SAFETY AT HOME
With shorter days and colder weather, you and the children are probably spending more time inside the house. Please be sure that the house is “childproof” with these simple tips:
- Children are curious; many small children put everything into their mouths. Be sure no small objects are within the child’s reach.
- Plastic bags, long cords and very soft pillows can be dangerous to children.
- If a toy gets broken and has sharp edges, keep it away from children!
- Be sure that laundry soap and other cleaners are out of reach of the children.
- Don’t leave any medicines in reach of children, not even vitamins.
- Keep scissors and knives out of reach.
- Store the toys that belong to older children out of reach of babies and toddlers.
- Many cosmetic items and toiletries, such as mouthwash, perfume, nail polish, and hair spray, are poisonous. Keep them out of children’s reach.
If there is an alarm system for the house, be sure that the au pair is listed with the alarm company as a legitimate user of the alarm. Also, the au pair must know the appropriate security code in case of a false alarm.
- If you must leave the baby alone for a few moments, be sure she is safely in a crib or play pen.
- Check condition and sturdiness of toys. Discard any with sharp edges or that are broken or falling apart.
- Check clothing for loose buttons and remove strings.
- Is baby’s pacifier still in good condition? Be sure it isn’t coming apart. Never use strings to attach the pacifier to baby’s clothes or crib.
- Where do you set baby’s carrier when she’s in it? Not on the counter or any high surface, please. Babies can wiggle and tip themselves over.
- Stroller check. If your stroller is collapsible, be sure latches are secure before putting baby in. Always check that your child’s arms are out of the way when reversing handle directions so they won’t get pinched. Be sure to use that safety strap. Don’t hang overloaded or heavy bags on the handle of the stroller, as this may cause it to tip over.
- Can you name the 12 most common choking foods for kids under five? Popcorn, hot dogs, chunks of meat, raisins, ice cubes, chunky peanut butter, peanuts (nuts of any kind), hard candy, grapes, raw carrots, potato chips and corn chips.
- Don’t leave toddlers alone while eating; if they begin to choke, you need to be nearby to assist.
- Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub. If the phone rings, let the machine get it, or bring a cordless phone into the bathroom with you. Wait until baby can sit alone to give baths in the tub. It’s easier in the sink until then.
- Enroll in an infant/child CPR and first aid class. This will be a valuable investment of your time, and Au Pair in America will pay for it.
Information from the National Safe Kids Campaign https://www.safekids.org
Even innocent looking items like household plants and vitamin supplements can poison a child in less than a minute. And commonly used products such as cosmetics, detergents and medicines can be fatal to young children if left within their reach.
Children ages 5 and under are particularly vulnerable to poisonings due to their curiosity and natural desire to put everything into their mouths.
- Keep poisonous products out of reach. Storing potentially harmful products out of sight and reach – in cabinets with safety locks – is one of the best ways to prevent poisonings.
- Know which household products are poisonous. Something as common as mouthwash can be poisonous due to its alcohol content if a child swallows a large amount.
- Stay alert while using poisonous household products. Many poisonings occur while adults are using a household product like a bathroom cleaner or bleach. Adults should know where children are when these products are in use. Never leave a child alone in a room with a poisonous product. It takes only seconds for a poisoning to occur.
- Never refer to medicine or vitamins as candy. Referring to medicine as candy could cause a child to think that it is harmless or pleasant to eat. Since children tend to mimic adults, avoid taking medications in front of them. Vitamins, particularly those containing iron, can also be poisonous to children. Keep them out of your child’s reach at all times and carefully monitor their use.
- Beware of certain cosmetics and personal products. Children may be tempted to taste cosmetics and personal care products. Store items such as perfume, hair spray, shampoo, artificial fingernail remover and fingernail polish remover out of reach.
- Keep products in original containers. Never put potentially poisonous products in something other than their original container where they could be mistaken for something harmless.
- Keep poisonous plants out of reach. Teach children never to put leaves, stems, bark, seeds, nuts or berries from any plant into their mouths.
If a poisoning does occur, follow these guidelines:
- Be prepared. Keep the phone numbers of the local poison control center, physician and emergency medical service next to each telephone.
