Check the back seat when heading back to school

More children get left in cars during back-to-school season

GMC has announced a new vehicle feature to help prevent caregivers from accidentally leaving children in cars, which can be a fatal mistake in hot weather. GMC’s “Rear Seat Reminder” is an industry-first technology intended to help remind the driver to look in the rear seat before exiting the vehicle under certain circumstances.

GMC’s protective feature will be standard in the new 2018 GMC Terrain.  The technology does not actually detect objects or people in the rear seat but monitors rear door usage for up to 10 minutes before or during a trip, and when the driver turns off the vehicle.  An alarm sounds five chimes and displays a warning on the driver information center screen, prompting a second look in the back seat. A GMC staff engineer and mother of two, Tricia Morrow, led the development of the technology.

It is as tragic statistic that about half of the heatstroke deaths of children under age 14 occur because caregivers mistakenly leave children in cars. Since 1998, more than 660 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when unattended in a vehicle. During September’s back-to-school season and Baby Safety Month, Safe Kids Worldwide warns that changes in caregivers’ routines can lead to children being forgotten in cars.

Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.  When a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. And when that child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization of 400 coalitions across the U.S. and funded by General Motors, developed a system called ACT to help remind caregivers not to leave children in cars.  The acronym focuses on avoiding heatstroke by never leaving a child in a car, creating reminders that a child is riding in the car, and taking action by calling 911 if a child is left alone in a car.

Safe Kids warns that children get left behind by loving, caring parents simply because they become distracted, and that these accidences are more common with new parents who are sleep-deprived or when a parent’s routine is disrupted.

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How to keep kids safe, during the most dangerous time of the day

A Krav Maga black belt offers parents and kids advice on staying safe and self defense

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Unsupervised times when children wait for the school bus or walk to and from school are great opportunities for children to experience limited independence, but this is also the prime time for bullies and other predators,  which is why parents need to make sure their children are prepared to handle potential threats to their safety.

In addition to pencils, pens, paper and a backpack, parents also need to make sure they have taught their children basic self-defense and safety skills that could save their life if they are ever attacked. Krav Maga Worldwide, a leading self –defense organization has created a list of tips on what parents need to be teaching their kids now to make sure they stay safe throughout the school year.

These unsupervised hours pose unique dangers for different age groups.

Grades 1-5

Lack of proper supervision is rare for this group except for very short periods of time. Children of this age are most commonly left alone during a short walk to and from school. Here are a few practical tips to ensure that this time is as safe as possible.

  • Always walk with a buddy who lives very close by.
  • Be sure to go straight to school or home. No detours or goofing around.
  • If a stranger says, “hello” they can smile, make eye contact, waive, and say “hello” back, but they should always keep walking toward either the school or home no matter what.

Grades 6-10

Lack of supervision is relatively common in this group. At this age children take on more responsibility and are less susceptible to the dangers faced by younger children. However, the dangers that children in this age range encounter are more commonly imposed by friends and acquaintances.  These peer pressure based dangers are experienced by every child in this age group. But the risk can be mitigated by ensuring that your children’s time and attention is occupied during these key hours. Here are a couple practical tips for this age group:

  • Get them involved in after school activities that they genuinely enjoy
  • Schedule the time after school for them to complete their chores or homework. Ensure that you hold them to that expectation when you come home from work.

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  • Communication Is Key … Make sure your children understand that there is no such thing as communicating too much. By letting them know that you expect regular updates you will feel better leaving them unattended.  Before leaving them for the first time set expectations. Let your kids know what you expect whether it be staying inside while you are gone or coming straight home after school.
  • Talk to kids about knowing their surroundings. By explaining to them that they need to be fully aware of what’s going on around them can avert dangerous situations from happening.
  • Confidence in speech (projecting, clear) and body language (posture, eye contact, etc.) are the single most important factors that can increase your child’s chances of safety. Regardless of the dangerous situation or the age, a child with a strong presence is less likely to be at risk than those that project shyness or aloofness.
  • Children should always listen to their instincts, if something doesn’t feel right they should leave the area immediately without hesitation or fear of getting in trouble.

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Matt Romond is a 3rd Degree Krav Maga Worldwide™ Black Belt, the Director of Krav Maga Worldwide’s™ KM-X Kids program and has over a decade of experience teaching children and adults Krav Maga self-defense and fight classes. 

Ways to talk to kids about sexual abuse

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Sexual violence is a very serious public health problem that affects millions of women and men. However, research done by the Crimes Against Children Research Center showed that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. These children who are the victims of prolonged sexual abuse usually develop low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may also become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults.

 

Every year there is an opportunity for parents to learn how to talk to their children about this sensitive topic, during Sexuality Education Awareness Month in October, but year-round this is an issue that may come up for families.  One organization that has helped parents by giving them tools to assist them in talking to children is Krav Maga Worldwide, a leading self-defense organization, which offers parents these tips on what to teach their children if they are involved in an attack and also tips for preventing attacks.

 

  1. Begin talking to them as young as 2 years old. This may seem very early but children under 12 are most at risk at 4 years old. Even if they can’t speak well, children at this age are busy figuring out the world. And they certainly understand and remember a lot more than adults usually realize.
  2. Share the only instances when their private parts can be seen and touched. An age appropriate concept for a young child to understand is that nobody – including a parent or caregiver – should see or touch their private parts (what a swimming suit covers up) – unless they’re keeping them clean, safe, or healthy.
  3. Talk openly about sexuality and sexual abuse to teach your child that these topics do not need to be “secret.” Abusers will sometimes tell a child that the abuse should be kept a secret. Let your child know that if someone is touching him or her or talking to him or her in ways that make him or her uncomfortable or scared, that it should not stay a secret.
  4. Inform your child about the tricks used by sexual predators. Tricks such as continued accidental touching, or an emergency trick where the predator tricks the child into thinking there is an emergency and the child must go with the predator.
  5. Teach children that they must trust their inner voice. Especially That Yucky Feeling We all have that feeling inside that tells us what feels right and what feels wrong or uncomfortable. Many children who have been sexually abused describe a feeling of discomfort as having a “yucky” feeling inside. You must teach your child to trust or honor their inner voice or that “yucky” feeling.
  6. Teach your child that they have the right to say NO! As the majority of child abuse is based on coercion rather than force, teaching your child to say NO strongly and forcefully really can make a big difference in many situations.

 

 

 

Change your clock, check your smoke alarm

Today at 2 am clocks rolled back one hour to observe daylight savings time, which is also when safety experts recommend you check and change batteries on home smoke and CO detectors.

Taking a few minutes to swap out batteries could save your family’s life.  Most 9 volt batteries, which are the most commonly used in smoke and CO alarms, can last several years, but the minor expenses of about $4 per battery is worth the security and peace of mind of knowing your home is protected.

If your smoke detector is mounted in a place that is hard to reach, or if you don’t like to have to frequently change batteries, consider an alarm with a sealed lithium battery, such as the Kidde Worry-Free combination smoke and CO alarm. The system eliminates the need for up to 20 9-volt batteries, which is not only easier on the user but also saves the environment from the battery waste.worry-free-combo-smoke-and-co-with-voice-angleKidde products are sold at national retailers such as Home Depot and Walmart.  Depending on the features, smoke and CO alarms cost around $17 to $55.