will require knowledge of basic travel guidelines to guarantee that everyone stays safe and has a good time. You have to make preparations a few days before. Learn about the experiences of other parents and get some techniques that might work for your own children.
You will realize that getting ready will serve several benefits and will make the trip more worthwhile. Your kids will also be more prepared for future vacations so you can have the best time. Here are the guidelines.
Let the whole family know weeks in advance that you’re going on a trip. Tell them what you’re going to be riding, like a car, a plane, a train, etc. Children who are traveling for the first time in a certain vessel or vehicle should be taught about the basics by showing them books or videos on the internet.
Explain to them how the vehicle works such as showing how an airplane flies or how the boat moves from one point to the other. You should also show your kids a map of the places where you will be going to let them know how far you’re traveling. Share how many hours you are supposed to travel.
2. The necessary items
Prepare a baby carriage for the car, check the seatbelts, check the tires and prepare a spare tire and all the basic car tools. Also fill up the tank with gas and take the vehicle to a mechanic to do a thorough inspection a couple of days before the trip.
Bring enough food and water for the children. They should stay hydrated throughout the trip. Also check the luggage. You might like to put locks on the bags to protect these when traveling by train or airplane. Place the luggage properly in your car trunk to keep them from taking space in your vehicle.
3. Set rules
Tell your kids that they should wear their seatbelts at all times. Instruct them that horseplay and bickering are prohibited and that they should try to learn a lot based on what they see. Ask them to read books and browse photos on the web beforehand so they know what to expect during the trip. Also provide them with games, toys, CD players, and portable devices to keep them occupied during the trip.
Having a Fun Trip
4. Make stops
It is important to make regular stops every 2 to 3 hours for children to empty their bladder. Also prepare the necessary items for babies. Make the trip educational by planning the stops at beautiful sights and landmarks then spending a few minutes talking about the environment. Ask your older children to watch over their younger siblings during stops. Also instruct them to stay close to the family at all times and not to talk to strangers.
5. The right time
Aim to leave early in the morning. This gives you a few hours of peaceful driving while the kids are still sleepy. Some parents also start driving at night when the kids are tired and ready to sleep. Give them blankets and pillows to stay comfortable throughout the ride. Also provide booster seats for small children. The children should always remain in the backseat to stay safe.
Bring a first aid kit at all times. Also have the mechanic check the airbags and seatbelts. Check the car to be certain the headlights and taillights are functioning properly. Also orient your kids on what to do during emergencies and road accidents. Teach them who to call and how to respond to the situation.