- Call 1-800-222-1222 for a poison emergency. If you suspect a child has swallowed something, check his or her mouth. Remove any remaining poison from the child’s mouth, then call your local poison control center, physician or other emergency medical services. When calling, bring the container of the ingested substance to the phone with you. Call even if you are not sure that the child was poisoned. The poison center staff or emergency personnel will determine if you need to do anything for the child. Do not give the child anything to treat the poison until you have consulted a poison control center or a health care professional. Vomiting can often aggravate the poisoning and cause even greater long-term damage.
- Rinse skin with water. If a poison has come in contact with your child’s skin, rinse the skin with running water for 15 minutes. Don’t touch the poison. Take off any contaminated clothing. Call the poison control center or emergency medical service immediately.
- Flush eyes with water. If a poison has gotten into your child’s eyes, gently hold his or her eyelids open and pour cool water into them for 15 minutes. Do not let the child rub his or her eyes, and do not put the child’s head directly under a faucet to irrigate the eyes. Once again, call the poison control center or emergency medical service immediately.
Skates, tricycles, toy trucks and cars, wagons and balls are among children’s favorite playthings. But in one year, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates, there were 150,000 toy-related injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment.
Falls are the most frequent kind of accident, but many serious injuries result from children swallowing small parts or placing tiny toys in noses or ears, from exploding gas-powered toys, from flammable products, and from sharp edges.
Each year, some 5,000 new toys enter the market-place. The holiday season finds over 150,000 different kinds of toys for sale in approximately one million stores. Despite the efforts of manufacturers, retailers, safety inspectors, and others, it is impossible to examine every toy. But it is possible for parents and other relatives to check every new toy they buy and every old toy around the house for possible hazards.
The following suggestions can help you keep playtime a safe, fun time.
SELECT TOYS WITH CARE
- Choose carefully. Look for good design and quality construction in the toys you buy.
- Watch out for toys that have sharp edges, small parts, or sharp points. Avoid toys that produce extremely loud noises that can damage hearing and propelled objects that can injure eyes.
- Buy toys that suit the child’s age, interest, and abilities. Avoid toys that are too complex for young children. Many toys have a suggested age range to help you choose toys that are appealing as well as safe.
- Be a label reader. Look for safety information such as “Not recommended for children under 3 years of age,” or “non-toxic” on toys likely to end up in little mouths, or “washable/hygenic materials” on stuffed toys and dolls.
- Check with parents before you buy a child a toy that requires close supervision – electrically operated toys, shooting toys and games, chemistry sets, and the like. Remember, too, that younger children may have access to toys intended for older children once the toy has been brought into the home.
- Look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) seal on electrical toys. It indicates the electrical parts have been tested for safety.
TEACH PROPER USE OF TOYS
- Check the instructions and explain to the child how to use the toy.
- Always try to supervise children while they play. Learn to spot “an accident about to happen.”
- Check toys periodically for broken parts and potential hazards. A dangerous toy should be repaired immediately or thrown away. Sharp or splintered edges on wooden toys should be sanded smooth. Use only non-toxic paint on toys or toy boxes. Check outdoor toys for rust and weak or sharp parts that could become hazardous.
- Teach children to put their toys away so the toys do not get broken and so that no one trips and falls on them.
- Toy boxes, too, should be checked for safety. A toy chest should have a lightweight lid that can be opened easily from within. For extra safety, be sure there are ventilation holes. Watch for sharp edges that could cut and hinges that could pinch. Attach rubber bumpers to the front corners of a toy chest so little fingers won’t be caught by a slammed lid.
- Toy shelves are another storage possibility. Open shelves allow the child to see favorite toys and return them to the shelf after play. Be sure the shelf is sturdy and won’t tip over if the child climbs on it.
SEVEN TOY DANGERS
- Sharp edges: Toys made of brittle plastic or glass can break easily, exposing sharp points and edges. Wooden, metal, and plastic toys sometimes have sharp edges due to poor construction.
- Small parts: Tiny toys and toys with small, removable parts can be swallowed or become lodged in a child’s windpipe, ears, or nose. The squeakers in some squeeze toys can be removed and possibly swallowed. The seams of poorly constructed stuffed dolls or animals can break open and release small pellets that also can be swallowed or inhaled.
