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Halloween Safety Tips

by Amy October 14, 2016

10.23
Halloween is one of the most exciting nights for your children. Staying out after dark, dressing up, getting candy. But, as a parent, you want to protect your family and make sure their Halloween is as safe as it is spooky. These tips from SafeWise and Safe Kids Worldwide will ensure your ghost or goblin stays safe trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Walk Safely
• Make sure to observe all traffic laws, only cross at street corners, and use the sidewalks.
• Remind your kids to look left, right, and then left again before they cross the street.
• Plan a direct route with the safest walking path, always using sidewalks when available.
• If there are no sidewalks, then get as far to the side of the road as possible and walk in the direction of oncoming traffic. That way, drivers will be sure to see you.
• Talk to your child about what to do if they should get lost and make a plan for them to contact you immediately.

Trick or Treat with an Adult
• Children under 12 should not trick-or-treat alone. Plan to have an adult go out with them.
• If a child is allergic to certain candies, make sure they wear their medical alert bracelet, if they have one, and that an adult is present to check candy before eating.

Keep Costumes Safe
• Decorate costumes and treat bags with reflective tape or stickers. The more colorful the costume, the better they will be seen in the dark.
• Choose face paint and makeup over a mask if possible. Masks can make it hard to see.
• Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights with them.
• Make sure the costume fits properly and that it won’t trip anyone.
• When buying costumes, check the label to make sure they’re flame resistant.
• If making a homemade costume, try to use flame resistant fabrics like nylon or polyester and always follow fire safety rules.

Keep Teens Safe
• Send them with a cell phone or some other way to contact you and make sure they check in throughout the night.
• Ask them about their planned route and tell them to stick to it.
• If they’re headed out to a party, make sure it’s a safe environment with adult supervision.
• Remind kids not to engage in Halloween “pranks.” Toilet papering a house and throwing eggs are both disrespectful and illegal.
• If your teen is driving, remind them to use extra precaution on Halloween night.

Halloween is meant to be fun and filled with thrills. Remember these tips to protect your family and make sure all the little Ghoulies come home safe and with bags brimming with candy. Also, worried about keeping your home safe during this holiday of mischief? My Alarm Center is here to help with professionally monitored alarm systems.

Back to School Child Safety Tips

by Cassie August 9, 2016

School Safety Tips

The school year is starting up. While you are out buying school supplies and new outfits, take the time to teach your children school safety tips as well. Review safety tips for transportation and also emergency contact information. If an emergency does arise, be confident that your child will know what to do because you’ve taught them how to respond. Use these safety tips to ensure your child stays safe this school year.

School Bus Safety: The American Red Cross informs children on how to stay safe while riding the school bus. Security tips include how to wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver instructs them to get on. Your child should ensure that they are always getting on to their designated school bus, no alternatives.
Carpool Safety: If your neighborhood is participating in a carpool, make sure that every driver in the group is following proper safety protocol. All passengers need to be buckled, and anyone who is under 13 years old should travel in the back. Never attempt to overload a car full of children to save a trip. Travel safety tips are available on safecar.gov and provide feedback for parents on how to keep their children safe on the way to and from school.
Walking Safety: Children 10 years old and younger should always be accompanied by an adult on their way to and from school. Teach them the basic traffic laws of a walking pedestrian by abiding by crosswalk rules and walking traffic lights. Inform them to always look both ways before crossing any streets and avoid approaching strangers if possible.
Stranger Danger: Make sure to inform your child of “Stranger Danger.” It is not wise to create panic necessarily, but it is essential to explain to your child that not all people have good intentions and it is possible for bad things to happen when dealing with strangers.
Contact Information: It is important that your child remembers what number to call in case there is an emergency. All children should know their home phone number and address. Try to get them to memorize your personal phone number, and give them a piece of paper to keep in their backpack with all other emergency contacts.
Know School Policy: Determine the policy for your school in case of an emergency. It is also important to know their policies on releasing students early from school and what is needed from visitors. It is important for you to feel that your child is always safe while at school.
After School: Howtolearn.com suggests many tips to teach your children if they are going to be coming home to an empty house after school. It is important that you teach them how to be safe while they are home alone. Show them to lock the front door as soon as they come home, and to keep all other doors locked while you are not home. Your child should also never answer the front door to any strangers while no one else is home. My Alarm Center offers home security systems, that enable parents to receive alerts when children arrive home.

