Simple Seasonal Safety Tips

Limit your home fire risk during the festive season

It may be the most wonderful time of year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Along with the cooking and decorations that make the season magical, the festive season presents risks for home fires and burns.

An independent survey conducted by Shriners Hospitals for Children® found that many Americans do not follow key fire and burn safety tips despite being aware of dangerous risks. For example, 25 percent of respondents reported leaving lit candles unattended, and 27 percent said they have left them in reach of children.

“Some of these findings seem alarming, but each year our burn hospitals see the unfortunate results – children who have been injured in cooking related accidents or in fires associated with holiday decorations or candles,” said Kenneth Guidera, M.D., chief medical officer for Shriners Hospitals for Children. “These injuries can mean years of ongoing treatments and extensive rehabilitation for a child. That’s why we encourage families to learn about fire safety and prevention before a tragedy occurs.”

Fire and burn hazards are prevalent in many homes throughout the festive season, and Shriners Hospitals for Children offers these tips to remind families how to stay safe:

  • Never leave lit candles unattended. If you must use flame-burning candles, make sure to extinguish them when you leave the room.
  • When cooking, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove, out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave a hot stove or oven unattended.
  • While cooking, keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if its contents catch fire.
  • If you decorate using a live, fresh-cut Christmas tree, water it daily.
  • Keep trees and other flammable decor at least 3 feet away from heaters and flames.
  • Discard decorative lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.
  • Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Have an escape plan in case of a fire and practice it with your family members so they know how to react if a fire does occur.
  • Know the burn care resources in your community.

The Shriners Hospitals locations that specialize in burn care provide critical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children with varying degrees of new and healed burns. Their state-of-the-art burn facilities are staffed and equipped to provide reconstructive and restorative surgery for healed burns, as well as treatments for various other skin conditions. With 22 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the health care system provides advanced care for children regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Learn more at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.

Visit beburnaware.org to learn key fire safety practices to help avoid injuries this holiday season. You can find activity books, tip cards and a five-minute online quiz to help identify and eliminate potential risks.

Candle Safety for the Holidays

Candles are one of the most common sources of holiday fires. Never leave lit candles unattended and take these additional precautions to have a safe and fun holiday season:

  • When candles are lit, make sure they are in stable holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked over.
  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Be conscious of nearby surroundings. Never place a candle near drapery, decorations or other flammable items that may easily catch fire. Also avoid drafty areas or fans, which can accelerate flames or accidentally blow a flammable item onto a candle.
  • Know that the safest way to extinguish a candle is with a snuffer.
  • Consider using wickless or flameless candles. There are numerous options that cast a warm glow so you can enjoy the ambiance of a candle without the risk.

Kids and Candles Don’t Mix

Julianna and her mother, Tracy, know firsthand how dangerous the holiday season can be. While at a family Christmas party, Julianna, just 20 months old, snuck away from the activities and was in the bathroom playing in front of the mirror. A lit tea light candle on the corner of the sink ignited her clothes.

Tracy heard Julianna’s screams from down the hall, ran to the bathroom and saw her daughter’s dress on fire. She patted out the flames and family members called an ambulance. Julianna spent three weeks at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati to treat the third-degree burns that covered the left side of her body. Julianna, now 8-years-old, is doing well but faces ongoing treatment as she grows.

“We are very lucky,” Tracy said. “Julianna will be fine thanks to the care she received. We all get busy during this time of year, but it is so important for parents to make sure they are following basic safety tips to keep their kids safe.”  (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Shriners Hospitals for Children

Texas Book Festival Presents Kids on Congress

November 4 and 5 Event Features Family Fun Activities with Children’s Authors, Games, and More

The Texas Book Festival is excited to announce Kids on Congress, an avenue at the annual Festival on November 4 and 5 packed with some of the nation’s most beloved children’s authors and picture book illustrators, family-friendly activities, and live music. Children’s book and author highlights include: Matt de la Peña, Margarita Engle, and Sarah Dessen. This year’s children’s author lineup also includes Mac Barnett, Lemony Snicket, Javaka Steptoe, Stuart Gibbs, and Ellen Oh.

