Top 25 Safety Articles of the Week: March 8

fire rope ladder

Something this simple can save your family’s lives

It’s the little things in life, right? And while the phrase usually refers to life’s simple pleasures, “little things” can really be a lot of things. Like an inexpensive, compact fire ladder that saves a man’s life as he flees from a burning building.

Yes, it is the little things in life – little things that allow us to continue enjoying life. Safety measures are so important, not as a way to incite paranoia or fear but as prevention. We’ve all heard the maxim, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So this week, we’re focusing on not just the latest safety news but also on the latest ways to prevent data fraud, childhood illness, and more. Be safe!

Home Safety

  1. Lauren of Safety Source, the blog for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), shares with us a new tip sheet on outdoor electrical safety.
  2. If I haven’t yet convinced you of the importance of a fire safety plan, then you have to read this week’s story from John of the Culture of Safety on how a fire ladder saved a man’s life.

Family & Child Safety

  1. The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation shares evidence that certain airborne chemicals have been linked to immunoglobulin E (IgE) and asthma.
  2. The Huff Post and Moms Rising question the presence of questionably effective, possibly dangerous chemical flame retardants in kids’ products, like nap mats and pajamas.
  3. If you worry about your young driver acting irresponsibly in the car, KidSafe this week featured a new invention that stops teens from texting while driving. (I wish I could install in on every adult I ever pass while driving!)
  4. Tim from uKnowKids does it again, this time offering up some valuable info that is also heartwarming: check out his roundup of current anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying movements around the U.S. 
  5. Alison the SafetyMom hits the nail on the head with this week’s post, titled with the self-explanatory With Parenting Styles, One Size Does Not Fit All. You got that right!
  6. Free Range Mom Lenore always brings us the latest on all things preventing kids from being kids, and this week she has some uplifting news: a public call to ditch the “misguided security blanket” afforded by helicopter parenting policies, and focus on the real problem: red tape and lawsuits.
  7. Pets are important members of the family, but we don’t always apply the same precautions to our furry friends as we do to our kids. Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives and Alliances, gives us all the details on pet-proofing to prevent poisoning.
  8. And speaking of your four-legged family members, Natalie Lester, a PetSafe Brand Communications Specialist, shows us how one door + one containment system can = independence for your pup.

Mobile & Cyber Safety

  1. Last Watchdog Byron reminds us that being on a smartphone or tablet does not make us invulnerable to data stealing, especially with the latest scams that have you clicking on links you never intended.
  2. Brian of Krebs on Security warns that suspicious activity this week prompted a password reset for all Evernote users, while Oracle’s Java also issued its third critical security update in a month.
  3. If you’ve ever been interested in the online dating scene, don’t miss this article from Safe Kids (they care about parents’ safety, too!) on online dating safety tips.
  4. Tim, of uKnowKids, clues us in to the latest sex trafficking scheme – using Facebook to find victims – and how you can protect your kids.
  5. If you’ve ever lost or had your smartphone stolen, Scott from A Silver Lining reminds us that these little touch-screens are actually mini-computers – and need to be treated as serious security risks.
  6. David of We Live Security has some excellent points on how hundreds of thousands of Facebook likes can be deceptive (and completely wrong). The article reminds me of what my mom always asked: If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?
  7. Lisa, of Sophos Naked Security, peels apart the onion layers (it’ll certainly make you cry) of the latest debit-card fraud – scammers pretending to protect your from scammers.

Senior Safety

  1. Ryan of Inside Elder Care reminds us to really dig into the policies of our parents’ or other loved ones’ assisted living or nursing care communities. What will happen in an emergency? Will community staff perform CPR?
  2. Susan at Help! Aging Parents gives us some pointers on helping our parents make the best decisions for their health, like whether they should get life-changing surgeries.
  3. The Aging Wisely blog develops a debate about the work-family balance, and how it applies to work-at-homers and eldercare.
  4. Safety Mom Alison features a really cool infographic on the “communication lifeline” – the relationship between caregiver and seniors. Alison is also hosting a Twitter party on March 13 to discuss signs your aging parents need help.

Work Safety

  1. In the U.S., construction mishaps account for 17 percent of all work-related accidents. Carl at Blog4Safety provides 5 tips for a safer construction workplace.
  2. Blog4Safety gives us another good one on how to identify the dangers of asbestos.
  3. And speaking of creating a safer workplace, Kevin from the Safety at Work Blog discusses the lack of a “safety culture” for employers and employees.
  4. If you’re in the U.S., your time is going to change this weekend. Roy at The Society for Human Resource Management reminds us all to be careful that sleep deprivation doesn’t lead to workplace accidents next week.