Whether your child is at school, coming to or from school, or home alone after school, make sure they always know what to do in order to stay safe. Role playing is suggested by experts so that you know exactly how your child will respond in an emergency situation and teach them how to handle it properly.

Sources:
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Keep-it-Safe-When-You-Head-Back-to-School
http://www.safercar.gov/parents/OnTheMove/BackToSchool.htm
http://www.howtolearn.com/2013/09/back-to-school-home-security-tips-your-kids-need-to-know/

Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

by Amy June 21, 2016

fourth of july safety

 

 

This Fourth of July, enjoy your family and friends while staying safe! Follow these safety tips in order to have a fun day and protect all of your guests.

Grilling Safety

We all love a classic hot dog or cheeseburger fresh off the grill. Make sure that grilling is done in a safe area and monitored by a responsible adult. Here are other precautions, including tips from the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association.

  • Check gas grill lines for cracks, holes, and leaks
  • Make sure that children are monitored and stay a safe distance away from the grill
  • Never grill indoors, in the garage, an enclosed area, or close to any surface that could catch fire
  • Ensure the grill is at least two feet away from decks, siding, or outdoor equipment
  • Avoid a grease fire by keep the grill clean and avoiding fat buildup
  • Never leave the grill unattended while in use
  • Wear safe clothing, free of loose sleeves, string, etc. that may catch fire

Sparkler and Fireworks Safety

The staple of a Fourth of July celebration is fireworks but firework materials can be dangerous. Take the proper precautions in order to protect everyone present at your holiday event. Here are tips to prevent a firework safety incident, including recommendations from The National Council on Fireworks Safety.

  • Make sure to use fireworks in a safe area that is dry and fire resistant
  • Don’t point sparklers or fireworks at yourself or others
  • Do not allow young children access to handle fireworks and make sure they are always supervised
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or hose available while using fireworks
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
  • Read all caution labels carefully before using any fire materials
  • Obey your local laws for your county
  • Use safety goggles or protective equipment while using fireworks
  • While using sparklers, use them away from other people and make sure a responsible adult is lighting the material
  • Make sure to have a bucket of water to put the sparklers in after they are used

Water Safety

If you plan to spend the Fourth of July at the pool, beach, or lake, make sure you take the time to plan ahead accordingly. These water tips, including recommendations from the American Red Cross, will help keep your family safe!

  • Never consume alcohol while using water vehicles
  • Always double check there are enough life preservers available if needed
  • Ensure the pool is in an enclosed area to restrict who can and cannot enter the pool
  • Make sure a lifeguard is present, or a responsible individual is monitoring water activities
  • Review water safety tips with all of your guests, especially children
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings
  • Keep a first aid kit present near the pool
  • Stay hydrated and keep water available
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water that could be cold in temperature or hazardous

At My Alarm Center, we’re here to help protect your family and wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Outdoor Safety: Keeping Your Kids Safe While Playing Outdoors

by Cassie April 20, 2015

Outdoor Safety By My Alarm Center

 

Did you know that it is National Playground Safety Week? Here is a blog post all about being safe that you can take with you beyond the playground.

As a kid, it’s fun to climb trees, explore the unknown, and create magical worlds.

With what seems like an abundance of energy and endless curiosity, kids love to explore the outdoors – which, unfortunately, also comes with a few injuries along the way. And while kids don’t like to be told what not to do (let’s face it, they’ll do it anyway), here are some tips that can help teach your kids how to be safe (and maybe ease your worries a little too).

