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How safe is your child/grandchild’s car seat? Important information you need to know

 

Driving the car

My “baby” getting ready to drive off in my car.

 

My teenage son recently started to drive. I can’t believe my “baby” can drive a car. It seems like only yesterday I was strapping him into a car seat to bring him home from the hospital. Sigh… time flies too quickly.

Even though both of my kids are teenagers, I still worry about how safe they are in the car. They know to wear their seat belts, but as a mom, I worry that it’s not enough. I wish I could strap them in car seats again to keep them protected.

Car seats have come a long way since my kids were little. They appear to be a lot more safer and better at protecting children in the event of a car accident. I’m in awe of how well today’s car seats are made.

With this being the winter season where roads can become dangerous quickly due to snow and ice, it’s more important than ever to make sure your child/grandchild is properly protected.

Babies “R” Us recently partnered with the brand Evenflo to bring to consumers the first car seat tested to withstand rollovers.

Here are some frightening statistics all parents, grandparents and childcare givers should be aware of. 

Rollovers have a higher fatality rate than other kinds of crashes. 

Of the nearly 9.1 million passenger car, SUV, pickup and van crashes in 2010, only 2.1% involved a rollover. 

Rollovers accounted for nearly 35% of all fatalities from passenger vehicle crashes in 2010.

These statistics are from Vehicle Crash Statistics at Safecar.gov.

I never knew that about rollovers. That is pretty scary!

Mother Putting Baby Into Car Seat

Both Evenflo and Babies “R” Us are advocates for child safety. That is why they came together to create an innovative car seat which was designed to protect a child in the event of a rollover. It’s called the SafeMax All-in-One Car Seat, and it’s now available at Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and online at com.

The SafeMax All-in-One Car Seat is unlike other car seats on the market.

  • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately twice the federal crash test standard, the SafeMax™ All-in-One is the first car seat that has been dynamically rollover tested.
  • Evenflo is once again leading the industry with the development of a dynamic ROLLOVER TEST.
  • The SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat is appropriate for infants and children from 5 to 120 lbs or up to 57 inches in height, in three positions – rear facing, forward facing and booster seating.

In addition to rollover testing, the SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat features an integrated steel frame to provide strength in absorbing crash forces and harness webbing to help limit head excursion and prevent ejection, as well as the following securities:

  • SafeZone Headrest: A combination of premium materials designed to absorb and dissipate crash forces, providing advanced protection where your child needs it most. 
  • ParentLink® PREMIER Service: Provides owners access to expert advice, including live video installation service with a certified car seat technician. [FYI – this is VERY cool! You can video chat with a safety expert to ensure your car seat is PROPERLY INSTALLED in your vehicle, and ask questions about the proper fit for your child!]
  • e3 Side Impact Protection: Significantly reduces side impact crash forces up to 50% through an expanded zone of protection and three layers of superior protection.
  • OUTLAST® Performance Fabric: Exclusive to Babies“R”Us, this fabric balances a child’s body temperature for a safer, more peaceful ride.

Evenflo SafeMax All-in-One Car Seat - Side

This is like the “Cadillac” of car seats, that is for sure. If my kids were younger I would certainly look into this car seat for the both of them.

Proper Installation is a MUST. I have seen friend’s who have their children’s car seats installed incorrectly. When it comes to a child safety I will comment on it. I would never want a friend’s child to be in danger.

It’s important – for your child’s safety – that the car seat be installed the correct way. You cannot cut corners or “guess.” That is why I like that the SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat gives you access to safety experts. I wish more car seat companies would do something like that.

When in doubt you should take your child’s car seat to a safety inspection center near you. To find a location visit  http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm to find a car seat inspection station near you.

The SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat is available at Babies “R” Us.

Speaking of Babies “R” Us, they are hosting the “Great Trade-In” event at both Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us stores nationwide. This safety event helps consumers to rid their homes of potentially unsafe, old and secondhand baby gear and furniture, which is not up to the latest safety standards and exchange them for savings on new items.

The event will take place starting Monday, February 1st and continue through Monday, February 29th.

Rewards“R”Us loyalty members can take advantage of early access beginning Friday, January 29 through Sunday, January 31 by showing their Rewards“R”Us loyalty card during checkout. You can sign up to be a rewards member FREE at any Babies “R” Us or Toys “R” Us store.

