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Columbus, Ohio
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Weigh your child's backpack

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We're at the start of a new school year, so it's time to take a good look at your child's backpack. Kids stuff all kinds of things into their backpacks: textbooks, notebooks, lunch, water bottles, sports equipment, headphones, laptops, who knows what else. As all that stuff piles up, so does the weight, but kids really shouldn't be carrying more than 10-15% of their body weight. Weigh your child's backpack to make sure a typical load isn't putting too much strain on those young shoulders.

Check out this article and infographic about heavy backpacks, and here's a handy chart to help you figure out how much weight your kid can safely carry.

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Make safety a habit all year long

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Little steps can add up to big impact. Taking a few minutes every week to think about safety is a habit worth creating.

 

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Buy battery-operated candles for your holiday decorations

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Holiday decorations are all about setting the mood for warmth and good cheer, but nothing ruins the fun faster than an emergency. According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles cause two out of every five decoration-related fires. Keep the festivities safe by using flameless battery-operated candles in decorations and around your home. (Just remember to only buy candles with child-resistant battery compartments. More info on battery safety here.)

 

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Protect little hands: put up a safety gate around fireplaces and stoves

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Your fireplace or wood stove may have doors or glass to keep children from reaching the flames, but that does not mean that they're safe from burns. The glass can reach temperatures has high as 1000 degrees, so protect little hands by putting up a safety gate around fireplaces and stoves. 

From the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's On Safety blog:

"If you already have a fireplace, buy a protective retrofit barrier to protect your little ones from being burned. Barriers can include attachable safety screens, safety gates and fireplace safety screens....  If you choose an attachable safety screen, check with your fireplace manufacturer to get the right one for your fireplace. You can buy safety screen barriers at fireplace retailers and hardware stores and purchase safety gates at big box and/or baby product stores."

More information here and here.

 

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Always use the shopping cart safety straps

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'Tis the season--for shopping! When taking your little ones out to gather gifts or find ingredients for a feast, remember to use the safety straps on shopping carts.

Why is this so important? Injuries from shopping carts happen more often than you might think. Without the safety straps, your kids could climb out of the cart and fall onto a hard floor. Click here for more tips to keep your kids safe around shopping carts.

 

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Take off your child's coat BEFORE buckling them into a car safety seat.

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Cold weather has set in across the country, which means coats and snowsuits for everyone. All that extra padding, though, makes your child's car seat a little less effective, so take off your child's coat before buckling him up.

(Wondering why this matters or whether your child will be cold? Start with this story from today.com.)

 

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Store liquid laundry packets up, away, and out of sight

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Single-load laundry detergent packets may seem like a quick, easy way to simplify a daily task, but if you have young children, it's important to store the detergent the same way you would other poisons: up, away, and out of sight. Since laundry detergent packets were introduced to U.S. markets in 2012, calls to poison control centers about the packets have skyrocketed. As the video below shows, many factors are leading to this increase, but the bottom line remains the same: Store liquid laundry packets up, away, and out of sight.

 

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Review your Pinterest board

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Pinterest: crafts, decorations, activities, recipes, and the motivation to do them, all in one place. So what's missing? An important safety check. Cutting your kid's hot dog to look like an octopus might be cute, but it's also a choking hazard for young children. Many do-it-yourself projects don't meet standards (cribs are a good example), and recalled products are often pinned with no information about the defect.

Pinterest is a fantastic source for both creative and practical inspiration, but review your boards for safety before putting those pins into action.

(Want more info? See this blog from Nationwide Children's Hospital.)

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Talk to your teen about "5 to Drive"

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Car crashes are the #1 cause of death for our country’s teenagers. The “5 to Drive” campaign takes on some of the biggest risk factors for teen drivers, such as distracted driving, extra passengers, and speeding. Click here to learn more about the program, and then talk to your teen about following the rules of the road.

 

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Install a working smoke detector in every bedroom

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It's simple: smoke detectors save lives. You probably have one installed near your stove and maybe in the hallway. But did you know you also should have a smoke detector in each bedroom or sleeping area? Having enough smoke detectors will give your family the best chance to get out of the house safely.

Click here for more information about where to place smoke detectors.

 

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Replace an old tradition with a new one

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Riding on a tractor or lawn mower with Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa might be time-honored tradition in many parts of the country, but it’s simply not safe to have extra passengers, so it’s time to find a new tradition. Cultivate Safety offers a list of farm and garden tasks that are right for kids’ ages and abilities. Pick an activity to do together to replace an old tradition with a new one.

 

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