Road Safety

Roads can be dangerous for anyone, but especially for children caught up in their own magical world. With just a few rules to follow, children can be safe from the dangers of vehicles, traffic, and roads, and give you peace of mind.

  • Don’t play near the street
  • Never chase after a toy that rolls out onto the street
  • Stay away from moving vehicles
  • Learn basic traffic rules (traffic lights, crosswalks, look both ways, etc.)
  • Wear bright clothing if the yard is near a street

Sports

In the full swing of spring, organized and recreational sports are not only starting up but sports are giving people a reason to go outside and stay active.

  • Wear the appropriate equipment
  • Wear good footwear
  • Warm up before playing a sport
  • Stretch afterwards to avoid post-injury
  • Know the rules of each sport

Environment

While we can’t control the temperature, we can control some aspects of the environment where our children play. From wearing appropriate seasonal clothing to having a clean yard, you can be reassured that your children are playing safe outdoors.

  • Never leave children completely alone
  • Wear the proper attire for the season
  • Clear away debris and dangerous equipment
  • Keep yard groomed to keep away dangerous animals and tripping hazards.

Animals

Other than our pets, there are many kinds of animals and insects that like to explore as much as our children do. And while some may be harmless, we want to make sure our children know the differences in danger between their pet Spike and a wild skunk or snake.

  • Don’t pet an animal that you don’t know
  • Don’t feed any wild animals
  • Leave nests and other animal homes alone
  • Check with an adult before catching an insect and/or bringing it indoors.

Emergency

We hope none of the above hurt our kids, but just to be safe, it’s important to know a few basic emergency numbers and procedures in the event that something would happen.

  • Know basic emergency numbers
  • Older children can learn simple first aid, such as applying pressure, icing an injury, stopping nosebleeds, etc.
  • Have a designated neighbor for kids to check in with if their home is too far.

Kids learn by exploring and asking questions (tons of questions), which is also a great way for them to get a little exercise and a lot of knowledge. By being aware of the dangers and teaching children potential hazards, we can keep our kids safe as they explore the world’s backyard.

 

3 Free Smartphone Apps That Will Help Keep You Safe

by Amy February 8, 2015

mobile-apps

We use our smartphones for everything – from accessing apps that organize our to-do lists to using apps that take and edit photos creating perfect selfies. At almost all times, we are equipped with one of the most powerful devices of our time and it’s hardly ever far from our reach. So, why not take full advantage of this technology and use it to stay safer by adding some very useful apps? Whether you are going for late night run or traveling alone for work, knowing that you have a few apps that will help you out in a potentially dangerous situation can give you the peace of mind you need to feel at ease. These easy-to-use, free apps will help if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation.

1. React Mobile. Using GPS, this app can send silent SOS messages showing your location to pre-selected contacts. It can also send group alerts and allow a family member or friend to virtually walk you home. The home screen of the app shows a React Mobile Shield that, when tapped, activates the service and sends an SOS alert with your GPS coordinates via text, email, Twitter, or Facebook. There is also a popup to call 911 if needed, and the only way to disable is by using a cancel-alert code. This app also has a feature called Follow Me, which allows permitted family and friends to follow you via GPS in real-time. To set it up, you can choose an amount of time that it will track you, and then hit the, I’m Safe button when you arrived safely so your friends and family know you are safe and sound.

2. Kitestring. While Kitestring doesn’t use GPS to track your location, it works in the opposite way and is activated by  inaction rather than action, eliminating the need to open an app or press a button. Kitestring is a web-based service that focuses on helping you safely travel from point A to point B. The app periodically checks-in and if you don’t respond, the app will alert the pre-selected contacts. You can also set a duress code, which immediately alerts all your selected contacts if you find yourself in an emergency situation. And because Kitestring uses basic text messaging, it can be used with any phone.

3. Canopy. This safety app lets you map a route, virtually check in to locations, and easily locate nearby emergency services. Canopy allows you to add people to your circle, updating them about a meeting or letting them see your exact location. This function can be helpful during a night out with friends or a weekend business trip filled with meetings. You can invite anyone you trust to your circle, and ignore any invites from those with whom you’d rather not share your whereabouts. In the case of an emergency, the app also has a 911 call button and an emergency alarm feature.