Crib

Our daughter in her crib that we later used for our son. The crib is almost 19 years old and we still have it in the basement. Time to get rid of it.

Acceptable items include:

  • Any used cribs
  • car seats
  • bassinets
  • strollers
  • high chairs
  • infant swings
  • bouncers
  • travel systems
  • walkers
  • entertainers
  • play yards
  • toddler/twin beds

I think this is a wonderful service for the community.I applaud the Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us brand for doing this.

When you bring in one of the above mentioned items to trade in, these are your savings opportunities.

  • 25% savings with trade-in of a used gear or furniture item
  • 30% discount when using an “R”Us Credit Card

No trade-in? No problem! 15% off with an in-store and online coupon available on Babiesrus.com/GreatTradeIn starting February 1, 2016.

Best of all there are no  limits to the number of items a customer can trade in.

The brands participating in this national safety event include Baby Trend®, Britax®, Chicco®, Evenflo®, Graco®, Safety 1st®, Sorelle and more.

After you have taken advantage of the Great Trade-In Event I hope you will share your experience (and maybe even photos) on social media using the hastag #BRUGreatTradeIn. Also, feel free to share information about the event on social media (Facebook, Twitter Instagram…) as well as with family, friends neighbors and co-workers.

If you would like more information about this event, please visit Babiesrus.com/GreatTradeIn.

To find a Babies “R” Us location near you visit BabiesRUs.com.

To find a Toys “R” Us location near you visit ToysRUs.com.

Both brands can also be found on social media.

What do you think about the SafeMax All-in-One Car Seat?

If your child/grandchild’s car seat properly installed? Are you 100% sure it is?

Are you going to participate in the Great Trade-In Event? Why or why not?

Logos

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Babies “R” Us to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Carbon Monoxide Deaths Increase During Bitter Winter Cold and Snow

 

Fireplace

Carbon monoxide is winter’s “silent killer.” Carbon monoxide kills an average of 430 Americans each year and sickens many others. It’s a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas undetectable to the human senses, so people don’t realize that they are being exposed to it.  Products that are typically involved in poisonings include malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in homes and other enclosed areas.

Symptoms range from headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness to confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination and loss of consciousness. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen slowly or swiftly depending on circumstances. In an effort to raise public awareness, California Poison Control offers 10 tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

1. Have all heating equipment installed properly, and have the home’s heating system inspected by a professional prior to turning the heat on when cold weather begins.

2. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in all homes, apartments and workplaces.  When a detector goes off, assume that a real danger is present, and get all people and pets out of the structure immediately. Do not re-enter until a heating professional, the gas company or the fire department has declared the area safe.

3. During home renovations, ensure that appliance vents and chimneys are not blocked by tarps or debris. Make sure appliances are in proper working order when renovations are complete.

4. Do not cover the bottom of natural gas or propane ovens with aluminum foil. Doing so blocks the combustion air flow through the appliance and can produce carbon monoxide.

Oven

5. Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space and provides instructions for safe use in such an area.

6. In climates with snow, make sure that chimneys and vents do not become blocked with snowfall.

7. Never operate a portable generator or any other gasoline engine-powered tool either in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, house or other building, or outside of an open window.  Keep the generator as far from the house as possible.

8. Do not use charcoal or hibachi grills indoors to cook with or for heat under any circumstances.

9. Do not attempt to heat your home by turning on the oven or clothes dryer and leaving the door open.

10. Never let a car engine run inside a closed space such as a garage.  Drive out promptly after starting the car, and turn the car engine off as soon as you drive into an enclosed space. Never have a garage door closed with a running vehicle inside, even for a few seconds.

Car Exhaust

About CPCS

You can learn more about a variety of poison issues by following CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter.  Sign up for weekly safety text messages to your cell phone by texting TIPS or PUNTOS for Spanish to 69866; and download a free app at Choose Your Poison.  CPCS is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date information and 24-hour help in case of poisoning. In case of an accidental poisoning, consumers should immediately call 1-800-222-1222 (this number works in all 50 states) for advice. Specially trained staff members are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Experts are available to answer non-emergency question at any time as well.