Top 25 Safety Articles of the Week: March 1

seatbelt for pregnant women

This pregnancy seatbelt is not only safe, but allows for (more) comfortable third-trimester driving. Finally!

Welcome to another week of the blogosphere’s best safety & security news! There were a lot of important tip posts this week, so I tried to round out the seriousness with upbeat safety news, too. For example, did you know that a U.K.-based company has developed a harness seatbelt for safer driving (or car riding) while pregnant? Ladies, the third trimester just got a little bit less uncomfortable.

I hope you enjoy my favorites. As always, if there’s something I missed, please let me know in the comments.

Home Safety

  1. Martine at Dainty Mom shares her top tips for keeping your home and family safe. I really appreciate her emphasis on simple, clean things we can all do, like choosing healthy foods and chemical-free cleaners.
  2. Fire safety crosses international borders. Seasoned home inspector Brent from Homes Extra asks important questions in his fire safety test. Is your family safe?

Family & Child Safety

  1. If you’ve ever worried about what to do in the case of anaphylactic shock, you can’t miss Caroline’s post over at The Grateful Foodie on four missed anaphylaxis emergency care opportunities.
  2. When Inhabitots mentioned the world’s first seatbelt designed for pregnant women, it was all I could do not to shout YES! It looks more like a race car harness than your standard belt, and is designed to keep mother and baby safe in the event of an accident.
  3. Did you know that heart disease kills more women than breast cancer? Read all about heart health – for men and women – over at Safety Mom.
  4. Admittedly, growing pains are not so much a safety concern as a question of your little one’s comfort and happiness. But we all want to minimize our children’s pain, so The Parent Report has some easy tips on what to do if your child is experiencing growing pains.
  5. File this one under obvious-but-forgotten: if your child has special needs, is in public school, and has and IEP, Judy Safety Source reminds us that he or she should have a personalized emergency evacuation program.
  6. If anyone has ever taken care of your child, you probably know how awkward/hard/uncomfortable/stressful (take your pick!) it can be to relay your wishes in a way that doesn’t make you seem… well, kind of nuts. Sierra from Common Sense Media has some really great, really sane tips on how to communicate screen time rules for every occasion.
  7. Have you checked your credit report lately? Dennis from iKeepSafe tells you why you need to run regular reports, and how you can do it with minimal headache.
  8. Doreen from SAF Baby has some really solid tips this week on healthy, easy habits your family can adopt to prevent obesity.
  9. What to expect when you’re expecting – and you already have a dog? The Parent Report collaborated with doggie guru Dr. Stanley Coren to give us some good tips on introducing your new baby to your furry baby.

Senior Safety

  1. Change is constant, but it’s also hard. And change is particularly difficult for seniors, who are experiencing major transitions, like the death of a spouse or loss of independence. Aging Wisely gives some good advice on how not to handle transitions for the seniors you love.
  2. This week, Susan from Help! Aging Parents also reminded us that it’s never too soon (or too late) for a refresher on the signs of stroke and learning proper emergency response to a stroke.

Online & Data Security

  1. Robert from McAfee reviews one of the sneakiest – and most rampant – Craigslist scams out there today. Seller beware!
  2. Aleksandr of We Live Security clues us in on a major hacking scheme against European banks – that’s been going on for a year!
  3. Consumer Reports reminds us that we should never ignore a data breach letter. Take the (free) steps to avoid identity fraud, and save yourself a bundle of stress and money down the road.
  4. Patricia Vance, President of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), hops over to the Get Game Smart blog to school parents on how to read game ratings – and why they matter.
  5. It’s easy to demonize cyberbullies, even the pint-sized ones, but Tim from uKnowKids has a great point: is your child a cyberbully without knowing it? Remember, even well-intentioned kids can get swept up into peer pressure. Sometimes all it takes to turn bullying around is a bit of parental guidance on netiquette and The Golden Rule.
  6. And while we’re on the topic of kids and their roles in cyberbullying, Sameer from the Cyberbullying Research Center reports on a very encouraging trend: young students are now using plays to combat cyberbullying.
  7. Graham from Naked Security (hmm… wonder what that office looks like!) gives it to you straight about Adobe’s record three Flash Player security updates in February.
  8. Good news doesn’t always make headlines, but Last Watchdog Byron has the details on some new, cutting-edge technology to beat the bad guys.
  9. WebProNews summarizes some of the findings from HP’s newly released 2012 Cyber Security Risk Report.

