Top 25 Safety Articles of the Week: March 29

safe gardening tips

This spring, stay safe while you exercise your green thumb

This week, we’re featuring several new faces with lots of interesting content on keeping your home, your family, your table, and your workplace safe.

Home Safety

  1. We all understand the importance of home security, but we also know it can be pricey. Rehna from Ardor NY Real Estate gives us five inexpensive ways to boost your home’s security.
  2. Metzae at Dandy Gadget has an interesting article on how smart-home technology is changing the face of home security.
  3. We’ve discussed how to burglar-proof your doors, and the Homes and House blog echoes these sentiments, recommending super-sturdy composite doors for security.
  4. Tammy, from A Mom and Her Blog, talks about the benefits of wireless home security systems.
  5. Powers Heating & Air has a different take on staying safe at home, doling out sage advice on three all-too-common home safety hazards.
  6. Spring has sprung, and WeMakeItSafer has some great tips on safe and healthy gardening this season.
  7. And April of Safety Source reminds us to keep fire safety in mind during our annual spring cleaning.

Family & Child Safety

  1. Just in time for spring break, Ayngelina of Travel + Escape hands out 5 travel safety tips you’ve probably never heard of.
  2. Mom Knows it All Evelyn talks about teaching your kids some important lessons in safety and personal security.
  3. If you’re celebrating this Sunday, Ask the Babyproofer has 10 tips to keep Easter fun and safe.
  4. Larry at SafeKids writes and impassioned an interesting article on bullying – and how adults need to stop bullying each other (and kids).
  5. Free Range Lenore sends us to Life As An Adverb for a great article on letting go and letting kids be kids.

Food Safety

  1. The Parent Report speaks with allergist Dr. John Dean to dish out info on signs and symptoms of food allergies.
  2. And Deb at Kids With Food Allergies follows up with some great, nutritional food substitutions for kids with food allergies.

Mobile & Cyber Safety

  1. Tim at uKnowKids outlines a three-step plan to help keep your children away from the dangers of sexting.
  2. Tim follows up with another great post, this time on 10 common Internet scams that could ensnare your kids.
  3. We Live Security reminds us of the ongoing problems criminal hackers are unleashing on Yahoo! email users.
  4. If you think you’re cyber insurance policy covers cloud computing, Christine warns that may not be the case.
  5. Parents often hone in on Facebook when thinking of online safety, but Leonie the Cyber Safety Mom reminds us that mobile apps are an important element to Internet safety.

Senior Safety

  1. The Aging Wisely blog counts down the top 10 signs you may need a geriatric care manager.
  2. And Elder Care at Home reports on the scary truth: prescription medication mishaps are common among seniors.

Work Safety

  1. If you’ve ever thought, “oh, my aching feet!”, Oshatoes wants you to know foot pain is not normal. And they review three common foot problems – plantar fasciitis, bunions, and neuromas – and how to prevent them.
  2. Facility Management Magazine reviews how to minimise contractor risks by embracing accountability. (I can just hear the Australian accent as I spell minimise!)
  3. And speaking of Australia, the Safety At Work blog brings us some interesting news: Simon Corbell, ACT’s Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, surprised the country by accepting 27 safety recommendations from a recent report,  stating, “Safety is an issue for every person on a construction site with principal contractors, sub-contractors, workers, unions and the Regulator all working together… The Government expects employers and unions to demonstrate leadership on this issue.”
  4. Finally, Blog4Safety has some handy tips on how to prevent slip and fall accidents in the workplace or at your business.

Top 25 Safety Articles of the Week: March 22

healthy eating for kids

Don’t feel guilty; there’s always time to introduce healthier, better foods

Does this photo make you feel guilty? It did when I first saw it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my son’s eating habits, specifically his lack of green vegetable consumption. I swear, his superpower is the ability to pick a green veggie out of absolutely any food, even pizza.

But guilt is not the point of the image. The point is to encourage healthy eating, especially since evidence shows that all those preservatives we consume are actually linked to behavior problems. Could my kid’s dinner be interrupting his sleep? Now that’s some food for thought.

Home Safety

  1. If you have little ones at home, Alison at KidSafe has an excellent home safety cheat sheet (overview), complete with babyproofing advice that even seasoned parents can overlook.
  2. Raise your hand if you love Q&A sessions. Rachel from the Culture of Safety blog answers six reader questions this week. Pop Quiz: Can you get burned by tap water?
  3. We do a lot to protect our families and homes, but here’s something that’s easily overlooked: Have you made an inventory of your possessions? That list can be indispensable in the case of theft.