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Digital Parenting: Setting Ground Rules for Internet Safety

 

Child Smartphone

Am I the only parent that believes that the Internet has made supervising teenagers that much more challenging? Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoy the conveniences that the Internet and modern technology have afforded us. However, when you think about it, children of all ages are now exposed to content in an instant. The things we try so hard to shield them from are now only a click away… and for me that is scary.

I realized that meant I needed to learn how to effectively parent in this digital age we live in. In order to safeguard my children from the inappropriate content on the Internet, I would need to educate myself and set some ground rules. If you’re the parent of a tween or teenager, this advice will certainly come in handy.

Get Protected

A parent’s first line of defense with Internet safety is parental controls. Setting limitations online can help minimize the potential of your child ending up on a site they have no business accessing. There are several Internet service providers, such as FIOS Frontier, that offer parental control features. While it will not protect them from all the dangers of the Internet, it does add peace of mind.

Set the Rules

Once you’ve got a few Internet protections in place, it is a good idea to set some ground rules. Sure your kids might mumble and groan about the rules, but it’s for their own protection. When setting the rules you want to keep your kid’s age in mind so that you can ensure you’re being fair across the board. Some common rules you might set would include:

Household computers and devices are to remain in a public area. Keep the computer in a high-traffic location such as the living room. This way you can keep an eye on your children as they access the Internet.

Limit time online. Unless it’s for educational purposes (i.e. a book report), your child does not need to be online 24 hours per day. Set reasonable limits on how much computer time your children are allowed to have. For example, your 12 year old might get two hours a day while your eight year old may only be entitled to one.

No personal information. Your children should not be allowed to provide any personal contact information online without your consent. This would include things like full name, address, or telephone number.

No chat rooms. There are a lot of websites that allow users to interact via chat. Whether its social media or through an email provider like Google, you may want to keep the chat room privilege to a minimum. Predators are known to target children through chat rooms and you want to make sure that yours don’t fall victim. If you have an older teen however (14+), then you might simply have a talk with them about what to say and what not to say when chatting with friends online.

No photo sharing without permission. Taking “selfies” is the new thing for young children. However, you want to make sure they’re not taking pictures that are inappropriate or that can be misconstrued as such. Therefore, a rule of no photo sharing without prior permission allows you to see exactly what they’re sending friends. Again, for older teens, having a conversation about appropriate and inappropriate photos online would suffice.

No accessing unfamiliar sites. It can be pretty easy to find your way to inappropriate content when searching the Web. Therefore, you want to make sure that your children know not to access any links to websites that are not familiar to them or approved by you.

Talk to Your Kids

Once you’ve determined what the rules for using the Internet will be, you’ll need to relay the message to your kids. Explain to them the importance of being careful when online. Talking with your children not only educates them on the potential dangers that are online, but starts an open dialogue which is important. Once you’ve talked with your kids about the Internet and the rules, remember to let them know that they can always come to you if there is a problem.

Your children have access to the Internet at home, in schools, and even on the go. While the Internet is filled with cool things for them to learn and engage in, there are also a lot of dangers that you must prepare them for. If you haven’t instilled the importance of Internet safety in your children, there’s no time like the present. Start by educating yourself, setting up digital protections, creating ground rules, and more importantly talking with your children. Doing so will give you peace of mind and ensure that your kids are safe as they surf the web.

Teen Smartphone

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New Year, New Risky Apps Every Parent Should Know About

 

Teen Smartphone

The world has become a scary place. It’s changed so much since I was a child. Back in the day we didn’t have cellphones. We would leave our homes at sun-up and know that we had to be home when the sun went down (where I lived there were no street lights). Parents pretty much had no clue where you were all day long. They trusted that you were safe where ever you were.

We didn’t have child safe caps on medicine bottles, we didn’t wear helmets when we rode our bikes – even car seats were not really a thing. Some how we survived. But that was then. These days there are a lot more things to worry about, especially when it comes to children.

One of the biggest concerns with today’s youth is technology and social media. There was a time when you had to be 13 before you were allowed to have a Facebook account. Now a days I see elementary school children with Twitter and Instagram accounts.