- Loud noises: Toy caps and some noise-making guns and other toys can reach noise levels that can damage hearing. The law requires the following label on boxes of caps producing noise above a certain level: “WARNING – Do not fire closer than 1 foot to the ear. Do not use indoors.”
- Sharp points: Broken toys can expose dangerous prongs and knife-sharp points. Pins and staples on dolls’ clothes, hair, and accessories can easily puncture an unsuspecting child. Even a teddy bear or stuffed toy can be assembled with wires that can cut or stab.
- Propelled objects: Projectiles – guided missiles and other flying toys – can be turned into weapons and can injure eyes in particular. Children should never be permitted to play with adult lawn darts or other hobby or sporting equipment with sharp points. Arrows or darts used by children should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips to prevent injury.
- Electric toys: Electric toys that are improperly constructed, wired, or misused can shock or burn. Electric toys must meet mandatory requirements for maximum surface temperatures, electrical construction, and prominent warning labels. Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over age 8. Children should be taught to use electric toys cautiously and under adult supervision.
- Wrong toy for the wrong age: Toys that may be safe for older children can be extremely dangerous in the hands of little ones.
EXTRA CARE FOR TODDLERS’ TOYS
Choose toys for very young children with extra care. Playthings that are safe for older children can be hazardous to little ones. Keep in mind that toddlers trip and fall easily, and that, with infants, “everything goes into the mouth.”
When choosing a toy for a toddler or infant, make sure it:
- Is too large to be swallowed.
- Does not have detachable pieces that can lodge in the windpipe, ears, or nostrils.
- Will not break easily, leaving jagged edges.
- Has no sharp edges or points.
- Has not been put together with easily exposed pins, wires, staples, or nails.
- Is labeled “non-toxic.”
- Can’t pinch fingers or catch hair.
TOY SAFETY LAWS
Although any toy can be dangerous if misused, some toys that enter the marketplace are either unsuitable for children, or designed or constructed in a way that poses hazards to a child. Toys and other products intended for use by children that present electrical, mechanical, or heat hazards can be banned from sale. Since 1970, more than 1,500 hazardous toys and other items have been removed from sale, including:
- toy rattles containing rigid wires, sharp points, or small, loose objects that could become exposed and cause cuts or other injuries.
- any toy with noisemaking parts that could be removed by a child and swallowed or inhaled.
- any doll, stuffed animal, or similar toy having parts that could become exposed and cause cuts.
- lawn darts and other sharp, pointed items intended for outdoor use that could cause puncture wounds, unless they have included appropriate cautions, adequate directions, and warnings for safe use and are not sold by toy stores or stores dealing primarily in toys and other children’s articles.
- toy guns or caps that cause noise above a certain level.
- “baby bouncers” and similar articles that support very young children while sitting, walking, or bouncing, which could cause injury to the child such as pinching, cutting, or bruising.
- toys known as “cracker balls” that could break off and cause injury.
A 1973 regulation specifies maximum temperatures and requires reliable electrical construction for electrically operated toys. Electrical toys must have warning labels indicating they are not recommended for children under a certain age. In the case of toys that contain a heating element, the toy may not be recommended for children under age 8.
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have legal responsibility for making sure they do not sell dangerous toys. Safety inspectors check factories, warehouses, and retail stores to insure compliance with the law. Imported toys, too, are checked for safety hazards.
However, safety standards and regulations cannot cover every situation, and among the thousands of toys entering the marketplace each year, some unsafe toys are likely to reach the consumer. Careful toy selection and proper supervision of children is still – and always will be – the best way to protect children from toy-related injuries.
