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.
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Check new toys for button batteries. These small, coin-sized batteries are in many children's toys. When swallowed, button batteries can cause serious injuries and even lead to death, all within as little as 2 hours. Check your child’s toys (and other household electronics) for button batteries and make sure battery compartments are secure.
'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.
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.)
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.
Despite constant reminders to slow down, kids will always be running across the deck or patio to the backyard to play. A trip and fall around a hot grill could mean major burns for your little one, so take a few minutes to mark a 3-foot "No Kids Zone" around your grill with tape, paint, or chalk. Ask everyone to help enforce the 3-foot rule to keep kids (and pets) safe around the grill.
A summer party isn’t complete without Tiki torches and other fun lights, but have you looked at the torch fuel? It looks just like apple juice.
How is your child going to know that one is okay to drink and the other is a deadly poison? Short answer: he won’t know, and there are plenty of stories that prove it. So after filling those torches, make sure you store the fuel up and out of sight.
OK, OK, maybe this isn’t the best way to water your lawn, but that kiddie or portable pool you have set up in the yard for the kids to splash in becomes a major drowning hazard if it’s still full of water after play time is over. It might be a pain to refill it every time the kids want to cool off, but it’s much, much safer. So water your lawn (or pour the water right into the storm drain) and empty kiddie and portable pools every time.
More advice for staying safe around portable pools can be found here.
Your child may be tugging at your hand, pulling you towards the bounce house at your local festival or fair or even in your neighbor's back yard, but do a little safety check before taking off her shoes and letting her bounce to her heart's delight:
Only let your child jump alone or with children of her own size and age.
Watch your child and enforce rules, such as no flips, somersaults, or rough play.
Trust your instincts. You know when something just isn't right. Look at the way the bounce house is secured to the ground, weather conditions, and the professionalism of the staff. If the house doesn't seem secure, it's windy or raining, or the staff doesn't seem to have control of the kids jumping, then trust your instinct and find another activity.
More tips to safely use inflatable bounce houses can be found here.
If you have a child in your car, it’s easy to be distracted. Why not let your child help you stay focused instead? In the same way that school teachers assign students jobs around the classroom, assign your child to help keep you safe. Your child can remind you of the speed limit, or keep other children from being too loud, or even check to see if you have important text messages.
As a bonus, while your child is helping you, you’re also able to talk about the rules of driving. Because one day, your safety monitor will be a driver too.