Keep in mind, you should always be aware of your surroundings and there is no substitute for dialing 911 in an emergency. However, it may be handy to have a few of these free apps accessible and at the tips of your fingers during a time of trouble.

And although we hope you never have to use these apps, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep yourself safe and give your loved ones a peace of mind by using any of these apps.

Tips for Halloween Candy Safety

by Derek October 23, 2014

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Millions of kids across America will celebrate Halloween this year. Some people even use smart home devices in their Halloween decorations. And whether your child is a ghost or a princess, Halloween candy and food safety is a prime concern for most parents.

With that thought in mind, My Alarm Center is pleased to offer these tips to keep your children safe during this trick-or-treat season:

  • Feed your child before allowing them to trick-or-treat. A full belly helps to keep them from snacking while trick-or-treating.
  • Teach your child to NEVER eat anything they receive until they get home and you have inspected it.
  • Try to be with your child while they trick-or-treat. This is your best way to ensure their safety and to make sure they don’t eat anything until they are home and you’ve inspected it.
  • Examine your kid’s goodies under a bright light as soon as they get home. Do it right away…the longer you wait the more likely your children will eat it without it being inspected.
  • Throw away anything that does not look right. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • It’s best to throw away candy in twist wrappers, as candy can be easily tampered with and re-wrapped. Keep an eye out for Tootsie Rolls, hard candies and bubble gums.
  • Dispose of home-made goods given to you by strangers. This includes cookies, candy apples, popcorn balls and any home-made items. The risk is too great to take the chance.
  • Keep chocolate, nuts and raisins away from your dogs. It is toxic to them and could kill them.
  • You may want to have your kid’s Halloween treats X-Rayed at a local hospital or medical center. Many medical facilities offer this service for free during Halloween. Check your local newspaper or local community oriented website.
  • Don’t allow children to eat anything that may be a choking hazard.

Halloween is meant to be a fun time for everyone. We’ve written before about home Halloween safety and offer thess tips about Halloween candy to protect your little ones.

Have a great Halloween!

20 School Bus Safety Tips for Parents and Children from My Alarm Center

by Amy September 10, 2014

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It’s back to school time in communities across America. That means more than 23 million children taking a bus to school.

The school bus transportation system is one of the largest in the country.  However, more than 17,000 school kids end up in emergency rooms getting emergency services each year due to school bus related accidents.

That’s why My Alarm Center Home Security offers these tips for parents and kids to reduce the likelihood of school bus accidents or accidents at the school bus stop:

1. Walk with your child to the bus stop. Wait with them until the bus arrives. Walk with your children until you feel they respond well in most situations.

2. Allow plenty of time to get to the bus stop. Avoid having to rush, as rushing can lead to injuries.

3. Don’t let kids listen to iPods or play handheld video games while walking to school or at the bus stop.  These items lead to distractions which could result in injury.

4. Children should never speak to strangers at the bus stop and should never enter the car of a stranger.  Children should head straight home if a stranger bothers them or tries to pick them up.

5. As the bus approaches, children should stand 3 giant steps away from the curb and wait to approach the bus until after it has come to a complete stop.

6. Make sure your kids use handrails when boarding and exiting the bus.

7. If kids drop things when boarding or exiting the bus, teach them to tell the bus driver first before attempting to retrieve the item. The goal is for the bus driver to see them and be aware of their activities before driving the bus.

8. Teach your children to go directly to a seat when boarding a bus and to sit facing forward for the entire ride. Remind them they must fasten seat belts if they are available.

9. Review all of the rules of the school district and bus driver to make sure your child understands them and complies with them.