Work Safety

  1. Blog4Safety brings us a timely guest post from Saam Banai on how to outfit your business for winter safety. Keep your employees and customers safe during this final month of winter!
  2. Steve from The Safe Workplace posts summaries of OSHA and state OSHA significant citations that have proposed fines over $100,000 every week. Check out some of the citations from the week ending February 23rd – and make sure your workplace isn’t on the list.
  3. Pamela at Income Therapy has some 10 rock-solid tips on best safety practices for the workplace.

Top 25 Family Safety Articles of the Week: Feb 22, 2013

increasing online security with biometrics

Are fingerprints and heartbeat scanners the cybersecurity of the future?

This week, I’m eager to share with you some great blogging on cyberbullying, online account hacking, and the dangers of BYOD – and essential tips to prevent these problems. I’m also excited to share some really cool articles about the future of online security: biometrics! Real life just got a little bit closer to science fiction.

I’m still waiting on those flying cars, though.

Home Safety

  1. Score one for the good guys: Nick Smith from a San Francisco ABC affiliate has the recent story of a how a local homeowner (and the police) used his home security cameras to catch a thief.
  2. The U.S. government’s Food Safety blog wants you to know that the nutrition label is growing up: it just turned 20! The FDA also notes that nutrition label changes/updates are on the horizon.

Family & Child Safety

  1. We talk a lot about cyberbullying here at Safe Sound Family, but here’s some great information we’ve never talked about: Tim of uKnowKids gives us an overview of the laws that govern online bullying.
  2. While he’s on the subject, Tim also talks about the short- and long-term repercussions of cyberbulling – both for the victim and the aggressor. If your kids have been involved in online bullying, get them the help they need!
  3. Finally, Tim winds down with some great info and suggestions on how teachers can help address and prevent cyberbullying.
  4. Free Range mom Lenore Skenazy is one of my perennial favorite bloggers for level-headed parenting. This week, she talked about a study – yes, another study – that shows helicopter parenting might cause depression when kids reach adulthood. Something to chew on.
  5. Does the cold of winter make you want to bake? (Or, at least, spend time snuggled in front of a warm stove?) Bryan of the Child Safety Blog gives us eight good tips on teaching your older kids to use knives safely.
  6. It’s a difficult topic to discuss – or even to think about – but Blog4Safety brings us essential tips on how to protect yourself against predators in your home, on the street, and in your car.
  7. KidSafe reminds us that social media use is on the rise, even for our very youngest population: most kids under 2 (!) have a social footprint.
  8. If you spend any time traveling with elderly friends or family, you’ll be thankful for Blog4Safety’s review of the 7 most essential travel safety tips for seniors.
  9. Heads up: new federal regulations are going into place for play yards (playpens).

Online Safety

  1. If you have a Mac – and especially if you bought one so you’d be “invulnerable” to cybercrime – Gary from McAffee has news for you: Apple devices can be hacked
  2. … And they were, this week. Agam Shah from CSO News has the skinny on Apple’s malware attack.
  3. uKnowKids hops into the mix again with a great post on how to keep digital parenting fun with five kid-friendly websites that teach online safety.
  4. Taylor Armerding from the CSO blog  has a very interesting article on Google Play and one app developer who says Google shares too much of its customers’ personal information.
  5. If you’re interested in President Obama’s new cyber security initiatives, you can’t miss this PBS interview with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
  6. Hemanshu Nigam of the Huffington Post has a suggestion for Sesame Street that will grab the attention of any parent with young children: Elmo should teach online safety for kids.
  7. We’re way past Halloween and the closest holiday is St. Patty’s Day (right?), but if you’re hankering for some real-life horror, check out Lianne Caetano’s insight into how cybercriminals can access your texting history, rob your bank account, and steal your identity.
  8. Call me a geek, but this is cool: The Toronto Star reports that the next frontier in online security is our bodies. That’s right, we’re talking about using biometrics, like your unique heartbeat, as a sort of human barcode.
  9. And speaking of, GMA News says that Google is looking into password-less online security. Still on the topic of biometrics, Google might consider using fingerprints or iris (eye) scans to log you on.
  10. Did you read about the epic Twitter hack that went down this week? Funny – unless it’s you or your brand getting hacked. The Cyber Safety Lady has everything you need to know about stopping your Twitter account from being hacked.
  11. Brian Krebs, of KrebsonSecurity, brings to light a Christmas Eve 2012 cyberattack on a California financial institution that netted $900,000 in stolen funds.

