It’s Playground Safety Week – time to check those playgrounds!


Every year, about 200,000 kids are injured seriously enough in public playgrounds that they require emergency room treatments. As seasonal warm weather starts to settle in and kids head to public parks and play spaces, National Playground Safety Week offers a good reminder to parents. Don’t take it for granted that the public or commercial play equipment that your kids like so much are safe – make it your business to check out these spaces for yourself.  Don’t hesitate to call your Parks & Recreation department to ask about safety.

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) offers a helpful checklist of things that you should look for in playgrounds. For other excellent guides, see KidsHealth and the
National Safety Council.

We’ve compiled just a few these tips:

Provide supervision.  Adults should be on hand to watch for hazards and respond to any emergencies.

Ensure age-appropriate outdoor play. Make sure your kids are not using equipment that is above their age or safety level. See the NPPS guide for age appropriate design.

Be alert for clothing hazards. Be careful about strings on your kids’ clothing or on equipment. Strings can get caught causing strangulation.Remove strings, scarves, necklaces, and jewelry. Kids should also wear appropriate footwear. And here’s one important point: some parents might think a bike helmet would offer good playgroup protection – wrong! Playgrounds and helmets don’t mix. Helmets can snag on equipment or tree branches and cause asphyxiation.

Prevent burns. In addition to being careful that your kids are not out in the sun too long and have sunscreen to prevent burns, be sure to check the temperature of equipment surfaces. On a hot day, some equipment could be hot enough to cause burns. See Tips for limitings sun exposure.

Be alert for heavy molded plastic animal swings.  Those animal swings might look fun to you and your kids, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled these a number of years ago because the weight and frame can cause serious injuries if they strike kids. CPSC offers a 61 page Public Playground Safety Handbook that offers more safety information.

If you are planning for equipment at homes, see the NPPS backyard playground video series for tips.  And if you do have a backyard playground, make sure that you check with your insurance agent to be sure you have adequate liability insurance.

Keeping Kids safe: Tips for childproofing your home


children playing

Injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages 19 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The home should be the safest place for kids, but that isn’t always the case. SafeKids reports that every year, 2,200 children – or six kids a day – die at home in the U.S. from unintentional injuries, and another 3.5 million go to the emergency department to be treated for the kinds of injuries that commonly happen in homes. They offer great information and prevention tips on types of kid injuries that occur most frequently in the home. These include:

  • Button Battery Injury Prevention
  • Falls Prevention
  • Fire, Burns and Scalds Prevention
  • General Home Safety
  • Laundry Packet Safety
  • Medication Safety
  • Suffocation Prevention and Sleep Safety
  • Toy Safety
  • TV and Furniture Tip-overs Prevention
  • Water Safety

We also like this Childproofing 101 Infographic from fix.com that highlights key areas in the home that you should pay attention to.


Source: Fix.com Blog

Back to school toolkit for kids of all ages


back to schoolIt’s getting to be that time of year… back-to-school season! Over the years, we’ve posted lots of advice for parents and students of all ages. In this post, we’ll offer some of our best back-to-school posts, with a few new resources thrown in.

College planning

Kids heading off to college? Double check insurance coverage first – we talk about homeowners/renters, auto, ID theft, tuition insurance and stand-alone policies for electronics.

College survival guide: Safety tips, what to pack, dorm hacks – a handy list of checklists from safety & security to eating healthy in a dorm.

ID theft is on the upswing and college students are at high risk – common types of fraud, resources to avoid ID theft or deal with it if it happens, and information on identity theft insurance.

Rental Insurance for the College Graduate – we suggest this as a gift for recent graduates, but it is as valid for students who will be renting. The post talks about myths, checklists and what you need to know.

Kids at home – back to school

Tips from 60,000 pediatricians about back to school safety – this post focuses on safety issues around traveling back and forth to school. You can also click for an updated checklist of Back to School Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Schoolbus safety tips

Backpack safety – there are a surprisingly high number injuries from overloaded back packs. Learn how to be sure your kids are not at risk.

Tips & tools for avoiding or dealing with the flu

Edutopia: Back to school resources for parents

PBS Parents: Back-to-School Tips for Parents

KidsHealth: Back to School – lots of advice for parents, or click through to get advice for kids, too.

Care.com: 101 Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Parents

5 steps to kid car seat safety


1. Know your state law: Child Passenger Safety Laws

2. Get the right seat for your child and your vehicle. Learn more about the four Car Seat Types. Make sure you use a car seat that fits your child’s current size and age. Use this chart to learn about Car Seat by Child’s Age and Size

3. Find a car seat. The Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that lets you do just that. Simply enter your child’s birth date, weight and height above, and you’ll be provided car seat type results that fit your child according to NHTSA’s best practices recommendations.

All car seats rated by NHTSA meet Federal Safety Standards & strict crash performance standards. While all rated seats are safe, they do differ in their ease of use in four basic categories:

  • Evaluation of Instructions
  • Vehicle Installation Features
  • Evaluation of Labels
  • Securing the Child

Learn more about car seat ease-of-use ratings. To help with finding the right seat, you can also use the Consumer Reports ratings & Buyers’ Guides

4. Learn how to install your car seat correctly. This page offers videos and advice for the different types of kid car seats.

5. Register your car seat so you will be sure to get any car seat recall notices that might be issued

Other resources:

the-right-seat

As summer approaches, are your windows kid-proof?


window safetyWe’re a little late in jumping on the National Window Safety week bandwagon – it runs from April 3 to 9 this year – but we’d maintain that window safety isn’t an issue that should be confined to a single week of the year. The National Safety Council says that “Window Safety Week coincides with the arrival of spring, when homeowners naturally want to open the windows and let in fresh air. Its goal is twofold: For families to understand the role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency and to learn to safeguard against accidental window falls.”

Every room should have two ways to exit – usually, that is at least one door and one window. The National Safety Council offers these window safety tips as part of your escape plan.

  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut
  • Do not install air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape
  • Make sure at least one window in each bedroom meets escape and rescue requirements
  • Window guards, security bars, grilles or grates render windows useless in an emergency unless they have a release mechanism; update them if necessary
  • Develop an emergency escape plan and practice it during the day and at night
  • Keep emergency escape ladders in second- or third-story bedrooms and teach everyone in the home how to use them

If you have young children, you have another safety issue to consider. Every year, more than 3,300 children under the age of 5 fall from windows, suffering injuries serious enough to send them to the hospital; sadly, about eight children a year die from these falls.

The Window Safety Task Force offers these tips to protect children from window falls:

  • Avoid the placement of furniture near windows to prevent children from climbing
  • Do not rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall
  • Keep children’s play away from open windows and doors
  • Install building code-compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open or window guards with release mechanisms to help prevent a fall
  • Teach your child how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency

Here are some additional tools:

Window Safety Brochure
Fire Escape and Window Safety: A Balanced Approach
Window Safety Checklist