Monday, May 24, 2010

OK, it’s finally warm! Let’s go out and play! It’s all out there for us to enjoy, state and city parks, amusement parks, and water parks! Canoeing, swimming, hiking, biking, camping, flying kites, horseback riding are all there for the doing! But hold on…how can we be ready for all this without worrying about bees, sunburn and dehydration??? Ta..da… Get your pen ready for the summertime survival kit! (I just keep mine in a bag in the car, ready at a moment’s notice!)

-Bottles of H2O – Even if they’re warm, they’re at least wet!

-Bug spray

-Sunscreen- SPF 15 or higher, and “water resistant” if possible. Apply every 2-3 hours or more often if swimming, sweating a lot. Avoid the “10-4” times, but seek shade/air conditioning frequently, if not.

-Hats, sunglasses and lip balm with SPF are also recommended.

-Antibiotic Ointment – For scrapes and bites

-Antihistamine – (Like Benadryl) for allergic reactions

Wheelin’ Safely into Summer

Monday, May 17, 2010

Time to be outside, finally! For kids this means, feeling the mud squish between your toes, feeling the warm sun alight on your face, playing outside with your best buddies, and riding your bike through the neighborhood! For Moms and Dads, it’s time to get kids ready to ride their bikes safely!

There are several issues when kids are old enough to ride, like: helmets, where your kids are allowed to go, stranger/acquaintance safety, wearing light colors to be seen, etc. (See the NHTSA website for really good tips!) It’s also a fabulous way to get exercise!

4-H has a Bike Safety Project that’s hands-on practice, which is so important for how kids learn practical skills like bicycle safety! Check it out by contacting your local 4-H/Extension office.

For tips at home, check out this website from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for more specific details to helping our kids be safe on their bikes:

Submitted by: Carol Pool, PCAIN Prevention Education Specialist

Summer Supervision of Your Children

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Despite what the weather indicates, summer is just around the corner! This time of year can be very challenging for parents in terms of what kind of care and supervision will be available for their children once school is not in session. Many childcare facilities take children only to the age of 12 or 13. Other options may not be available due to cost or capacity. It is a good idea then, to start thinking about the end of school care as soon as possible.

1. Determine what appropriate childcare options are available. What ages do they take? What is their child to staff ratio (this question is important even if your child is older)? What are their discipline philosophies? Have there been any complaints against them? Do they do background checks? What is their playground equipment like (if applicable). What trainings are the staff required to attend…CPR, Child Abuse training, etc?

2. Camps are another option for families…both day and overnight. Similar questions should be asked of any camp as well…trainings, background checks, staff to child ratio, etc. What kinds of activities will be available, and what are the age groups for each activity? For instance, you may not feel comfortable with your child being involved in a specific activity due to their age or development.

3. Relative\friend care is another option for families during the summer. Although it may feel awkward, it is just as important to ask questions of relatives and friends about their plans and skills. Be very clear with them about your expectations for care. Perhaps you don’t want your child sitting in front of the TV all day. Perhaps you don’t want them going to other friend’s homes whose parents you have not met. What is around their home that could pose a hazard…pool, lake, no fenced yard, wooded areas, etc. Again, even if you have an older child, supervision is imperative.

4. If you are in a situation where an older sibling is watching a younger sibling, be extra vigilant. How old, and more importantly how mature, is the older child? Will it be all day, every day for the entire summer (something that’s not recommended)? How well do they get along? How many children will the sibling be watching? Who is in the area (friends\relatives) that can assist if needed? Do they know what to do in an emergency? Insure they have taken a formal babysitting class. What hazards do you have around your own home?

5. Prior to summer’s coming, have your child spend time with whomever will be providing care. Leave them with your provider (if possible) for short amounts of time prior to having to leave them for an entire day.

For more information for both caregivers and parents, go to:

Children's Pet SafetyTips

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 2-8 is Be Kind to Animals Week -- Teaching your children basic safety tips around pets can protect them in many ways. A child that is growled at, or bit at a young age will usually develop and retain a fear of animals. Without the proper basic instruction, children may become injured and afraid of pets for the rest of their lives. The first step in helping protect your children is to get obedience training for your dog, which will help you control your pet around children. Then teach your children the tips below that experts suggest all children be taught at a young age. These tips will help your child enjoy, respect, and understand your pet's behavior.

1. Let your dog or cat eat without being disturbed. Explain to your children that cats and especially dogs can become defensive around the food dish. Do not sneak up on, or put your hand near the bowl when the pet is eating.

2. Some dogs are very attached to their balls and toys. Never take a toy or bone from a dog's mouth unless the dog is willing to drop it. If the dog is unwilling to drop the toy tell your children to have an adult get the toy.

3. Show your children how to pet an animal nicely. Do not pull the animal's tail, ears, poke their eyes or throw things at them. Teach them animals are not toys.

4. Never sneak up on a pet. If frightened, dogs and cats can become defensive, and pet birds can injure themselves. Approach the cat, dog, or pet from the front with your hands visible and speak in a low soothing voice. Don't allow children to play any "hide and seek" or "sneak up on the pet" games.

5. Show your children how to observe body language. Tell your children that since dogs and cats can't talk, they communicate by using body language. Dogs that have their tail up, ears back, hair standing, are barking, growling, or showing teeth, are all signs that the dog is being bothered and should not be confronted. Cats that have their hair standing, tail stiff, ears back, are hissing, and have dilated eyes are signs that they are being bothered, and should not be confronted. Tell your children if they are ever face to face with a dog showing these signs to not scream, run or stare into the animal's eyes. Tell them if they run, the dog will usually chase and may attack. Always walk away slowly with no fast movements while avoiding any eye contact with the dog. Be sure your children know to immediately tell an adult if a dog, cat or other type of animal ever bites them.

6. Do not invade a dog's space. Tell your children to never stick their hand in a car window, pickup truck bed, or dog pen. The dog might bite to defend his territory or snap at your child after being awakened suddenly.

7. Do not get near or try to stop two dogs from fighting. They might become more excited if they are yelled at or separated. Tell them to get an adult to help.

8. Teach your children to wash their hands after playing with any animal or pet. Children may come in contact with all types of bacteria after playing with and touching a dog or cat. Turtles and reptiles are also carriers of salmonella and other bacteria.

9. Try to discourage your children from letting pets lick their face. While children are more likely to become infected with some type of bacteria by putting their hands in their mouth, it is still wise to tell your children to not let animals lick their face.

10. Tell your children to always ask for the owner's permission to pet an unknown dog or cat. Some dogs and cats are afraid of children, some might be sick or injured, and some dogs might be working dogs for the handicapped. There may be a number of reasons the pet should not be approached. Once they have permission from the dog's owner, they should then approach the pet slowly, allowing the dog or cat to smell their scent, and then pet the animal.