Family & Child Safety

  1. What’s one surefire way to boost your immune system? Get enough sleep. Most adults need 6-8 hours, and kids need more. Taking a probiotic helps too. Check out Delpro. It’s SSF approved
  2. If you know someone who just doesn’t “get” the effects (and dangers) of cyberbullying, send them over to iKeepSafe to read Katie’s post on bullying in the digital age.
  3. And, yes! Here’s an uplifting story: Lenore of Free Range Kids recounts a tale of two kids (ages 9 and 10) who saved a baby’s life. This is what heroes look like, readers.
  4. The news is full of the “fear factor,” but Kenny’s post at blog4safety debunks some common safety myths. Click on over to discover 20 things that are statistically safer than you think.
  5. This is almost the flip-side of the above list, but the Compliance and Safety blog shares a great infographic of 20 surprising dangers. If they weren’t dangerous, some would be almost funny. (e.g. You’re more likely to die by collapsing sandcastle than get eaten by a shark!)
  6. Caroline of Common Sense Media has some practical (read: realistic, finally!) advice about children and screen time. Because you know you let your kid watch TV.
  7. Back in my day, we plastered Mr. Yuck! stickers everywhere, but parents today can count on Jacque’s excellent post on poison prevention at Baby Product Experts.
  8. And finally, since your pets are definitely an important part of the family, PetSafe gets real about how to introduce a new cat to your household.

Food Safety

Food safety topics kept popping up this week, so they’re getting their own category! 

  1. Casey at Moms Rising summarizes a recent study linking sugar to diabetes, and encourages parents to play whack-a-mole with our kids sugary snacks.
  2. Also from Moms Rising, Debbie wrote a powerful and heartfelt post this week on junk food, school, and how hard it is today to watch what our kids eat. Read the whole post for a happy ending!
  3. Monifa, again of Moms Rising (I just can’t help it, they’re on fire this week!), explains that black children are at greater risk of childhood obesity. And she encourages all parents to sign the petition to support Junk Free Schools.
  4. Speaking of sugar and health, Consumer Reports has a scary statistic for you: soda and sugary drinks have been linked to 180,000 deaths per year.
  5. And here’s one that will strike close to home for anyone with a picky eater: evidence suggests a link between the Standard American Diet and behavior problems, like hyperactivity and sleep issues.

Mobile & Cyber Safety

  1. Hackers are getting sneakier, and meaner and more detailed. And, increasingly, hackers are targeting small businesses. WeLiveSecurity talks about keeping your customer information safe.
  2. Michael Levine and Christopher Ferguson cross-post to SafeKids and discuss whether video games influence youth violence. You might be surprised at their answer.
  3. Nikki posts to the iKeepSafe blog about passwords, specifically on how to create hacker-resistant passwords.
  4. Tim of uKnowKids is one of my favorite safety bloggers, and for good reason: his posts are always excellent – rich and meaty. This week, he gives us some great tips on how to talk to teens about sexting. Way to tackle a sensitive topic!
  5. Just one more from Tim, because it’s also important: read up on his recommended digital safety rules for every household. I love that he differentiates trust in your child from trust in everything available online. That’s an important distinction.
  6. Heads up, there’s another email scam on the loose. WeLiveSecurity clues us in to a link scam that masquerades as current events (in this case, Cyprus and its financial crisis).
  7. And here’s another timely warning; Robert Siciliano of McAfee warns about tax-time scams. Think about it: millions of Americans filing taxes + private banking and financial data + a prevalence of online tax software/advice/filing = a dream cocktail for hackers and scammers.

Senior Safety

  1. Susan of Help! Aging Parents reminds us that aging bathrooms are not the best choice for aging parents. Even small changes can make a big difference in your parents’ quality of life.

Work Safety

  1. As I sit here in my brand new desk chair, I can’t help but nod in agreement: Joe guest posts on blog4safety about why ergonomics matter so much, especially for office furniture.

Top 25 Safety Articles of the Week: March 15

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Yes, teens need limits and rule

This week, my favorite bloggers published some very interesting and thought-provoking content that I am eager to share with you. And while all these posts resonated with me on some level, one really stood out: a piece about how teens, even the most fiery and independent, still need limits.

Parenting is never easy, but I imagine that parenting a teenager is one of the toughest challenges. They’re growing up. And, in fact, few generations ago, many of them would already be married and parenting their own kids. But today is different. In some ways, kids have fewer responsibilities and in other ways, they have many more. They have to be responsible for their real-world and digital footprints. They have to learn how to say no to an ever-growing list of dangerous temptations. And it’s our job, as parents, to help guide and advise them. And that means setting limits and enforcing rules.