I work with elementary school children and they tell me about apps that even my teenagers are not aware of. That just blows my mind! Just the other day the kids I work with were telling me about an app called Music.ly. I asked my high school and college aged children if they heard of the app and they both said “no.”

Today’s technology – most especially social media and apps – make the world a much more dangerous place for children and teens.

There are even some apps that hide things so that parents cannot find them. That is really scary.

My kids are 16 and almost 19 years old. We pay for their cellphones. As long as we pay for them they are not allowed to download any apps without our permission – even a teens. We want to know what are kids are doing at all times. It’s not that we don’t trust them (we do) – it’s other people we worry about.

TeenSafe, the world’s leading parental monitoring technology service, has released an infographic on this topic, including the “Top 5 Blacklist Apps” that parents should be on the lookout for. Here’s the breakdown:

Snapchat: One of the most popular apps for sexting among teens. Sexts can be saved even though they are supposed to disappear.

Kik Messenger: Tweens and teens also Kik to send sexts. Predators can contact your child via Kik and send unsolicited sexts.

Tinder: No age verification means your child could be “matched” with adults on this popular dating app. Tinder has had security breaches that exposed user data and location.

Blendr: There are no age requirements for this dating app, allowing adults to contact children. GPS features can reveal the location of your child to diligent predators.

Down: Lets a user sort Facebook friends they are “down” to hook up with. It perpetuates “hookup” culture among young teens.

Below is an infographic with more important information all parents should be aware of.

TeenSafe-2016AppBlacklistD2-b

Are YOU aware of these apps and their harmful potential?

Even apps (sites) such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can put your child at risk.

Did you know that if your child/teen has “location” set up on their smart phone and upload photos to Instagram, ANYONE who follows your child can see where the photos were uploaded via the app. If your child uploads a lot of photos while at home or school those locations will appear on Instagram making it easy to track down where your child lives and goes to school.

Scary stuff!

Are there any other applications you are aware of that could be harmful for children/teens? If so, please leave a comment and tell me and others about them.

Child Smartphone

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Halting Hackers For The Holidays

 

Computer Hacker

October was National Cyber Security Awareness month and during that time, millions of online identities were stolen in America with more than 200 published breaches.

We’re now getting close to 1 billion records of identity theft – more than three times our entire population in the United States.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have heard, read or seen something about online safety and security issues recently, according to StopThinkConnect.org. Yet consumers also say they don’t take steps to stay safe online because they lack information or knowledge.

So here are my best tips to help you enjoy Black Friday, CyberMonday and the Christmas shopping experience without losing your privacy and identity or putting your children’s safety at risk:

Change your passwords – all of them. Do it now and do it as frequently as you can tolerate. If you don’t want to change them often, then use any unique characters you can think of, such as a dollar sign ($) or an exclamation mark (!) or replace a letter “O” with a 0 (zero). This goes a long way in preventing brute force attacks against your password. Also, never trust anyone on the phone who asks for your password, especially if they called you. The same holds true with emails. Both the telephone and email are used by people who try to get your password by pretending to be the IRS, your bank or someone else you have an account with.

Clean up your apps. Assume most of your smartphone or tablet apps are malware that spies on you and your online behavior. Do you really need them? Delete any apps you don’t use often. Replace apps that take advantage of too many of your privacy settings with similar apps that don’t. On an iPhone, you’re not being eavesdropped on until you run the app.

Shop online only from websites you trust. If you don’t know where the merchant is located, don’t shop online there. If they don’t have a corporate address or are located in another country, it could be iffy whether you ever see the goods you think you purchased. Also, if their shopping-cart experience is not an HTTPS browser session, then everything you type in – your name, address and credit card information – is going over the Internet unencrypted, in plain view.

Never buy online using your credit card on a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. It’s easy to tell you are in a secure, encrypted session. You should see an icon of a locked padlock in your browser and the website URL starts with HTTPS not HTTP. Also, if you receive emails from the merchant, no matter the reason, don’t give them your credit card information over email.

Don’t use cash or debit cards. You have three major choices when shopping – cash, credit or debit. In rare but growing instances there’s even a fourth option called “Bitcoins,” which are now accepted at some merchants including Overstock.com. Bitcoins could be considered the equivalent to the cash option, because once used, you can’t get them back. So, if you have to choose among these options, the best is the credit card.