10. Instruct your kids to keep the aisles clear at all times and not to play with the emergency exits.

11. Kids should talk quietly rather than yelling and screaming so the bus driver is not distracted.

12. Emphasize to your children to never throw things on the bus or out the windows.

13. Have the kids always stay seated when the bus is moving and make sure that they know to not put their head, feet, arms or hands out of the window.

14. Train your kids to always follow the instructions of the bus driver.

15. Children should never attempt to exit the bus until it comes to a complete stop.

16. If meeting your children at the bus stop after school, wait on the same side of the street where the child will be dropped off so they won’t have to cross the street alone.

17. Make sure your children know to never walk behind a bus (the driver may not see them).

18. If your children need to cross the street after leaving the bus, teach them to take 6 big steps in front of the bus, and then to make eye contact with the bus driver. Instruct them to cross when they know it is safe to do so.

19. Teach your kids to look both ways before crossing the street.

20 Have your children come straight home once they get off the bus so an adult knows they are safe and sound.

Keeping school kids safe on buses and at bus stops is important for all of us. If you have a safety tip we haven’t shared in this post, please leave it in the comments section below.

Easy Ways to Use Your Home Security Alarm System to Watch Your Kids

by Cassie August 19, 2014

 8.19

What do your kids do when you aren’t home?

That’s a question many parents have asked themselves. Do they come home on time? Are they safe? Are they doing things they shouldn’t be doing?

That’s the challenge – you have no way of knowing what kids are doing unless you are monitoring them with your home security cameras!

Using Home Security Monitoring to Monitor Your Kids

Most home security systems are equipped with monitoring service features that allow you to monitor and even view your kid’s behaviors.

Your home security alarm system can be used to alert you if your kids don’t get home on time. It can even provide you with a daily record of what time your kids got home!

Kid security camera systems are another great way to help you monitor your kids.

Kid Security Cameras

Using home security cameras in conjunction with your home security alarm system offers you many advantages. A prime one is the ability to view what’s happening with your kids from any web enabled device like smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Indoor security camera systems are great for viewing large rooms and hallways. Most work well in the dark. Pan and tilt cameras allow you to maneuver them for better viewing and greater viewing ranges. Outdoor security cameras withstand the weather and are great for viewing what’s happening in the backyard, front yard, by the garage and by the pool.

Most kid security camera systems allow you to view what’s happening in real time in your home. Many will even alert you when motion is detected within a protected area, and most will send you video clips so you can see what’s going on in your home.

A simple free mobile app makes viewing easy from your smartphone, tablet, or other smart home devices.

Kid Proof

Although you may enjoy the benefits of home security monitoring and monitoring your kid’s behaviors, your child may not feel that way.

That’s why most home security and kid security camera systems are tamper resistant. And should your child disable the system, your alarm company can be notified so corrective actions can be taken.

With many parents working and kids being left unattended at home, using your home security monitoring system to monitor the behavior and safety of children makes lots of sense. Contact My Alarm Center for more information.

10 Summer Safety Tips for Kids

by Tammy July 24, 2014

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School is out and that means so are children.

Summertime is outdoor playtime for most kids. And to make sure outdoor playtime is safe time for your children, we recommend you to take these summer safety tips for kids:

