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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Most parents of young children know to keep medications up, away, and out of sight, but what about the parents of teenagers? In some cases, teens aren’t looking to drugs like marijuana to get high—they’re looking in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinet. Research shows that the number of teens who abuse prescription medication continues to rise. Take the Lock Your Meds® Pledge and secure the medications in your home.
More kids are hit by cars on Halloween than any other day of the year, so make them shine! Add glow-in-the-dark or reflective tape (often found in the bicycle aisle or hardware section) to your kids' costumes so that drivers can see your little witches, goblins, and vampires. Glow necklaces and flashlights are also good choices to help your kids stand out at night.
More information about Halloween safety here.
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.
During an emergency, kids often get confused and scared. Sesame Street’s Let’s Get Ready app (iOS, Android) will help you show your kids how to handle an emergency. From learning full names to creating an emergency kit for the whole family, the app offers plenty of fun and age-appropriate tasks to get your family ready for the unexpected.
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.
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.
Dogs are everywhere: at the park, on the sidewalk, at your neighbor’s house, maybe in your own home. Teaching your kids the right way to greet dogs will keep their experiences fun and safe.
The tips in the links below will help you and your child understand when it's okay to pet a dog and what signs show that the dog is too excited or overwhelmed--a prime time for bites.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Dog Safety for Kids (Doggone Safe)
What I Learned (Too Late) About Keeping Kids Safe Around Dogs (The New York Times)
Many states made changes to graduated driver's licensing laws in the past few months. Stay up-to-date on the rules your teen must follow to stay safe--and legal--on the road. Click here for a complete list of state laws on graduated driver's licensing.
Once you know the law in your state, enforcement is the next step. Talk to your teen about why the laws are important, and have your teen sign a driving agreement (such as this one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that lays out rules, expectations, and consequences.
Walking, riding, rolling, or busing? No matter how your child gets to school, safety is always a top concern. Before the start of the new school year, take some time to figure out the safest way for your children to get to and from school or the bus stop--and then practice the trip with them. Point out any safety hazards, like busy intersections and distracted walking.
Bonus: You can use these checklists to identify safety issues in your community, and then let school and elected officials know how they can create safer routes to school for everyone.
It might seem simple, but getting enough to drink can make a huge difference in the health of your child, especially in the long, hot days of summer. Drinking plenty of water helps prevent muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Also, kids can’t handle heat as well as adults can, so it’s really important that kids drink water before, during, and after sports and recreational play. Click here for a handy infographic from Safe Kids Worldwide showing you how much your child should be drinking.