GUIDE TO SELECTING AGE APPROPRIATE TOYS
O – 18 Months
- pounding and stacking toys
- squeak toys
- floating tub toys
- picture blocks
- strings of beads
- crib-gym exercisers
- push-pull toys
- small take-apart toys
- nested boxes of cups
- stacking toys or rings
- books with rhymes, pictures, jingles
- musical and chime toys
18 Months – 3 years
- ride-on toys to straddle
- hobby horse
- push-pull toys
- sandbox toys
- blocks of different sizes and shapes
- wading pool and sandbox
- child-size play furniture
- play appliances, utencils
- homemade materials
- doll furniture
- simple dress-up clothes
- stuffed animals
- simple puzzles
- take-apart toys with large parts
- clay and modelling dough
- large crayons
- blackboard and chalk
- simple musical instruments
- finger paints
- non-electrical trains
- tea sets
3 – 6 years
- additional dress-up outfits
- bathing and feeding dolls
- puppets and theaters
- storekeeping toys
- toy phone or toy clock
- housekeeping toys
- toy soldiers
- farm, village, and other play sets
- small trucks, cars, planes, boats
- simple construction sets
- domestic toys
- race-car layouts
- larger tricycles
- other wheeled toys
- backyard gymsets, jungle gyms
- printing sets
- coloring books
- sketch pads
- story books
Learners will be able to:
- Identify and give examples of seven toy dangers;
- Identify at least five toys banned under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act;
- Identify at least five suggestions for toy safety.
When you first pick up a toy, what should you look for to ensure that the toy is safe? What would you look for in a bicycle, stuffed animal, dolls, squeeze toys, metal truck, or electric train?
Give an example of an unsafe toy. What makes this item hazardous for a child?
Why are there so many toy-related injuries during childhood? Who is responsible for the problem – manufacturers, parents, or children?
What kind of educational program is needed to help parents and children learn more about toy safety? What kinds of suggestions would you offer to parents to protect their children?
CHECKLIST FOR EVALUATING TOYS
- Does the toy have sharp, cutting edges?
- Is the toy constructed so small parts could be removed and swallowed?
- Will it make loud noises that can damage hearing?
- Does the toy have hidden sharp points or prongs that might be exposed?
- Is it a throwing toy with a sharp point?
- Is it an improperly constructed electric toy?
- Is it inappropriate for the child’s age?
Information on toy safety was adapted from material provided by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Listing of recommended toys was adapted from “The World of Children’s Play and Toys,” C-600. Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Smith, C. A. (1987). *Toy safety*. [Extension Publication MF-643] Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.
Au Pair in America values your privacy, and the security of your personal information is always a priority. For your safety and financial protection, please take a moment to read this section about how to stay safe online and avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
Recognizing a Scammer
Internet scams/online fraud are becoming more common. We have all received emails from people claiming to be a well-known bank or telling us we have won an amazing prize, but some scammers take things further. A scammer may pose as a host family or an au pair organization and will try to gain your confidence via email. Once they have gained your trust, they will ask you to wire/send money to them using a money transfer company such as Western Union of Money Gram. Do not fall for this – never send personal details (eg passport info) or agree to wire or transfer money using money transfer companies, cashier’s checks or money orders – you are being scammed! Always remember that no reputable business or organization would ever ask for personal details or money to be wired/sent over the Internet.
Most scams involve one of more of the following:
- Poorly written emails from people you don’t know
- Is the toy constructed so small parts could be removed and swallowed?
- Being offered deals which sounds “too good to be true”
- Inability or refusal to speak with you directly on the phone
- Odd/suspicious email addresses
- Demanding/urgent/threatening emails requesting an immediate response
- Requests for personal information (passport details)
- Requests to send/wire money via Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s checks, money orders
What do Do
If you think you are being targeted by a scammer claiming to be an Au Pair in America representative or Host Family, or you are concerned about the authenticity of an email, phone call or message, contact us via our toll-free number at (800) 928-7247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also run searches on the Internet to check out suspicious email addresses, so if in doubt, check it out!
Au Pair Matching Sites
Please note that Au Pair in America has no direct affiliation with public au pair matching sites. If you do post a profile either as an au pair or a host family on a public au pair matching site, please make sure you read that site’s scam prevention information carefully, and, as above, never send personal info or agree to wire/transfer money to people you meet on these matching sites. If you think you are in contact with a scammer via one of these sites, inform that site immediately.
OTHER SAFETY TIPS
Everyone needs a safety belt or a safety seat!
- The back seat is generally the safest place for a child to ride
- Babies up to 20 pounds should ride facing rear
- The safety belt must stay tight around the safety seat
- The safety seat harness must be buckled snugly on the child
- Children up to forty pounds benefit from being in a safety seat
- Booster seats are designed for children 60-80 pounds
For more information on car safety, click here.