On Saturday, November 4, and Sunday, November 5, at 1 p.m., there will be a live performance of the new H-E-B Buddy League Training Academy, a high-energy show with song and animation, at the H-E-B Children’s Tent on Congress Avenue. Kids can travel the Festival with their own Passport guiding them through Kids on Congress. When they collect four or more stickers at each Passport session, kids will receive a coupon for a free scoop of Amy’s Ice Cream.

Art activities, crafts, and live entertainment can be found at the Children’s Activity Tent and Entertainment Tent. Kids on Congress Tents will include the following:

The Read Me a Story Tent will feature stories read aloud every half hour by top authors, with illustrators creating picture books for younger readers. Highlighted authors include Matt de la Peña, Lesléa Newman, and Dan Santat.

The ¡Ahora Si! Tent! will feature bilingual storytimes in English and Spanish by authors Juana Martinez-Neal, Monica Brown, Cynthia Leonor Garza, and Jorge Argueta. The tent will also host a special presentation by this year’s winners of the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award: Francisco X. Stork, F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, and Rafael López.

The Next Chapter Tent, brand new this year, will feature middle grade chapter book authors Andrew Clements, Margarita Engle, Gene Luen Yang, Ellen Oh, and many more talking on panels about everything from being funny on the page to dealing with family drama to being an inclusive friend, reader, and citizen.

The YA HQ Tent will include two days of panels featuring young adult authors Sarah Dessen, Erika L. Sanchez, Jeff Zentner, Tochi Onyebuchi, Maggie Stiefvater, and more discussing fantasy, real life, writing mega-bestsellers, and brand new, buzz-worthy debuts.

In addition to the tents on Congress Avenue, the Festival will welcome many other great kids’ authors at venues around the Festival grounds. The full schedule and details on each session can be found here.

  • Saturday 11-11:45 a.m. We Love You, Mac Barnett!
    • Location: Capitol Auditorium
  • Saturday 1:15-2 p.m. Raid of No Return: Nathan Hale and His Hazardous Tale!
    • Location: Capitol Auditorium
  • Saturday 12:30-1:15 p.m. Katherine Paterson and Peter Sís In Conversation
    • Location: First United Methodist Church
  • Saturday 1-1:45 p.m. The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid with Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis
    • Location: Omni Hotel Ballroom
  • Saturday 2:30-3:15 p.m. Illustrating American History with Kadir Nelson and Don Tate
    • Location: Capitol Auditorium
  • Sunday 11-11:45 a.m. Bad Moods, Be Gone! with Lemony Snicket
    • Location: House Chamber
  • Sunday 12:30-1:15 p.m. The Wonderful World of William Joyce
    • Location: Capitol Auditorium
All events at Kids on Congress are free and open to the public. The complete Texas Book Festival schedule is available at http://www.texasbookfestival.org/festival-schedule/.

The 2017 Texas Book Festival is co-presented by H-E-B and AT&T. Other major sponsors include Kirkus Reviews, Brigid Cockrum and Family, Tocker Foundation, Buena Vista Foundation, C-SPAN 2/Book TV, St. David’s HealthCare, Texas Capital Bank, Texas Monthly, Austin American-Statesman, and Pentagram.

An Overlooked Benefit to Consider This Open Enrollment Season

Being a parent is a balancing act. You are constantly being pulled in different directions and it can be challenging managing all of the things you need to get done. Your company’s open enrollment period is a chance to take stock of what benefits your workplace offers that may be able to help you manage some of the issues you face.
One often overlooked benefit is a group legal plan, which provides access to a nationwide network of attorneys for help with personal legal issues for around $20 a month. Here are just a few reasons why a legal plan can be a valuable benefit for a parent:
It helps with the things keeping you up at night. Have you considered who would take care of your children if something happened to you or your spouse? Or what if someone in the family became disabled? Do you have financial and health care directives in place to protect your family? If you have kids, you need to have estate planning documents. A group legal plan covers the cost of drafting documents like wills and powers of attorney for you, your spouse and dependents.
It can help protect or restore your identity. Identity theft is on the rise, with child identity theft quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing identity theft crimes. Contacting creditors and other agencies to resolve an identity theft issue can be very time-consuming and costly. In fact, the average cost to resolve an identity theft issue, including legal fees, is around $1,300, according to a U.S. Department of Justice study cited by CSID. Access to identity theft assistance through a group legal plan connects you to experts who can do the work for you, saving you time and money.
It helps with buying or selling a home. Having children can mean having to move to a bigger house. There are numerous legal issues involved in buying or selling a home. Attorneys can review contracts, draft documents related to the purchase or sale, as well as attend the closing for you. A legal plan provides you with access to an attorney to guide you through the homebuying or selling process, taking away the stress of dealing with complicated paperwork and legal issues.
It can help with school-related issues. As your child enters school, there are many complicated issues he or she may face. Dealing with special needs requests, administrative hearings at school or even juvenile court for traffic infractions are all legal issues that can be difficult for most parents to maneuver without legal help. When you are enrolled in a legal plan, it’s similar to having an attorney on retainer. You can contact an attorney for any questions you have related to issues your children face throughout their school years.
Having access to affordable legal help through a group legal plan can help you navigate many of the issues you face as a parent. If your company offers this as a benefit at your work, it’s one to consider this open enrollment season. (BPT)

