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A few more days for Halloween and your kids probably cannot wait for it. As a parent you have your work cut out for you, from getting the costumes to shopping for candy and decorations. Besides all these, the most important task you have is ensuring your child’s safety during a Halloween night.

This might be a fun season but it is not without its risks. In fact, a study by the Boston Globe showed a 50% increase in crime rates in the city of Boston over a period of four years all on October 31. You cannot make these things up. It may be because of all the alcohol or the anonymity created by the costumes, but there is no denying the need to take extra caution. Here is a little more about why you need to be cautious and what steps you can take to protect your child during Halloween.

Trick Or Treat Dangers

In order to understand the importance of taking extra care you need to keep in mind the risks involved. Trick or treat expeditions are for the most part nothing more than harmless fun. However, the festivities have been shown to precipitate a variety of dangers that lay in the dark waiting for your precious little ones. This is the case especially when the kids get to go out alone. Here are 5 of the most common risks:

 1. Kidnapping

The association between Halloween and kidnapping might not be prevalent but it is definitely worth nothing. With kids out unsupervised and at odd hours, there is always the risk of abduction incidents. Fortunately, there is safety in the masses when children go trick or treating in crowded neighborhoods. However, as a parent you can never really be too careful so this is a risk you cannot afford to ignore, be precautious and talk to your kids about avoiding long conversations with strangers or giving too much information to people they don’t know.

  1.  Vehicle related accidents

Before we get into this one, here is a statistic that will shock you. The risk of your child getting hit by a car doubles on Halloween. Letting your children go out unsupervised means they have to do things like crossing the road all by themselves. This is dangerous whether it is at night or during the day.

  1. Other Injuries

Walking around in the dark also increases chances of smaller accidents. These include things like tripping, falling into ditches, attacks by guard dogs and getting trampled by massive crowds. Fortunately, these cases are few and far between especially if you take precautions as will be discussed below.

  1. Getting lost

Children just can’t help but get lost whether it is at a new school or an old mall. During Halloween, this risk is increased by the fact that they are out in unfamiliar surroundings often at night. This is a nightmare not only for you as the parent but also for the kid.

  1. Child abuse

As with kidnapping cases, instances of child abuse during Halloween nights are very rare. However, this does not mean that you should ignore the risk. Just because it doesn’t happen often it doesn’t mean that it cannot happen. It is therefore better to be safe than sorry.

How technology comes in handy

One of the most powerful weapons you have at your disposal is technology when it comes to protecting your child during Halloween. Below are a few benefits you have to look forward to in case you decide to stay home while your kids go out trick-or-treating.

  1. Tracking

This is the most important benefit with GPS tracking technology proving to be very effective when it comes to remotely keeping an eye on your kids. You will get to know where they are at all times and this helps mainly with dangers like getting lost and kidnapping incidences.

  1.  Route mapping

If your child is going somewhere unfamiliar then an online map on which you can track your kid will come in handy. This allows them to easily navigate around the new area and find their way back home once the candy-gathering activities are complete.

  1. Cab hailing services

This works when you are with the kids as most of these taxi apps do not allow minors to travel unaccompanied. However, there is no denying their convenience as all you have to do is order a ride for you and your kids so you can get home as soon as possible to ravage the treats.

  1.  Easy communication

In the event that your child runs into any sort of trouble it is important that they are able to reach you easily. Having a phone on them makes this super easy. It could also be the difference between life and death in emergency situations where they can easily get help with a simple call.

  1.  Convenient lighting

Finally, smartphones come in handy when your kids need a dark road lit up as most have inbuilt torches. Truth be told, your child is more likely to pack his or her phone than a bulky torch. This ensures safety not only from predators lurking in the shadows but also from innocent accidents. So do not let your child go falling into open ditches simply because they didn’t carry their phone.

More Halloween safety tips to keep your children safe

  1.      Go as a group

There is safety in numbers and this tip is the best way to take advantage of this. You can have your children join their friends so there is someone looking out for them without interfering with their fun. This, however, is best practiced on older children.

