Happy "Safe" Halloween

Monday, October 29, 2012

The excitement of Halloween night can make it more challenging to keep children safe. Little ones may have a harder time listening to parents and caregivers directions and remembering basic safety rules. That is why is it so important to keep a close watch over your children when they are out trick-or-treating.
Talk with your kids a few times before the big night to go over rules and safety precautions that need to be followed while you are out trick-or-treating. Be sure to remind them again before you head out the door with them.

Trick-or-Treating Safety  
  1. Always go with your kids when they are out trick-or-treating
  2. Parents and children should use flashlights.
  3. Stick to neighborhoods that are well-lit and familiar to you.
  4. Stay on the sidewalks or walk single file where there is no sidewalk.
  5. Walk against not the traffic in the same direction as it.
  6. Take your kids out early before it gets too dark.
  7. Remind your kids not to go into any houses.
Candy and Costumes 
  1. Be sure your kids can see clearly while wearing their masks.
  2. Be sure your kids can move easily in their costumes.
  3. Avoid dark colors. Apply reflective tape to costumes.
  4. Check candy carefully before allowing your kids to eat it.
  5. Throw away any candy with open/torn wrappers or looks suspicious.
  6. Do not give out or let your kids eat candy that is not in a sealed wrapper.

National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 22–26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Schools around the country will recognize 2012 School Bus Safety Week, celebrating the theme: "I see the driver - the driver sees me."

Studies have proven that the most dangerous part of the school bus ride for children is when they get on and off the bus. Remember to pay close attention to school buses when you see them driving on the street and teach children how to be safe when boarding and exiting the bus.

From winding country roads to busy city streets, school bus drivers carry the most precious cargo: our children. School bus drivers, mechanics and other school transportation personnel are the safest and most qualified in the state. They also care about the kids and the community. Bus drivers know that parents want the peace of mind that comes from trusting the person behind the wheel of the big yellow bus. School bus drivers volunteer for more training than any other drivers in the state, and they are all required to pass an extensive background check before they receive a license to drive a school bus.

Here are a few tips for School Bus Safety:

• Some older youth or adult needs to be watching out for little ones waiting for the bus or coming home from the school. Staying in groups make everyone be seen and safer around strangers or other folks trying to give them rides. Remind them to never get in a vehicle, unless it's their caregiver.

• Kids need to be reminded about the dangerous blind spots surrounding a bus (by the bus driver).

• They need to be reminded about how important it is to stay on the sidewalk or 10 feet (5 Giant Steps) away from the road.

• To never pick something up that may have fallen, until the bus driver says it's safe to. (Balls that roll into the street, or papers falling out of the backpack.)

• Kids need to be shown turning your head LEFT AND RIGHT at driveways, alleys and other streets, for cars.

• HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOTS are very dangerous. Talk to your older teens about walking and driving safely where there are so many inexperienced drivers.


• Never pass a bus on the right side. (that is where kids get out of the bus.)

• Never pass when the STOP arm is down.

• ALWAYS STOP when the arm is down, even in 4 lanes with no embankment in the median.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Monday, October 15, 2012

By Ruth Matsey

As we attempt to provide awareness about domestic violence and abuse, we are acutely conscious of the fact that children frequently live in these homes where abuse occurs. 15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred. (Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 18(2): 166-185.)

Children who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to children who are physically abused. These children are affected by the abuse in a myriad of ways. The child’s reactions can vary depending on the child's gender, age, and the duration of the violence. Some children are remarkably resilient.

Children exposed to family violence are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and/or behavioral problems than those who are not. Recent research indicates that children who witness domestic violence show more anxiety, low self esteem, depression, anger and temperament problems than children who do not witness violence in the home. The trauma they experience can show up in emotional, behavioral, social and physical disturbances that effect their development and can continue into adulthood. (http://www.acadv.org/children.html)

No member of the family escapes the violence of abusive relationships. When families are under stress they create children who are also under stress. We cannot continue to separate child abuse and intimate partner abuse. They so frequently go hand in hand. Some children, especially infants and toddlers in their mother’s arms, are attacked when the abuser attempts to hurt the mother. Other times the abuser abuses the child as well as the mother.