I will say, though, that I’m a little scared. My toddler is already as fiery and fiercely independent as any teenager. The 2020s are going to be rough on me.

Home Safety

  1. Mike, from the NFPA’s Safety Source, reminds us that we should have changed smoke detector batteries when we moved our clocks forward. He also links to a free resource (PDF) on smoke alarm safety at home.
  2. Judi, also of Safety Source, has some sound advice on cooking safety: never leave your stovetop unattended. This is an all-too-common (but preventable) cause of house fires.

Family & Child Safety

  1. We all know that it’s harder to be nasty to another person’s face, but Tim of uKnowKids puts this in context: cyberbullying is faceless, and is therefore easier and more prevalent than traditional schoolyard bullying.
  2. Speaking of bullying, here’s a feel-good post for you: Irene from KidPower tells us how swimming can prevent bullying. She also requests donations (as little as $1) for a micro-campaign to help a local school.
  3. Cyberbullies aren’t the only online predator: children’s own self-esteem can work against them. Leonie, The Cyber Safety Lady, shows us how to block self-harm websites.
  4. Free Range Kids posted a very thought-provoking reader comment: do parents today protect kids more because we love them more? Lenore posts a great reader response, plus some commentary of her own; the comments section is also a good read. What do you think?
  5. Baby Product Expert Jacque gives some great advice this week on what to eat when you’re expecting – and at the hospital, and while breastfeeding, and throughout your baby’s first year (whether you’re nursing or not – your baby needs a healthy mom!)
  6. The Parent Report has some excellent advice – I just want to shout, yes! – on why even the most independent, spirited teens still need boundaries, rules and limits.
  7. The Kids with Food Allergies blog posted an awesome resource for families: a video and guide to dining out with food allergies.

Mobile & Cyber Safety

  1. Hannah guest posts on Blog4Safety about 15 common Internet scams and how to avoid them. Forward this one to friends, folks! You never know who could fall prey to an online scam.
  2. Brian Krebs, of Krebs on Security, introduces us to a very useful, built-in browser tool that can help keep online threats at bay. It’s called “Click-to-Play” and it’s easy to use.
  3. And speaking of, WeLiveSecurity summarizes some Krebs on Security info about a malware-dissemination scheme targeted at Google Play.
  4. Teen sexting is problematic on many levels, but here’s one you don’t always consider: there are legal ramifications. Sexting can be considered child pornography. Please talk to your kids. Don’t just ban them from sexting; explain the why.
  5. Last week, the FTC cracked down on 20+ spam text messengers who send sneaky scams marauding as offers for freebies.
  6. I really appreciate Callie’s, of uKnowKids, alternative take on digital parenting and online security – how to protect your minor’s credit rating & Social Security Number.
  7. Chris Duff takes us through six common computer mistakes and how they can affect your security and computer performance.
  8. Robert Siciliano of McAfee reviews several mobile device security concerns – and provides some great, simple ways to boost your protection.
  9. Graham Cluley from Sophos clues us in to the public figure & celebrity identity hack that went down this week.
  10. An excellent question: Daniel of iKeepSafe asks, “Should hate websites be included in online safety and digital citizenship conversations?” What do you think, readers?

Senior Safety

  1. Susan of Help! Aging Parents tells her story – and explains some important differences in palliative care and hospice help.
  2. In this same vein, the Aging Wisely Blog discusses senior living and care – do you know the level of care at a retirement community? – and how to help your loved ones choose the best option for them.

Work Safety

  1. Eric at the Belden blog offers up some essential security concepts and advice for CEOs. Today, everyone has to be on top of cyber safety at work.
  2. You’ve heard of the Harlem Shake (please tell me you’ve heard of the Harlem Shake? If not, get thee to YouTube!), but did you know it could get you fired?
  3. Sad but true: Ruth of Moms Rising recounts the story of a man who was too afraid of losing money (or his job) to take sick days, and later died of cancer. Ruth encourages all Americans to contact their Congressmen and Congresswomen to support the Healthy Families Act, which is being reintroduced to Congress next week.
  4. If you don’t think bullying happens to adults, think again. Kevin of the Safety at Work Blog discusses peer pressure at work, and how it can beget unsafe situations.

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).