Fire is FAST!
In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. There is only time to escape.
Fire is HOT!
Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire’s heat alone can kill. Inhaling super hot air will scorch your lungs. The heat can melt clothes to your skin.
Fire is DARK!
Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
Fire is DEADLY!
Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill.
You and your family can help make your home safer from fire. Here’s how:
- Turn pot handles toward the center of the stove. They should never hang over the edge where someone could bump into them and knock them off the stove.
- Never put anything over a lamp, like clothes or a blanket, not even when playing.
- Don’t let children touch radiators or heaters.
- Don’t let children stand too close to the fireplace or a wood stove. They could get burned or their clothes could catch fire.
- Don’t leave matches, lighters, or candles where children can reach them.
- Don’t let children play with electrical cords.
- Never let children stick anything into an electrical socket.
- Turn off lights, stereos, TVs and other electrical equipment when you are finished using them.
- Ask your family about their home fire escape plan. Ask where to meet outside if there is a fire.
- Make sure you know two ways to escape from every room.
In the event of a fire:
- Escape first, then call for help
- Never stand up in a fire; always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered.
- Never return to a burning building for any reason.
This information comes from The United States Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To learn more about fire safety, visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/.
- Look all ways before crossing at crosswalks. Keep to the right in the crosswalk.
- Avoid crossing between parked cars.
- Where there is no sidewalk and it is necessary to walk in the roadway, walk on left side, facing traffic.
- Wear or carry retro-reflective material at night to help drivers see you.
- Discuss traffic lights – green means go, yellow means wait, red means stop. Cross only at the right time.
- Never chase a ball into the street.
- Streets are for cars – children should play in the yard or a playground, not in the street.
- Learn street signs and what they mean (STOP, crosswalk, etc.).
- Never play behind parked cars in the driveway.
- Watch carefully whenever walking behind parked cars.
- The basic rule of playground safety: watch the children at all times, particularly near swings.
- Some playgrounds are on school grounds and should be avoided if the school children are outside playing.
- Whenever you go out in warm weather, remember to bring along drinks.
- It is important to apply sunscreen, even if it is hazy.
- Safety around water is particularly important. A child can drown in just a few inches of water. Whenever you are near water you must never leave a child alone – if the phone rings, take them with you or let it ring! Always stay within arm’s reach when the children are in water.
As the weather warms, it is likely that you will be spending more time outside. Outdoor play is important for children – to move their large muscles, enjoy the fresh air and explore nature. It is important to use sunscreen to protect from the sun’s harmful rays, and it is also important to be aware of possible disease-bearing insects.
Mosquitoes and ticks are a problem that can’t be ignored. Not only are they unpleasant, but they have been found to carry potentially fatal illnesses, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile virus, malaria, Lyme disease, dengue fever and equine encephalitis, all of which have been reported in the United States. Prevention of bites is very important both through physical barriers to contact (clothing) and through the use of chemical repellents.
There is a need for using caution when applying insect repellents containing DEET to the skin of young children. Look for products that have about 30% DEET. Products with lower concentrations (10% to 15%) can be used for children if families are concerned about the potential risks of DEET.
The EPA and others have made the following recommendations regarding the use of DEET in children:
- Do not apply to infants under 2 months of age
- Read and follow all directions and precautions on the product label.
- Do not apply over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
- Do not apply to young children’s hands or near eyes or mouth.
- Do not allow young children to apply products themselves.
- Use just enough to cover the exposed skin and/or clothing.
- Do not use under clothing.
- Avoid over application.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
- Wash treated clothing before wearing again.
- Do not use spray solutions in enclosed areas or near food.
- For use on face, apply to adult hands and then rub on face. Do not spray face. Avoid areas around eyes and mouth.
There is no evidence that non-DEET repellents are as effective as those containing DEET. In fact, some alternatives may be more toxic. Yet using DEET repellents on the skin isn’t the only way to avoid mosquito and tick bites.
Since mosquitoes can bite through very thin fabric, applying DEET-containing substances to clothing offers added protection with less potential for exposure.
Finally, long sleeves with cuffs and long pants with tight cuffs or tucked into socks or shoes are excellent barriers to ticks.
This information is adapted from the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics. See full information at https://www.aap.org/.