Work Safety

  1. This week, the Work Safety Blog had two great posts: five rights you have (but may not know) when working near the water, and all about asbestos awareness training.
  2. Yikes. Numaan Huq and Richard Wang of SophosLabs bring us the latest and sneakiest point-of-sale malware designed to steal your customers’ money. Don’t ever trust that your business is too small to be targeted.
  3. I mentioned BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and work safety last week, but here we go again. We Live Security has some pros and cons of BYOD, and how to keep your workplace safe(r).

Create a Home Safety Plan for Your Family

child with home safety plan

Prepare a home safety diagram with your children

A home safety plan is an essential tool for keeping your family safe, as it establishes what to do in case of emergency. All families should prepare for fire safety and burglar defense, but you should also extend your planning to natural disasters. This will depend greatly on where you live. Does your area get frequent flooding? Earthquakes? Hurricanes? Tornadoes?

(And now that scene from The Wizard of Oz with the flapping cellar doors is running through my head…)

Even with young children, it’s important to practice your plan several times per year. (And at least once at night.) Since fear and adrenaline are not friends of preparedness, get to a point where you can all act on autopilot. Stay safe!

Create Your Home Safety Plan

don't be like Dorothy

This scene is much less amusing, now that I am a mother!

1. Identify Two Safe Meeting Areas

Choose the two safest areas in your home – one as your primary meeting spot, and the other as your alternative. The safest spots are ones without windows and closest to the ground, so if you have a basement or first-floor interior bathroom (or other windowless area), these are often the safest choices. A long hallway can also work.

2. Set Two Outdoor Meeting Areas

In case your family is separated during an emergency, also set two safe outdoor meeting spot to reunite (primary and alternative). Your outdoor meeting area is the primary escape destination during a fire.

3. Draw a Diagram

Children are visual and often do well with reminders. Draw a color-coded diagram of your various escape routes. Choose a favorite color for the primary safety plan, so your child will be able to easily jog her memory in an emergency. If you have more than one young child, give each his own color-coded plan.

4. Dial 911

Teach your child the power of 911. As basic safety, children should always be able to recite their full address; this is helpful in case of emergency, as they’ll be able to call for emergency help even from a cell phone.

practicing on the fire escape ladder

Make sure your children practice climbing down their fire escape ladders before there’s an emergency

5. Know Your Equipment

Except for very young children, all members of your household should know how to use a fire extinguisher and how to identify the call of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

The key to emergency preparedness is practice. In the moment, you’ll likely experience a mixture of fear, panic and adrenaline. It’s easy to act on reflex, so drilling your home safety plan over and over will help you keep a cool head.

Practicing your plan is also very important for keeping children safe. If they sleep on an upper level of your home, be sure to practice climbing down the fire escape ladder. Talking about the fire escape ladder is not enough. Some children have an unknown fear of heights and may freeze in the moment, if it is their first time on the ladder. Practice in advance.

Make sure to practice your safety plan during different conditions, and at least once per year at night. The dark amplifies fear, and in an emergency your children will likely be scared. Practicing in advance gets them better prepared to stay safe.

Finally, practice basic safety measures over and over, like touching a door before opening (to identify the heat of fire) or “stop, drop and roll.” If you live in an earthquake-prone area, teach your children (and train yourself) not to run outside – it’s quaking out there, too! – but to hunker down in a safe spot. If you suffer from hurricanes or tornadoes, drill your family on getting to a safe spot. 

In other words: Be prepared, and drill preparedness until it’s second nature.

8 Surprising Safety Hazards in the Home

dangerous extension cord

Extension cords and other cables can present a serious hazard to young children

You probably don’t think of your home as a labyrinth of potential dangers, but quite a few everyday objects maraud as surprising home safety hazards. Sure, you have your knives safely stored out of the reach of chubby toddler hands, but is your dishwasher – where you wash all those sharp knives – toddler-proof?

Yeah, mine wasn’t either. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make you a bad parent or irresponsible caregiver; it just means we have to bone up on hidden safety hazards in the home. Here are the top dangers I’ve caught at my house. Help me out: What else am I missing?

Dun, dun, dun… Dishwasher

I already mentioned that dishwashers can provide easy access to sharp knives (and scissors and meat forks and…), and you also need to watch for access to detergent. Many dishwasher detergents, both liquid and powder, are corrosive and poisonous if swallowed. Keep these products way out of the reach of young children.

