Have a Safe Halloween

Monday, October 25, 2010

A few safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can protect children who plan to go trick-or-treating this Halloween.

Treats: Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering.

Flame Resistant Costumes: When purchasing a costume, masks, beards, and wigs, look for the label Flame Resistant. Although this label does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.

Costume Designs: Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists.

■For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.
■To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
■Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
■Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother's high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.
■Hats and scarves should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes.
■Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, however, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
■Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.
Pedestrian Safety: Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child. All children should WALK, not run from house to house and use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street. Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars, or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture, or clotheslines present dangers.

Choosing Safe Houses: Children should go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on as a sign of welcome.

■Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.
■People expecting trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches. Candlelit jack-o'-lanterns should be kept away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame. Indoor jack-o'-lanterns should be kept away from curtains, decorations, and other furnishings that could be ignited.
From the Consumer Product Safety Commission


Monday, October 18, 2010

Unfortunately, bullying has been a part of children’s lives probably since the beginning of time. However, what was once thought of as “just a part of childhood” is now seen as a very serious, and sometimes deadly, form of abuse. Adults, as well as peers, need to stand up to bullying, and intervene immediately when it is believed that bullying is occurring. More importantly, let’s find ways to prevent bullying from ever happening in the first place. Here are just a few tips to prevent, and respond, to bullying (including cyberbullying)
1. Understand that it is not a “rite of passage” for children to be bullied. It can have very long-term, even deadly, consequences

2.Pay attention to what is going on both at school and at home. If a child starts fearing going to school or to an activity, ask questions.

3.Have clear discipline policies at school or in sports activities, and make it understood that bullying will not be tolerated, and that there will be consequences, including for Cyberbullying.

4.Have in-services for teachers and parents about what to look for in terms of bullying, and how to prevent it

5.Encourage youth to talk to an adult if they are being bullied, or if they know that bullying is occurring to a friend or classmate

6.Supervise children when they are on-line, and tell them to never pass along harmful information about others

7.Tell children to never give out personal information on-line.

8.Start teaching empathy at an early age (even from birth!) so that children will grow understanding how hurtful it is to harm or tease others.

9.Teach interpersonal skills (again, from an early age). Many children who bully lack the skills to make or keep friendships

10.Create opportunities for children to “do good”, especially children you know or suspect may be engaging in bullying behaviors.

Join us on November 5, 2010 at the PCAIN Luncheon/Workshop on Bullying presented by Bill Voors, ACSW, LCSW, from the National Bullying Prevention Project. Visit our website to get the full details (www.pcain.org) and FAX in your registration form by November 1st.

National Children's Month

Friday, October 8, 2010

October is National Children’s Health Month. We all need to be concerned about the health and safety of our children, and we need to insure that they are protected. These safety steps can range from child-proofing our homes to securely placing children in car seats. In the same way, vaccines work to protect infants, children, and adults from illnesses and death caused by infectious diseases. Even though the U.S. has record low cases of vaccine-preventable diseases, the germs that cause them still exist. Even diseases that have primarily been eliminated in this country, such as polio, are only a plane ride away. It is important to remember that infectious diseases can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines, and preventable diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctor's visits, hospitalizations, and death. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work. It's true that newborns are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. However, this immunity may last from only a month to about one year. Further, young children do not have maternal immunity against some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough.

So now that we’ve vaccinated them, what else can we do? Well, as early as possible teach children about washing their hands. Research shows that hand-washing is near the top of the list when it comes to preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Children are going to be exposed to germs; it’s part of growing up. Teaching them about hygiene and hand-washing however, will hopefully assist in not spreading those germs. The other piece of that is teaching them to cover their mouths when sneezing and\or coughing.

Caution your children about sharing their personal items, such as drinking glasses, hair brushes, combs, etc. Although it goes against our grain to teach our children NOT to share, in those situations it may reduce the spread of germs and head lice.

So, even though October is National Children’s Health Month, let’s keep our kids healthy the other 11 months of the year as well!

Domestic Violence and Children

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Domestic violence is a devastating social problem that impacts every segment of the population. While system responses are primarily targeted toward adult victims of abuse, increased attention is now being focused on the children who witness domestic violence. Studies estimate that 10 to 20 percent of children are at risk for exposure to domestic violence (Carlson, 2000). These findings translate into approximately 3.3 to 10 million children who witness the abuse of a parent or adult caregiver each year (Carlson, 1984; Straus and Gelles, 1990). Research also indicates children exposed to domestic violence are at an increased risk of being abused or neglected. A majority of studies reveal there are adult and child victims in 30 to 60 percent of families experiencing domestic violence (Appel and Holden, 1998; Edleson, 1999; Jaffe and Wolfe, 1990).

Children who live with domestic violence face increased risks: the risk of exposure to traumatic events, the risk of neglect, the risk of being directly abused, and the risk of losing one or both of their parents. All of these may lead to negative outcomes for children and may affect their well-being, safety, and stability (Carlson, 2000; Edleson, 1999; Rossman, 2001).

Childhood problems associated with exposure to domestic violence fall into three primary categories:
• Behavioral, social, and emotional problems. Higher levels of aggression, anger, hostility, oppositional behavior, and disobedience; fear, anxiety, withdrawal, and depression; poor peer, sibling, and social relationships; and low self-esteem.
• Cognitive and attitudinal problems. Lower cognitive functioning, poor school performance, lack of conflict resolution skills, limited problem solving skills, pro-violence attitudes, and belief in rigid gender stereotypes and male privilege.
• Long-term problems. Higher levels of adult depression and trauma symptoms and increased tolerance for and use of violence in adult relationships.

Children's risk levels and reactions to domestic violence exist on a continuum where some children demonstrate enormous resiliency while others show signs of significant maladaptive adjustment (Carlson, 2000; Edleson, 1999; Hughes, Graham-Bermann & Gruber, 2001).

Protective factors, such as social competence, intelligence, high self-esteem, outgoing temperament, strong sibling and peer relationships, and a supportive relationship with an adult, can help protect children from the adverse affects of exposure to domestic violence.

From: Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009