3 Easy DIY STEM Projects for Kids

Looking for hands-on activities to engage your kids? It’s never too early to introduce them to important STEM subjects at home.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These subjects are critical for all students to learn because they are required for so many careers in the future. In fact, STEM jobs are growing faster than any other U.S. sector, according to Wired magazine.

If you’re looking for fun, hands-on STEM projects to do with your child, 4-H is a tremendous resource! 4-H utilizes exciting topics like robotics, rocketry, computer science and even electrical engineering to teach youth problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and build excitement for technology and STEM careers. To reach more youth with STEM programs, the National 4-H Council has partnered with HughesNet, America’s #1 choice for satellite Internet, to help introduce youth to hands-on, community-based STEM learning. HughesNet is a national sponsor of 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD), the world’s largest youth-led STEM challenge. 4-H NYSD projects can be used by local clubs, families, homeschoolers and teachers to give youth a fun way to learn about STEM.

Here are three exciting NYSD STEM projects that are so much fun, your child will think it’s playtime, not work time.

Project 1: Incredible Wearables

The FitBit and Apple Watch craze have inspired “Incredible Wearables” — the 2017 NYSD experiment. Designed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, this project teaches students how circuits, sensors and health data can be blended with fashion to create a wearable tech product.

To get started, visit https://shop4-h.org/ to order an affordable kit that provides everything needed for up to eight kids to make their very own wearable fitness devices. These wearables can track heart rate, steps and more! Best yet, the kits are reusable so they can have fun building, designing and testing their tracker time and time again.

Project 2: Drone Discovery

For children excited by aeronautics and design, Drone Discovery enables youth to explore how drone engineering and remote sensing can be used to solve real-world problems, such as helping a community develop climate change resiliency and energy sustainability. To succeed in this challenge, youth need to think like an engineer as they design, build and test drones. There are many different kinds of engineers and different ways to approach a challenge. What kind of engineer do you think you’ll need to be to master drone technology? The engineering design process has three basic steps: define, design and optimize.

Project 3: Rockets to the Rescue

Rockets to the Rescue is a competitive project, enabling youth to design and build a rocket that could be used to transport food and deliver supplies to disaster victims. This project, which is incredibly timely with major storms hitting the United States, teaches engineering concepts, math skills, nutrition and how to help solve a relevant, global issue.

The possibilities are endless

From simple building blocks to tackling science kits and constructing robots, there are plenty of STEM projects guaranteed to pique your child’s interest. Not only are you spending quality time with them having fun, but you’re also helping them learn critical STEM skills that will positively impact their future. To learn about other fun STEM activities, visit www.hughesnet.com/4h and www.4h.org.

5 Tips to Make Sense of Cyber Security

It’s no secret that kids have a sense of invincibility. While that trait can bring some endearing reminders of the innocence of childhood, it can also have some highly unfortunate consequences. In the context of cyber security, an action by an unknowing child can impact the entire family.

The majority of U.S. households are filled with devices that pose a potential threat to your personal security. In fact, according to the 2016 Global Consumer Security Survey by Trend Micro, nearly half of households have two or more computers and nearly a third have three or more smartphones. That means the opportunities are plentiful for missteps to occur.

Despite the many benefits of a highly connected world, the potential for danger is strong. The same study found that 65 percent of respondents’ computers had been infected with a virus or malware. Other concerns included damage or loss of files, children viewing inappropriate content, cyberbullying and ID or password theft.