  1.      Adult supervision

For younger children, you will need to have an adult at hand to keep track of your kid during Halloween. It could be you, the nanny or even an older sibling. This is important because it is not wise to leave decisions like route to take and when to cross the road to children in their preteen years and earlier. So grab yourself a costume and join in on the fun for your kid’s sake.

  1.      Stick to familiar neighborhoods

There is truly no need to go somewhere distant and strange in pursuit of candy. This increases the risk of various dangers including getting lost and abduction. Instead, have your kids stick to your neighborhood where you and familiar neighbors can keep an eye out for them.

  1.      Advise your children not to enter any homes or talk to strangers

Your child should never under any circumstances enter a stranger’s home. This is something that you should make crystal clear if you want to ensure that they remain safe during Halloween trick or treat trips. You should also instruct them to avoid strangers especially those roaming the streets.

  1.      Get some reflectors on their costumes

A study in 2017 shows that only 18% of kids use reflectors when trick or treating at night. This is a shockingly low percentage as reflectors have been proven to make a major difference when it comes to preventing traffic accidents involving pedestrians at night. So get some reflector strips at the back, front and sides of your child’s costume to ensure that even a space ship would spot him or her from space.

These Halloween safety tips will definitely come in handy this coming holiday. The important thing to do is to ensure that you are sufficiently prepared to keep an eye out for your kid whether in person or remotely.
A guest post by KidGuard, a technology services company that provides information & tools for parents to keep children safe online

About the Author

Amy Scholl

Youth Technology Safety Specialist at KidGuard Dedicated to finding the best child safety measures for parents, grounded in research. Being knowledgeable about youth online usage is a key component of effective 21st-century parenting.

The end of August is often dreaded by many kids. With September right around the corner, they only have a couple of weeks to finish their summer projects or get those extra hours of sleep. This time of year can also bring a lot of stress to parents. Whether it be helping their kids gather new supplies or just getting back in the mindset of the school routine, parents want to make sure their kids are ready for the new school year.

Once the new school year begins, you can be sure that the Long Island traffic will get worse. Highways will be filled with a few more college students. Bus routes will frequent the morning and afternoons. Kids and teens will be walking on the sidewalk or riding their bikes and many parents will be dropping off their kids by the entrance. Whether or not you have kids, all drivers need to account for this traffic and take the necessary preparations so that everyone can be safe.

For Parents Driving Their Kids

If you are a parent driving your kid to school, there are a couple of things you can do to make the trip a little safer every day.

For Regular Drivers

It goes without saying that driver’s need to follow all the traffic laws regarding schools and school busses. Even though every driver knows this, these laws are often neglected. Still, one in five children (under 15) who were killed in a traffic accident were pedestrians.

Teach Your Kids Pedestrian Safety

If your son or daughter walks to school every day it is very important that you teach them the proper pedestrian safety so that they can prevent dangerous situations. Distraction is the biggest problem with child pedestrian safety. Statistically, teenagers have a higher risk of getting a fatal pedestrian injury the older they are. The main cause of this involves these teens being distracted while they are walking.

As you probably guessed, the distractions stem from smart phones. Teens can use their smart phones to text, browse social media and listen to music. According to a study at the most common distraction for young pedestrians were wearing their headphones to listen to music, with texting being a close second. It is important that you warn your teenagers of the dangers of being distracted while walking to school.

Children usually aren’t ready to start walking to school without a parent until they are 10. If you plan to let your children walk by themselves when they’re older, it’s a good idea to walk with them to school when they are young so they are familiar with the neighborhood. When they do eventually walk alone, it would be ideal for your child to walk with at least one neighbor or sibling so that they are never alone. It is best to show your child a route that has crossing guards and sidewalks.

We are wishing parents and students alike a safe and productive school year.

Traveling for work or going on a trip with friends can be stressful if you have to leave your kids at home. For parents who travel a lot – particularly single parents – ensuring the safety of their kids at home is paramount. Before smartphones came into the picture, parents were worried that their child could not reach them in case of an emergency. Now however, smartphones and easy internet access often leave parents feeling worried about the prospect of their teenagers at home alone.

When you are forced to leave your teen at home, enabling child safety measures online and offline are the best alternatives for parents. If you are wondering where to start, here are some effective hacks that you can use to monitor your child’s safety when you are not around.