Top 25 Family Safety Articles of the Week: Feb 15, 2013

protect your children from cyberbullying

Cyberbullying: A very real concern

Happy belated Valentine’s Day! I hope you had an enjoyable celebration with your family. It gets you thinking though, doesn’t it? Thinking about how much you love and appreciate them, and how much you care about their safety. That’s what it does for me. Every time I hug my little boy and every time my husband smiles at me over dinner, I think about how much I love these two people.

We’ll be doing these weekly roundups a little differently from now on. I hope you like it. Instead of hitting on just a handful of the week’s best posts, I’ll be highlighting the past seven days of safety news, superior blogging, important recalls, and other safety & security tidbits that make my radar. As always, you are welcome to leave suggestions to other recent news and interesting info in the comments.

Home Safety

  1. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, and fire a serious hazard, especially in the winter months when we’re burning fuel. After deaths in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Portsmouth, VA, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reminding you to be safe this season and check your home heating.
  2. Home safety devices are only as good as their last check. Tiffany at No Ordinary Homestead has some great tips on when to check each device, from smoke alarms to your outdoor barbecue.
  3. Did you know that most heat (thermal) burns in children under 14 are due to contact with household appliances, like room heaters, curling irons, and range tops? Marianne from the Child Safety Blog reminds us how to keep our homes burn-safe by taking measures to avoid scalding injuries, kitchen accidents, and other events that can result in serious burns.
  4. Gun safety is the talk of the Senate, where a bipartisan group of senators is working on legislation to require more detailed background checks on gun buyers. Jennifer Steinhauer blogs for the New York Times on how senators hope to strike a balance between advocates for gun control and proponents of the right to bear arms. The legislation may incorporated into the Chief Senate bill on gun safety.
  5. Though many parents are unaware, window blind cords are a serious home safety hazards when you have young children. If you haven’t budgeted for cordless blinds or curtains, you can follow Blind Plymouth’s tips on how to keep babies, toddlers and other little ones safe around cords.
  6. Have you ever wondered about the history of home security? What did the ancient Romans do? The American colonists? Get these answers and more at the Daily Caller.
  7. If the history of home security isn’t amusing enough, Naked Security bring us this week’s real, live zombie attack. Well, sort of. It’s like War of the Worlds in the new millennium – and an excellent lesson in how dangerous hackers can be. It’s humorous in hindsight, but maybe not if you were watching the news in Montana this week!

Family & Child Safety

  1. Cyberbullying gets a lot of press, but it’s not the only bullying threat children and teenagers face. Pat Brownlee guests on Blog4Safety about seven types of childhood bullying highlights some of the most vicious and insidious ways others can undermine your children’s self-esteem, confidence and happiness.
  2. That’s not to say cyberbullying isn’t a serious problem, because it is. Check out Tim Woda’s story on uKnowKids about how even a former Green Bay Packers cheerleader can be the victim of online cruelty. Then grab his eBook, “10 Essential Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Cyberbullying.”
  3. I love Free Range Kids; Lenore is always a breath of fresh air. This week, she brings to our attention a recent decision to sell all four Iowa Girl Scout camp properties. The reason: they’re too rustic for today’s kids. I tend to agree with Lenore here, that getting away from the WiFi connection and television and heck, even hot showers, is a character-building experience – and one that Girl Scouts would still benefit from. What do you think?
  4. Do you understand the perils of sexting, and how they could affect your preteen or teen? Tim, again from uKnowKids, reminds us to explain the consequences – short- and long-term – to our children, so they understand just how serious sexting can be. Despite what their friends say.
  5. And if you don’t think that talking to kids doesn’t help, check out what Daniel Kent has to say about the effectiveness of online safety presentations.
  6. Safety Mom hit us this week with some great tips on how to keep seniors safe during the winter. This is particularly important if your parents or other seniors live alone, especially in the wake of such a serious winter storm as Nemo was.
  7. KidSafe brings us recent research suggesting that the current vaccine timetable – and vaccines themselves – are safe. (Let’s not start a vaccine debate. If you’re interested, read it; if not, take a pass.)
  8. I really enjoyed Bryan’s post about developing family “core values” – and his link to a great WSJ article on running your family like a business. That’s some great food for thought.
  9. Consumer Reports says that deadly infections are too common in hospitals. And get ready for brain shock: not only are hospital-acquired infections deadly, but they’re estimated to cost about $45 billion in additional healthcare every year.
  10. When you’re a kid, one of the best things about the winter is playing in the snow. Melissa gives us some good tips for keeping your kids safe while they play on their snow day.