At Phoenix House, our transitional home for women and their children who are fleeing domestic abuse, we have noticed a lot of behavior difficulties with the children of the victims. The children act out their frustrations and anger. They are finally in a safe place where advocates are able to help them deal with their problems.

A wealth of excellent information can be found by Googling Jeffrey Edleson and children and domestic violence. Dr. Edleson has conducted research for many years at the University of Minnesota. He is presently Dean and Professor at the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley.

Ruth Matsey is the President of the Starke County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and Starke County Prevent Child Abuse.

No One Has To Abandon An Infant

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Indiana Safe Haven Law enables a person to give up an unwanted infant anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution.

A parent, family member, friend, minister or priest, social worker or any responsible person may give up custody of a baby less than 30 days old to an Indiana …


                                     ...Law Enforcement Officer




                                     …Emergency Medical Technician

                                     ...or Other Person who provides Emergency Medical Services

As long as there are no signs of intentional abuse on the baby, no information is required of the person leaving the baby. Any knowledge of the date of birth, race, parent medical history, child's health or anything that would be useful to the child's caregiver would be greatly appreciated.

Once the baby is examined and given medical treatment (if needed), the Indiana Department of Child Services will take the baby into custody through Child Protective Services where it will be placed with a caregiver.

Distressed parents can receive counseling and get addresses and directions for any hospital, fire station or police station in Indiana by calling the Safe Haven Hotline, 1-877-796-HOPE (4673), or 2-1-1.

Parents can learn more by visiting the National Safe Haven Alliance in Indiana website www.safehaven.tv to get more information.

If you need more information about this or other parenting topics call 1-800-CHILDREN or visit our website at www.pcain.org

Information from the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Happy National Children’s Health Month

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Since October is National Children’s Health Month we wanted to pass along some tips to help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Remember to always use common sense to keep yourself and others from getting sick this season.

• Wash hands frequently. Hands should be washed with soap and warm water (not hot) for at least 20 seconds when dirty, before eating and after toilet use. Suggestion: Sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice. Dry hands with a paper towel and use it to turn off the water tap and to turn the doorknob. Use alcohol based waterless cleanser between soap and water washings.

• Keep hands off the face. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent germs from entering your body.

• Avoid crowded conditions. They are ideal for the spread of the flu. Also, call your doctor first with non-emergent issues before going to his office or the emergency room. This reduces the risk of getting or spreading the flu.

• Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Do not use your hands. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and then wash your hands. If tissues are not cough or sneeze into the inside of the elbow.

• Stay home if sick. Do not return to school, day care, or work until at least 24 hours after no fever is present without the use of a fever reducer.

• Avoid contact with sick people. The CDC recommends staying at least six feet away from a sick person.

• Regularly clean toys and common areas (phones, remote controls, doorknobs and other handles, countertops.) Use a household disinfectant.

• Practice good healthy habits. Get plenty of rest, exercise, fluids, eat nutritious food and manage your stress.

• Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

Seek emergency medical care if the child:

• has difficulty breathing, fast breathing or chest pain

• has bluish or gray skin color or purple or blue discoloration of the lips

• has severe or persistent vomiting and is unable to keep liquids down

• has signs of dehydration (dizziness when standing, absence of urination, a lack of tears in crying infants)

• has seizures (i.e. uncontrolled convulsions)

• becomes confused, is not waking up or interacting

• has a high fever (higher than 100.4°F for infants under 2 months and higher than 102°F for other children)

• has a fever with a rash

flu symptoms improve but then returns with a fever or worse cough

• has other health conditions (heart or lung disease, diabetes, or asthma) and has flu like symptoms

This tip sheet was compiled from information borrowed from Advocates for Children of New Jersey website