Thinking Just Makes It Worse

Leaving kids back home when you are traveling abroad for professional or personal reasons is an unpleasant feeling for most parents. It gets worse with the ‘what if’ thoughts that seem to constantly hover at the back of your mind, intensifying stress and making you panic the whole time you are away. Some of these thoughts include:

These thoughts cannot be overlooked as there is always a faint chance they might come true. Regardless of whether you’ve had the talk with your children about screen-time limits and online safety measures, it remains a challenge to check up on them when you’re not around.

The best idea is to be transparent and chalk out a safety plan together with your child. While there are many ways to spy on your kid’s devices and smartphones, you should always consider spying your “plan B.” Here are some practical solutions that are for ensuring your child’s safety when you are traveling.

1. Configuring Parental Control on Your Router

An effective strategy to set up parental controls is by modifying the configuration of your home router. Routers are the first stopping point for all internet traffic that enters your home, so setting up parental controls enables you to monitor sites for various gadgets running on your home Wi-Fi, like tablets, mobile phones, PCs and gaming devices.

2. Child Browsing Programs

Also known as “walled gardens,” these are blocking programs that prevent children from accessing any sites on the internet that are not pre-approved. They commonly allow access to recreational, email and social network websites. The good news is that these child-friendly browsers are frequently available for free, while also offering more powerful features in paid versions. These programs are generally more suitable for younger children, but are also now available for adolescents.

3. Managing Your Home Network

Your WiFi and mobile data plans can control your home network through both hardware and software options. You can use options like Circle Home and OpenDNS which will help in filtering Internet content, create search limits, and pause connections when required. These options are suitable for kids of all ages and help keep you at peace when you are away.

4. Safe Mode On

SafeSearch control is now widely accessible in most Android and Safari devices. With the help of this, parents can

Services like Netsanity are currently very popular medium for monitoring internet use, ensuring your child is safe both physically and virtually.

5. Parental Control Spying Devices

In this day and age, many parents are choosing to monitor their children in order to cope with growing menaces like virtual kidnapping, stalking, cyber crimes and gun violence. Nick Herbert, a British digital specialist, has recently devised an application called ReplyASAP that parents can use to secretly monitor and track their kids when they are not around. Other similar options are also widely available, such as tracking systems and listening devices that parents who travel often or stay away from their kids rely on.

Cell phone and network safety for parents doesn’t have to unduly interfere with kid’s privacy orcontrol their lives. On the flip side, children must also consider their parents’ concerns and realize that ensuring online safety doesn’t mean that parents don’t trust them or that they are doing something bad. In most cases, the children might not be involved in anything dangerous, but early action is sometimes required  to avoid falling down a slippery slope. As the famous saying goes:

There is nothing more precious to a parent than a child, and nothing more important to our future than the safety of our children.”

About the Author

Amy Scholl

Youth Technology Safety Specialist at KidGuard Dedicated to finding the best child safety measures for parents, grounded in research. Being knowledgeable about youth online usage is a key component of effective 21st-century parenting.

For a full description of Long Island Biking Laws, click here

Many of us love to ride our bikes around Long Island. The environment, the beautiful weather, the scenic parks with paths laid out for the bikers of Long Island, the health benefits both mentally and physically – both kids and adults can enjoy it plenty. But Long Island can also be a dangerous place for bicyclists. Our roads are extremely congested and there are very few roads with dedicated bicycle lanes.  This can be a recipe for disaster.

Following these tips is of the utmost importance for your safety. Since you’re on a bike, offering much less protection than a car, and you need to share the road with the drivers of Long Island, we cannot overstate the importance of knowing and following these rules for your own safety and the safety of others on the road. After all, the laws that drivers must follow are the same as the laws that bicyclists must follow, plus more. As well as for anyone on skates, a skateboard, etc.

Click each tip to see how they can help keep you safe on the road.