Here are some additional tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (visit their website at https://www.cdc.gov).
Avoid tick habitats: Whenever possible, avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer when nymphal ticks feed. Ticks favor a moist, shaded environment, especially areas with leaf litter and low-lying vegetation in wooded, brushy or overgrown grassy habitat.
Perform a tick check and remove attached ticks: The transmission of B. burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment. For this reason, daily checks for ticks and promptly removing any attached tick that you find will help prevent infection. Embedded ticks should be removed using fine-tipped tweezers. DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. The tick’s mouthparts may remain in the skin, but do not be alarmed. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are contained in the tick’s midgut or salivary glands. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
For a safe and festive holiday, check out these tips for safe celebrations for all ages:
- Use makeup instead of masks.
- Carry a flashlight after dark.
- Put reflective tape on the children’s costumes.
- Inspect all candy before eating to be sure it is fully wrapped
- Use face paint or makeup. Look for nontoxic and hypoallergenic makeup instead of masks, especially for very young children. Masks can make it hard for youngsters to see and breathe.
- Wigs and beards shouldn’t cover the eyes or mouth. Be sure headgear won’t slide over the child’s face.
- Add reflective tape to costumes. Choose light colors. Be sure the costume is not too heavy for the child. Accessories such as wands should be soft and flexible.
- Costumes should be short enough so the child won’t trip. Sleeves should fit properly as well. Avoid footwear that makes it hard to walk.
- Use flame-resistant fabric for homemade costumes.
Adolescents and teens:
- Travel in groups. Go only to the houses of people you know. Younger children should be accompanied by a responsible older person.
- Carry flashlights.
- Carry a mobile phone for quick communication.
- Stay focused on your surroundings. If harassed or threatened, go into the nearest store or restaurant and ask to use the phone. Call parents and/or police. Let the proprietors know that your group feels unsafe.
- Be very cautious around jack-o’-lanterns with lit candles. Keep an eye out for flames and/or candles on porches.
- Consider alternatives to trick-or-treating. Alternatives include house or school parties or volunteering at a haunted-house project.
Teen and adult drivers:
- Clear the driver’s view. Be sure that neither the driver’s costume nor anything else in the car obstructs the driver’s visibility.
- Wear a seat belt. Be sure your passengers are wearing a safety belt, even if they have to take off part of their costume to attach it.
- Drive slowly and defensively. Don’t assume that a pedestrian, especially an excited youngster in a costume, will move as you expect. Keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters darting out from parked cars.
- Replace burned-out bulbs in exterior lights. Leave your exterior lights on later than usual-perhaps even all night.
- Clear the pathway. Make sure the path to your door is well lighted and your lawn is clear of things that could be tripped over, such as jack-o’-lanterns with lit candles, ladders, garden hoses, flowerpots, bikes, and animal leashes.
- Sweep wet leaves from sidewalks and stairs.
- Keep excitable pets away from the door. You’ll have a safer and calmer house if you keep Fido away from where you are dispensing the treats.
- Put your car in the garage. Lock your garage doors.
Instead of candy, offer these treats:
- Halloween stickers
- Halloween pencils
- Halloween erasers
- Sugar-free gum
- Plastic spider rings
- Small toys
- Temporary tattoos
- Miniature boxes of raisins
- Coins-how about a new state quarter?
- Individual packages of cheese or peanut-butter crackers or pretzels
- Boxes of fruit juice
- Gel pens
- Fast-food coupons
- Key chains
- Hackey sacks or squeeze-foam balls
Hunting season occurs at different times of the year depending on the animal being hunted and the state you live in. You can check on the internet for hunting season dates in your state. Generally, most hunting takes place September through February, but some birds are hunted in the spring as well.
If you like to walk in the woods, with or without the children, or go hiking, be sure to check on local hunting season dates.
During hunting season it’s important to be visible in the woods. There’s no better way to be visible than by wearing bright orange – the color worn by almost all hunters.
It is important to be careful, but it is still safe to be in the woods if you think about where you’re going and you prepare properly for your trip. The best form of preparation is in the clothing you wear and the places you choose to go.