While there are plenty of parental controls and blocks available, they aren’t foolproof. Educating children about the potential risks and how to avoid them can go a long way toward protecting your family from potential cyber problems.

Open up a conversation with your children about cyber security with these tips from the experts at Trend Micro:

  1. Understand what you’re saying yes to. Be involved, knowledgeable and interested in the devices, apps and sites your children use for school and for fun. For sites they use for school, ask their teachers for more information. For apps they’re using at home, spend 15 minutes trying it out yourself.
  1. Use privacy settings and features. Make sure you understand what privacy protections your browser or devices offer for your family when your kids are accessing their favorite sites, apps and online services. Many browsers allow you to prevent sites from tracking what you do and where you go online, so spend some time looking at web browser settings to see what privacy options are available to you. Mobile devices also have settings that can restrict apps from knowing your physical location or accessing your camera, microphone, photos or contacts.
  1. Use features and services available within an app or website. Also take a look at the privacy settings available in the specific apps, websites or games your family uses. Most will let you have a private account, which means the whole world won’t be able to see what you post or who you’re connected to. It also means that people have to ask your permission before they can follow you.
  1. Remember that being online is a public life. Nothing is truly private online. If you and your family keep this in mind, it can help you all think through what you are about to post, like and click on, as well as who you connect with online.
  1. Talk to other families. Other kids or families may have a different definition of what is or isn’t “private.” Encourage your kids to talk to their friends about how they will respect each other’s privacy online. Good friends will understand, think and ask before posting a photo or information about their friends. Talk to other parents about your feelings on privacy, too, and ask for their opinions with the goal of protecting and respecting each other’s privacy online.

Explore more ideas to keep your kids and family safe online at internetsafety.trendmicro.com. (Family Features)

How Much Juice Should Kids Drink? What You Need to Know About Juice and Serving Size

Dr. Lisa Thornton discusses the role of 100 percent juice in the diet.

Dr. Lisa Thornton discusses the role of 100 percent juice in the diet.

Selecting beverages for your children can be tricky. What should they be drinking and how much should they drink? Dr. Lisa Thornton, pediatrician and mother, breaks down new juice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and answers questions about 100 percent juice in the diet.

My kids like to drink juice, but I don’t know how much to serve them. Do you have any suggestions?

Like the whole fruit it is squeezed from, 100 percent juice is both delicious and nutritious. It is filled with important vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate and vitamin C, which make it a great beverage to serve your children. A serving of 100 percent juice is also a good option to help children meet their daily fruit serving recommendations.

In regards to portion size, follow the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Children ages 1-3 can have up to 4 ounces of juice a day, kids ages 4-6 can drink up to 6 ounces a day and children 7 and older can have up to 8 ounces per day. These new guidelines were put into place to help parents manage their children’s intake.

Should I be worried about juice and weight gain?

Balance is the key to good health for people of all ages, from age 1 to 100. Guidelines and recommendations are put into place by experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help guide you to make the best decisions about the foods and beverages you serve to your family.

Scientific studies that analyzed the juice consumption of children and adults found that when juice is consumed in appropriate amounts, there is no association between drinking juice and obesity. If you are worried about the impact of individual foods on your child’s weight, consult with a professional, such as a nutritionist or pediatrician.

Does drinking juice impact fruit consumption? I’m concerned that if I serve my children juice, they will be less likely to eat fruit.

Actually, nutrition research shows just the opposite. Children who drink juice tend to have overall better quality diets than those who do not drink juice. This means they eat more whole fruit, less saturated fats and have less added sugar in their diet.

Drinking juice shouldn’t replace eating whole fruit in the diet; it should complement it. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, 100 percent juice is part of the fruit group, which consists of all forms of fruit — fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice. More than 75 percent of Americans do not eat the recommended amount of fruit; one serving of fruit juice can help to supplement your family’s intake.

Making decisions about what to feed your family shouldn’t be stressful or difficult. Consult with your physician, pediatrician or nutritionist if you are confused about what foods and beverages you should be serving your loved ones. For more information about 100 percent juice and how it fits into an overall balanced diet, visit Juice Central. Juice Central is your source for the latest information about juice, including healthy lifestyle tips, recipes and nutrition science. (BPT)