Magnets

Is your fridge decorated with fun magnets, maybe even those cute letters that help kids learn to spell? Heads up, because these can be dangerous to kids, especially ones who still put everything in their mouths. Not only are they a choking hazard, but swallowing magnets can cause serious internal injuries. (Remember the rare earth magnets recall?)

Corded Blinds

I shudder to even think of this one, but corded blinds present a serious strangulation risk to young children. It’s really not enough to just tie the cords up or snag them on a high hook; kids are industrious! Cordless blinds are available but can get pricey. At our house, we make do with curtains and a few sliding vertical blinds (no cord, just a solid plastic pull) to block the sun in key areas.

master grilling station

Your dream grilling station is also a potential fire hazard

Pools & Hot Tubs

You may not be surprised that pools and hot tubs are dangerous, but I’m not only talking about drowning risk. Pool chemicals are very poisonous, so make sure they’re locked up at all times. Additionally, faulty wiring, aging wiring, and malfunctioning equipment can cause electrocution; and poorly maintained drains can suck in hair and cause danger to young swimmers. Perform regular pool maintenance and always watch your children while they swim.

Grills

Millions of Americans fire up their massive grills to barbecue during warm weather, but few realize what a hazard these dream cooking machines can be. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates an annual 6,500 grill fires resulting in $27 million in property damage and unquantifiable injuries.

don't buy a used carseat

Used carseats have hidden dangers; always buy new!

Extension Cords

Extension cords cause far too many injuries and property damage each year, due to misuse and poor maintenance. Don’t use cords that are frayed or faulty (warm to the touch), and never domino them together for extra length. Be sure to observe children and pets, as chewing on these cords can result in burns and electrocution.

Balloons

Don’t feel like a party-pooper if you restrict your kids’ use of latex balloons. These popular birthday accoutrement are a leading cause of suffocation, as children often chew or pop balloons, and the latex can perfectly adhere to their throats to block breathing.

Hand-Me-Downs

Passing clothes and shoes on to younger siblings, family and friends is great, but resist the urge to give or receive used gear. Older high chairs, bouncers, and other baby and toddler stuff might not meet current safety standards. Of particular concern are used carseats, which should never be used. They’re likely expired, and if they’ve spent any time in the sun or experienced even a minor fender-bender, there may be invisible cracks in the seat that render them unsafe.

Crime Prevention Tips for Kids

McGruff the crime-fighting dog

McGruff is a great way to teach your kids the basics of safety and crime prevention

I’m not a fear-monger, but parents, you have to know this: Every year,  thousands of children are affected by violent crime. Some estimates put the number at thousands per day. It’s our job – our duty – to keep our kids safe. That doesn’t mean locking them in the house until they’re 25, but our responsibility does extend to teaching basic safety and crime prevention.

The Basics

Even young children should know these basic safety precautions.

  • Help your child learn their full name, phone number (including area code), and address (including city and state).
  • Teach children how to call 911 (and when it’s appropriate) and how to use cell phones and pay phones.
  • Teach your kids how to identify “safe” adults, like a police officer or security guard or teacher.
  • Explain to your kids that they should never accept a ride, food, or gifts from someone they don’t know.
  • Take logical safety precautions in public, like accompanying younger children to the bathroom.
  • Teach your child the power of “no.” No one has a right to touch them if it makes them uncomfortable, and you will never, ever get angry if they tell you that someone has touched them, despite what that person might threaten.
  • Designate a safe spot in your neighborhood, like a trusted friend’s house, to go to in case of emergency.
  • Evaluate your neighborhood for areas of safety concern – wooded areas, poorly lighted areas, etc. – and then teach your children to be safe or avoid the area altogether. (Be realistic about this one; for example, you probably can’t prevent young adventurers from checking out the woods, but you can teach them forest safety.)

Children’s Independence

All kids step out on their own at some point, whether it’s to walk to the bus stop or run to a friend’s house. Part of our parental responsibility is teaching kids how to stay safe when we’re not around.