It is best to avoid wearing white during hunting season. A flash of white may be mistaken for the white of a deer’s tail. Items of blaze-orange clothing that are visible from all directions are best to wear. For instance, an orange cap or an orange jacket encircle the wearer in color. Inexpensive orange vinyl vests are easy to come by in outdoors shops or department stores. They are available for dogs too, who also need to be safe in the woods.
Hunters generally know where hiking trails are located, so it’s not a bad idea to stick to established trails and limit off-trail trampings during hunting season.
Keeping in mind that there are many areas where the hiking is great and the hunting isn’t, seek out areas where the habitat isn’t attractive to game, but where views are well worth the trip. Consider hiking away from areas that are popular with hunters.
If you’re wondering where those areas are, you might ask at your local sporting goods shop, or check with the state Fish & Game Department. Don’t miss the fun of a fall or spring hike, when the air is crisp, there are few bugs, the crowds are scarce, and – with few leaves – the views are terrific. A little extra planning and preparation will help ensure a safe and enjoyable outing.
Information from https://www.outdoors.org/recreation/hiking/hiking-hunting-season.cfm.
- Young babies should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep the baby in the shade or under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
- Dress babies in lightweight clothing and use brimmed hats.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.
- Try to keep children out of the sun in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
You observe and/or hear lightning and thunder, or a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect. What should you do?
If you are at home, protect yourself and your family by following the safety tips below:
- Follow weather reports. Make sure a battery-powered radio is nearby.
- Do not turn on the television. Listen to a battery-powered radio for the most current information.
- Lightning can cause power surges. Unplug all appliances before the storm hits.
- Avoid using the phone. Telephone lines can conduct electricity.
- Metal pipes also conduct electricity. Stay away from faucets, sinks, and bathtubs.
- Close the blinds and shades of your window, then keep away from them.
- Keep pets on a leash or in a carrier.
Away from Home
There are times when storms come up suddenly. If you are away from home, protect yourself and your family by taking cover in the best shelter you can find. If you are in or near the water, go to land immediately and find shelter.
- If choosing between a building or a car, choose the building.
- If choosing between a hard-top and a convertible, choose the hard-top. If you’re in a car, keep the windows closed.
- If there is no shelter, find a low-lying, open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles, or metal objects that can conduct electricity. Make sure it is not likely to flood.
- Assume a tucked position: Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of your body to the ground as possible.
- Do not lie flat on the ground, as your fully-extended body will provide a larger surface to conduct electricity. Stay in a tuck position well after the storm passes.
- Watch for local flooding; you may have to move if water begins to accumulate.
- If you feel your hair stand on end in a storm, drop into the tuck position immediately. This sensation means electric charges are already rushing up your body from the ground toward an electrically charged cloud. Minimize your contact with the ground to minimize your injury.
Information from https://www.weather.com
When a tornado warning has been issued, you may have very little time to prepare. How you respond now is critical.
OBEY ADVISORIES PROMPTLY!
In a Frame Home
- Carefully evaluate the situation before bringing in outdoor items.
- Make sure you have a portable radio for information.
- Seek shelter in the lowest level of your home (basement or storm celler). If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway, a small inner room, or a closet. Keep away from all windows.
- You can cushion yourself with a mattress, but do not use one to cover yourself. Do cover your head and eyes with a blanket or jacket to protect against flying debris and broken glass. Don’t waste time moving mattresses around.
- Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.
- Multiple tornadoes can emerge from the same storm.
- Do not go out until officials say it is safe.
In A Mobile Home
- Leave your mobile home immediately and take shelter elsewhere.
- Try to get inside and seek out a small protected space with no windows.
- Avoid large-span roof areas such as school gymnasiums, arenas, or shopping malls.
- If you cannot get inside, crouch for protection beside a strong structure, or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and cover your head and neck with your arms or a piece of clothing.
In A Car
Ideally, you should avoid driving when tornadoes or other kinds of dangerous weather threaten, as a vehicle is a very unsafe place to be. If, however, this is not possible, stay as calm as possible, and assess the situation.
- Your best option might be to get out of the car and lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area that is of sufficient depth to provide protection from the wind.
- If you do so, beware of water runoff from heavy rain that could pose a hazard, get as far away from the vehicle as possible, and shield your head from flying debris.