Online Safety

  1. Hands-down, the top news item in online safety this week is President Obama’s cybersecurity executive order. These measures have potentially serious implications for our security, and ZDNet lets you in on what you need to know about the President’s cybersecurity order.
  2. Some cybersecurity experts seem to have reacted positively (via The Last Watchdog) to President Obama’s order, while others label it as least as better than the alternatives (Andy Greenberg, Forbes Staff). Others believe the plan reaches too far (Jody Westby, Forbes Contributor). Where do you fall?
  3. Heads up: KrebsonSecurity warned us that Adobe announced two security flaws this week. Update your Flash players!
  4. And speaking of security issues, TechCrunch clues us in that iPhones running iOS 6.1 have been discovered vulnerable to hacking into photos, email, apps, messages and FaceTime.
  5. Remember the email chain letters from back in the day? You remember – the ones that had to be sent on or the world would end? David Harley talks about online hoaxes of today, which are couched in more realistic threats like malware and other cyber enemies.

Work Safety

  1. If you live in Michigan and work in construction or general industry, Peoples World wants you know that Gov. Rick Snyder just signed two bills into law on December 20 that will affect (weaken) your safety at work.
  2. The New York Times and the Federal Reserve have recently admitted to cyber attacks. According to The Last Watchdog, your company might respond by instituting new steps to detect and deter online intruders to your work files.
  3. Security is of particular concern in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workplace. TechRepublic provides tips on how keep your network, data and employee devices safe from cyber harm.

Safe Sound Family’s Weekly Roundup (February 1)

adult vaccine schedule

Do you follow the adult vaccine/booster schedule?

When you think of family safety, you think of your kids, right? Maybe your partner. You probably don’t afford much time to think of you, to worry about yourself.

I know I don’t, or at least, not as much as I could. So this week, I’m dedicating our roundup to the parental component of a safe family. Because if we’re sick, our kids are sick. If we’re unhappy, our kids are unhappy. If we’re unsafe, our kids are unsafe. Etc. etc. You get it.

Let me know what you think!

On Raising Children Today

Do you know Seth Godin? I’m a big fan for many reasons, but a recent interview has made me like him even more. When speaking with Krista Tippett on NPR’s “On Being” this week, Godin mentioned that he himself was a “Free-Range Kid” – and that his kids are, too. When explaining his parenting style, Godin says that it is our responsibility to teach our children about the world today, and that they are always leaving a mark or record behind. But once we’ve taught them that, we must trust them to remember the lesson and hope that they’ll act according. Of course, Godin is a loving parent and, like all of us, he recognizes that letting go and encouraging independence is, “so difficult to do as a parent, because what you really want to do is lock them up until it’s time. But the bravest thing to do is have the Free-Range Kids who are exploring the edges of the universe, but doing it in a way they are proud of, not hiding from it.” Hear, hear!

Vaccines for Grownups

If you’re a parent, you’ve heard of the vaccine debate and you’ve probably been caught in the crossfire a few times. Everyone has an opinion, and not just about vaccines and their own family, but about vaccines and YOUR family. It’s exhausting. But we rarely talk about vaccines for adults, and whether you get your boosters when recommended. Well, Consumer Reports and the CDC say that most adults aren’t getting their shots, even though there are almost a dozen recommended adult vaccines (!!) – and that’s not including the flu shot! Have I piqued your curiosity? Consumer Reports also has a full chart of recommended adult vaccinations, which include HPV, hepatitis A & B, and chicken pox/shingles.

Do You Need a Mammogram?

Speaking of safety, do you need a mammogram? Three recent reports by the  British Medical Journal discussed mammograms, cancer detection and over-treatment. (About 20% of women 50 to 70 who are diagnosed with breast cancer will be overtreated, according to these reports.) So while the short answer to this question is yes, you probably do need a mammogram (if you meet the general criteria), but you should also understand the limitations of these tests, the possibility of false-positives, and how to proceed if you do yield a positive test.

Triaminic and Theraflu Recall

Well, this is timely. Just as I’m fighting off a sore throat and body aches, I read that there has just been a recall of Triaminic and Theraflu. Now, the good news is that there’s nothing wrong with the syrup itself – it’s the packaging that’s dangerous. The locked caps, which are supposed to be childproof, are not. At least 12 kids have unscrewed them, and one needed medical attention from ingesting too much cough syrup. So if you’ve got little ones with nimble hands, go check your medicine cabinet. I, for one, am just going to chug it all down myself!

Stay safe and healthy!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.