  • Encourage your children to use the buddy system – walk and play with friends or classmates.
  • Teach your kids to avoid solitary areas, like alleys and vacant buildings.
  • With your kids, map out the safest routes to the bus stop, stores and friends’ houses. Explain that they shouldn’t take shortcuts and should always stick to this route.
  • Explain the importance of alertness – even if they’re listening to music or chatting with a friend, your kids should be aware of their surroundings.
  • Never talk to strangers (unless they’re designated “safe,” like police).
  • Teach your child that if they sense danger, it’s okay to yell “help!” and find a safe adult. They don’t need to feel embarrassed.
  • Ask your children to check in when they get home from school, if they’re planning to stay late, if they go to a friend’s house, etc.
  • Listen up. Let your kids know that they can always talk to you without shame or embarrassment. Take their concerns and complaints seriously.
  • Emphasize words and mediation over violence. Tell your children to always speak with an adult if they see children or adults with knives, guns or other weapons.

Avoiding Sexual Abuse

Don’t be embarrassed to speak to your children about their personal space and rights to their own bodies.

  • Help your children understand that no one, not even a relative or authority figure, is allowed to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. 
  • Talk to your kids everyday. Listen to their concerns and observe unspoken discomfort. Encourage conversation.
  • Never shame or punish your child for confiding in you.
  • Don’t force a child to sit on someone’s lap, or to hug or kiss someone if they don’t want to. This helps teach them that they have control over their own bodies.
  • Remind your children not to talk to strangers.
  • Keep alert to warning behaviors that could indicate sexual abuse. These may include increased anxiety, sudden hostility, and secretiveness, and can extend to physical symptoms such as bedwetting, nightmares, and genital irritation or pain.

Safe Sound Family’s Weekly Roundup (December 14)

Stolen Tiger Parade

Have you seen this tiger?

This week, there was a sensational and heartbreaking burglary in New York; we learned the truly terrifying results of a CPSC safety study; the Wall Street Journal questioned whether our playgrounds are too safe; and we learned how to talk to teens and pre-teens about sexting. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, right? Because when it comes to your family’s safety, there really are many, many spokes of the wheel. 

Won’t the Real Cat Burglar Please Stand Up?

A burglar with a truly hard heart stole 18 ceramic tigers from a Gramercy Park, NYC townhouse this week. The huge wildcats are part of the “Tiger Parade,” a fundraiser that hopes to foster awareness regarding the plight of the world’s wild tigers – an endangered species with only 3,200 individuals remaining in the world (compared to 100,000 tigers at the start of the 20th century). The most shocking thing about the robbery is that it happened in plain sight, during the day – neighbors watched and snapped photos of the robbery, oblivious to what was really going on. Talented artists had donated their time and talent to decorate the ceramic statues, which are valued at $50,000-$150,000+ each.

Children and television safety

Don’t become a statistic

Your Child & Television Safety

Unfortunately, they’re not talking about the boob tube’s effects on your child’s emotional wellbeing; this time, it’s about children’s physical safety. A new CPSC report shows that one child dies every two weeks from a falling TV, appliance or other furniture. The age group at biggest risk is childen from 1-5, and 70% of deaths are attributed to falling television sets. Additionally, the same causes an startling 3 injuries per hour, 71 injuries per day, 2,117 injures per month, and 25,400 injuries per year. Do your family a favor and childproof all televisions, appliances, and balance-challenged furniture.

Are Playgrounds Too Safe?

Here’s an interesting item for your review: a recent article from the Wall Street Journal wonders if today’s playgrounds are too safe? According to the article, modern playgrounds are so safety-conscious that they eliminate all risk-taking, which in turn can actually feed phobias and anxiety. Comments Ellen Sandseter, an associate professor at Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Norway, “It’s important that play environments are as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible.”. Well said! Then, Jennifer of Parade Magazine chimed in with some great commentary on the WSJ article. After a brief trip down memory lane (I loved the metal merry-go-round, too!) Jennifer challenges playground manufacturers to step it up, linking us to some amazing and “safe enough” playgrounds around the world and at least 19 incredible outdoor play spaces in her native New York.

Playgournd Safety

I know where I’d rather play!

Let’s Talk About Sext, Baby

My son can’t even read, and yet I’m already cringing at the idea of of his sexting. The world today seems so very different from the one in which I grew up. Cell phones, Facebook, cyberbullying… the permanence of anything that ever happens online. I’m convinced our kids have it both easier and harder than we did. And if you have a tween or teen you think might be sexting – sending provocative photos via text (usually on their phones, but online too) – then you know it’s time for a chat. This week, Tim Woda of Keeping Kids Safe delivers some great advice on how to talk to kids about sexting. I love how he keeps it teen-current, like suggesting you weave a celebrity sexting scandal into the mix. If you want your teen to listen, it’s essential to approach such important topics in a non-threatening and relaxed manner.