- Or, more optimally, if possible take shelter immediately in a nearby building.
- Do not leave a building to attempt to “escape” a tornado.
- If you are already in a sturdy building, do not get in a vehicle to try to outrun a tornado.
Information from https://www.weather.com
Please follow these sledding safety tips:
- Choose a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat bottom.
- Check for ice, bare spots, and tree stumps, and be aware of other sledders.
- Children should sit facing forward, feet first.
- Teach children to roll sideways off the sled if there is going to be a collision.
- Tell them to quickly move out of the way of other sledders when they reach the bottom of the hill.
- Never use feet as brakes.
American Road Signs
Test your knowledge of American road signs with this fun online game: https://www.quia.com/de/nhsign.html
How to Get a U.S. State License
Au Pair in America requires every au pair to have a valid home country driver’s license in order to participate in the program. Au Pair in America also requests that every au pair obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). If you are allowed to drive on your home country license in the state you are living in, you must carry both your home country license and your IDP at all times. As legal IDPs are only available in your home country, if you have arrived in the U.S. without an IDP and your home country license is in a language other than English, you must carry an official translation of your home country license with you. Your home country license, along with an IDP or English translation of your home country license, may be sufficient for you to drive legally in the U.S. when you first arrive. Please confirm this with your host family and/or the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, Au Pair in America strongly recommends that you obtain a local state driver’s license as soon as possible. Requirements and testing procedures vary from state to state. To find the requirements for your state, follow the link to the DMV for your state. Start by clicking here.
Winter Driving Tips
You are likely to find ice and snow on the roads in many parts of the country. There are some basic rules to remember to stay safe in the car in difficult driving conditions:
- Start early and take your time.
- Accelerate slowly, especially on hills.
- Drive slowly to avoid having to stop while going up a hill, as it will be hard to start again.
- Don’t make any sudden turns or stops.
- Be sure that the mirrors and windows are always free of snow and ice.
- If you skid, try to steer in the direction the car is sliding to regain control.
- The changes in temperature sometimes cause potholes in the streets. If you don’t see the pothole in time to steer around it, apply the brakes before hitting the pothole and release them just before you reach the pothole. If you keep the brake on as you hit the pothole, it will do more damage to the tire.
- Try to keep your gas tank at least half full.
- If your wheels spin on ice, switch to low gear, even on automatics.
- Leave extra space between you and the car in front of you.
- Remember that bridges and exit ramps are icier than roads.
- Ask what kind of brakes your car has and how to use them in case of a skid.
Wet Weather Driving Tips (from www.AAA.com)
- Summer rainstorms can quickly reduce visibility and create dangerous driving conditions.
- In stormy conditions, it is more difficult to see other vehicles, road signs and the road itself. It is critical that motorists take steps so they can see and be seen.
- Drivers should regularly clean their windshield and windows, on both the inside and outside. Drivers who smoke should take extra care to make sure their interior windows are clear of a buildup of smoke residue.
- AAA also suggests that motorists regularly check that headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly.
- As soon as rain begins, AAA recommends drivers turn on headlights and windshield wipers. Many states require headlights to be turned on when it is raining or if the visibility is reduced to less than 500 feet.
- When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at a rest area or other protected location. If the roadside is your only option, AAA recommends pulling off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guardrail. Keep headlights on and turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
- In addition to reducing visibility, rain creates slippery roads that require motorists to use extra caution. AAA suggests that when driving in rain, motorists slow down and increase the distance between vehicles to compensate for reduced tire traction.
Car Safety Kit
Recommended items to have in the car in case of emergency:
- Jumper Cables (these can be unsafe if used improperly, so be sure you know how to use them)
- Reflective triangles
- Bag of sand or kitty litter (to help if stuck in ice, snow)
- Small shovel (for snow)
- Extra windshield solvent
- Blankets and extra clothing
- Nonperishable food items and water (e.g.. snack bars)
- Cell phone (do not use a cell phone while you are putting gas in the car; it can start a fire)
- List of emergency telephone numbers on a card in the glove compartment (if you are a member of AAA, list that info too)
- Snow brush and ice scraper
Freeway and Highway Driving Safety
Entering, exiting and traveling along a freeway or highway requires different driving skills than driving in town.