While bicycle accidents are never expected, they do happen. Protective gear significantly reduces the risk of severe injuries. From an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 97% of fatalities in bicycle crashes included individuals not wearing a helmet. And it makes sense, since 74% of fatal crashes involve head injuries. Gloves and knee pads can protect you from fracturing or breaking bones if you’re ever in a crash, minor or significant. No matter what, drive with the flow of traffic, and always in the lane provided or the shoulder if wide enough. If you drive against the flow of traffic you can see others driving toward you, and this may feel safer for you. But remember that you have much less protection than the driver of the car. And drivers are usually not paying attention to drivers headed in the opposite way that they are. And if they do see you, you’re both headed toward each other at great speed. It’s deemed better to drive with the direction of traffic because drivers will have you in their site longer, which is considerably less dangerous since you have less protection. Bicyclists are governed by the same Vehicle and Traffic Laws as motor vehicle operators. For example, bicyclists must yield to right-of-way, stop if they’re at a stop sign, drive on the right hand side, etc.[vc_column_text]Bicycles are meant to be used by one individual at a time. Placing a passenger on the handlebars, seat or pegs significantly reduces your ability to attentively visualize traffic (or visualize it at all) and impairs your ability to effectively maneuver your bicycle in case of an emergency. Not every roadway is lit up enough for drivers to see you. Furthermore, some drivers might not even have their lights on if the road is lit up by streetlights and they don’t notice (or simply neglect to put them on). This type of gear can save your life. It shines and reflects light sources, sometimes multiple light sources. It helps drivers see you on dark roads. This really goes for anyone who is forced to only use one hand to steer their bike because of the package they carry. It might be easy to glide with one hand down an empty street, but if you’re forced to maneuver to avoid an accident, you’ll need both hands. So be safe, and always keep both hands on the handlebars. A package can obstruct your view as well, making for another dangerous scenario. There’s almost always roadwork happening on Long Island roads. Sometimes, debris can be left over (ie. a small chunk of curb that was left in the shoulder lane). Debris almost always end up on the side of the road, where bicyclists ride, which causes grave potential for accidents. Any obstruction, big or small, while driving at a low or high speed, can easily cause you to lose control of your bike. There are plenty of potential obstructions for both drivers and bicyclists to watch out for. Other drivers need to know if you are planning to make a turn, just like they need to know whether another driver is planning to make a turn or drive straight. The right-of-way law applies to both cars and bicyclists – bicyclists do not get privilege with these laws. And these hand signals are there way of telling other drivers/riders on the road what they plan to do, allowing them to follow right-of-way laws. If you fail to signal and cause an accident, and need compensation for a serious injury, you may be at a loss since you didn’t the follow right-of-way laws. Here’s how to correctly signal:

Firstly, always come to a stop or slow down as much as you can (without become an obstruction for anyone behind you) before making a turn. This will make it easier for you to use hand/arm signals, especially if you have a group of bicyclists behind you.

If you’re going to make a left-hand turn, make sure you’re in the correct turning lane, and extend your left hand out horizontally. As we said before, keeping both hands on your handlebars is paramount to your safety, which is why you should slow down or preferably come to a full stop before making your turn.

For a right-hand turn, make sure you’re in the turning lane/shoulder and extend your right arm horizontally.

If you are going to slow down, begin the process and extend your left arm downward with your hand out so anyone behind you can see that you plan to slow down. This can be a bit tricky since having both hands on your handlebar is important in case you are forced to quick maneuver to avoid an accident. When you use this hand signal, survey your surroundings, and make sure that there is no potential cause for an accident. It’s also advisable to perhaps make this signal several times, allowing you to place your left hand back on the handlebar between signals. Use your best judgement with this signal. To be safe on the road, you’ll need to be fully aware of your surroundings. It’s important you know if someone is honking at you. If you don’t hear them, and a potential accident is underway, you won’t know to safely maneuver and avoid the accident.

Whether you ride a bicycle for fun or for transportation, following these simple tips will make your bicycling experience safer and more enjoyable.  However, even the most conscientious bicyclist can be involved in an accident.  If you should be the victim of a bicycle accident you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer that can protect your interests and obtain financial compensation should you be entitled to it.


Safety Tips for Home Swimming Pools

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200 children drown in backyard swimming pools every year. The Red Cross recommends the following safety guidelines for people with home swimming pools :

Enjoy Your Camping Trip

If you follow safety guidelines to protect against harm, camping can be lots of fun and everyone can have a wonderful time.