  1. Let your kids know where they can play | Define the safe play areas for your kids. Make sure they understand not to play in the streets. For younger kids, restrict their play areas to your yard, and expand their safe play areas with age.
  1. Examine play areas | Make sure kids avoid dangerous areas filled with debris, litter, broken concrete and storage. Examine play areas to make sure there is no broken glass on the ground, slippery surfaces, ant hills, wasp nests or other hazards in the area.
  1. Teach them to avoid strangers | Your children should not speak with strangers or go anywhere with them. Teach them to run away and go inside when approached by strangers.
  1. Use the buddy system | Teach kids to always stay with a friend. This applies to when they are playing outside or swimming. Remind kids to stay with their friends or their group.
  1. Keep them well hydrated | Kids expend lots of energy and lose lots of fluids when playing during the summer. Make sure your kids keep bottled water handy and that they take sips of water throughout the day.
  1. Inspect playground apparatus | Make sure outdoor play sets are in good order and repair. Tighten bolts, screws and nuts. Check for rust and remove it. Make sure there is no cracked or splintered wood.
  1. Use helmets | Biking, skateboarding, roller skating or even riding on a scooter are all fun things kids should wear helmets while doing. The helmet should fit well and be free of cracks and defects.
  1. Lock the pool | Pools should have fencing around it with locked gates. Keep access to the pool out of reach of your children. Even teenagers should have adult supervision while swimming. With an alarm system from My Alarm Center you can set up motion sensor alarms to warn you should anyone try to access the pool.
  1. Sunscreen | Protect your kids against prolonged exposure to the sun. Use your doctor-approved sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 or higher.
  2. Use insect repellent | Some states have mosquitoes bigger than birds. Outdoor activity in some areas makes insect repellant a necessity. Always check kids for ticks when they’ve been playing in wooded areas. Phoenix cardiologist Dr.Jack Wolfson published a great list of natural remedies for bug bites. Find it here.

What are your favorite safety practices for your children? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Home Security Solutions Make It A Happy (And Safe) Halloween

by Amy October 15, 2013

 

The days are getting shorter, the air is becoming cooler, and brilliantly colored leaves are falling from the trees. Halloween is almost here. The kids’ excitement is growing with each day closer to the costumed, freakishly fun holiday. Before you get too busy buying the candy, figuring out your kids’ costumes or even what you want to dress up as, read on for some helpful tips to keep everyone safe at Halloween.

Get Scary Safe at Home

Although Halloween is intended to be a ghostly good time for children (and grownups, too), it’s important to remember that it also can be an ideal time for burglars and vandals because of preoccupied and distracted homeowners, and can pose an increased risk for injuries.

• As an answer, keep your home well lit inside and out. Adequate lighting will not only deter burglars but also help prevent falls by trick-or-treaters. Consider motion sensor lights or spotlights that can be controlled on a custom schedule through home automation services.

• Clear any debris from sidewalks and your yard to ensure a clear path for little ghosts and goblins.

• And because the occurrence of fire increases around Halloween, the U.S. Fire Administration advises against using candles as decorations. If you use jack-o-lanterns to light your pathway, make sure to use a battery-powered light that’s tested for safety by a laboratory in your pumpkin to avoid a fire.

• Don’t forget to lock all windows and doors even if you’re the one doling out the candy. If you’re not going to be home, let your neighbors know and make sure your alarm system is set.

• If you have an alarm system, use it even if you’re home. Think about spot lighting the alarm signage for extra security.

• Remember that when you’re out trick-or-treating with the kids, you can check on your home via your smartphone with MyHome home automation services.

• Find out what time your community ends Halloween festivities, and be sure not to open the door to strangers after the curfew.

• Report any suspicious activity to your local police or sheriff’s department.

• Keep your pets confined on Halloween night for their safety and the safety of others. Many pets are scared by people in costume, so it’s best to keep Fido and Fluffy in the house, away from others.

Frightening Street Smarts

Of course, you also want to keep your family safe while hunting the neighborhood for candy. So it’s best to remind children before they head out to stay with a group, says the National Crime Prevention Council. If they’re younger, they should stay with a parent. If they’re older, they should stay with their group of friends and not branch off.

• Be sure to have a plan in place in case someone gets separated.

• Set a time limit for kids to be out trick or treating and map out a safe route with them.

• Ensure the kids understand to stay in well-lit areas and not enter the homes or cars of strangers.

• Attach reflective tape to costumes and bags to help others easily see the trick-or-treaters.

• Make sure they have flashlights that work before they conquer the streets.

While Mischief Night is a night known for pranks and tricks—where toilet paper, shaving cream and eggs on homes and property can often come into play—and may sound funny to kids, be sure to remind them not to engage in those activities as they’re considered vandalism.

Keeping all these tips in mind will no doubt bring a safe night of fun and loads of smiles along with overflowing bags of candy.

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