Here’s why: If you experience identity theft, credit card laws allow you to keep all of your credit immediately, with no responsibility during an identity theft or fraud investigation. With a debit card, your bank’s policy can be to tie up your money in the amount of the fraudulent transactions for up to 30 days. Some have been known to take up to 60 days to resolve the issue.

Don’t use public WiFi without using SSL encryption. Public Wifi networks can be a hacker’s dream. If they want, they can see what websites you are visiting and insert malware into your computer or other device. The hacker also has access to any information you are sending out over the Internet, which could include credit card numbers or other critical information.

Laptop

About the author:

Gary Miliefsky  is a consumer advocate who has been recently featured on ABC, Good Morning America, World News Tonight, NBC’s Today, FOX News, CNBC and elsewhere for his expertise as a cyber security expert. He is Founder of SnoopWall Inc. (www.snoopwall.com), a cutting edge counter-intelligence technology company offering free consumer based software to secure personal data on cell-phones and tablets, while generating revenues helping banks and government agencies secure their networks.

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Hazardous Holiday Decorations Warning from Poison Control

 

child-with-ginger-house-1239038

(CPCS) warns consumers that certain holiday decorations can be hazardous to children, adults and pets. If you have questions about the following decorations, call poison control at 800-222-1222 (number works in all states).

Angel Hair: Angel hair is finely spun glass which can be irritating to the skin, eyes and the throat if swallowed. While decorating, wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation.

Bubble Lights: Bubble lights contain a small amount of methylene chloride which is also found in paint removers. Nibbling on an intact light or one “opened” light may cause mild skin or mouth irritation.

Candles: Candles consist of wax and synthetic materials, which are non-toxic. Small amounts of non-poisonous colors and scents are added. However, small chunks pose a choking hazard to small children. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other plants or trees. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not fall.

Christmas tree ornaments: Ornaments can be made of glass, thin metal, Styrofoam or wood. If a child swallows a piece of an ornament, it could cause choking and/or blockage in the intestines. Antique or foreign-made ornaments may be decorated with lead based paint; however, lead toxicity is unlikely from a small, one-time occurrence.

02J00979

Christmas tree preservatives: Commercial Christmas tree preservatives usually contain a concentrated sugar solution and are considered non-toxic. Homemade solutions containing aspirin or bleach can be potentially harmful if a large amount is swallowed.

Fireplace Color Crystals: These color crystals are attractive to children and can look like candy. They contain powders of heavy metal salts such as copper, selenium, arsenic and antimony. If swallowed, they can be very irritating to the mouth and stomach. They can also cause burns in the mouth and throat. If large amounts are swallowed, it may result in heavy metal poisoning.

Gift Wrap: Most wrapping paper and ribbons are non-toxic, but foil and colored gift wrap may contain lead. Do not let babies chew on these papers.

Glitter or sparkle: Non-toxic.

Icicles or tinsel: These may cause choking or obstruction, especially in cats or small dogs. Since they may contain lead and tin, they may be toxic with repeated ingestion.

Snow scene globes: Snow scenes are plastic globes filled with water or glycerin. When shaken, snow appears to fall upon a Christmas scene. The “snow” is calcium carbonate, which is non-toxic. Sometimes the water may be contaminated with bacteria and food poisoning may result. The symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Snow Sprays: Many snow sprays contain acetone or methylene chloride. This solvent can be harmful when inhaled. Briefly inhaling the spray in a small, poorly ventilated room may result in nausea, lightheadedness and headache. Longer or more concentrated exposures can be more serious. Carefully follow container directions. Be sure to have the room well ventilated when you spray. Once dry, the snow particles are non-toxic.

Can of snow

About CPCS

You can learn more about a variety of poison issues by following CPCS on Facebook at California Poison Control System and on Twitter @poisoninfo. Sign up for weekly safety text messages to your cell phone by texting TIPS to 69866 and Puntos for Spanish tips. Download a free app, Choose Your Poison, for Android and iPhones. CPCS is dedicated to providing residents with the most up-to-date information and 24-hour help in case of poisoning. In case of an accidental poisoning, consumers should immediately call 1-800-222-1222 for advice.

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