Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is here! Along with all the costumes, preparation, and candy, we need to keep safety on our top list of priorities.  During this time of year, parents need to go over safety rules with their children before trick-or-treating begins and drivers need to be more aware than ever.

Here are some safety precautions for children, parents, and driver to follow to make this year’s Halloween a successful one.

  1. Always walk on sidewalks or paths and cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and the designated crosswalks. Look both ways when crossing and make sure your electronic devices are away so they do not take your eyes off of the road.
  2. Teach children to watch for cars that are turning or backing up, and to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  3. Younger children should not be alone at night without adult supervision. Create a parent group to go out trick-or-treating so you become a part of all the fun.
  4. Drivers need to slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.
  5. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways, so as a driver it’s your responsibility to see them. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs.

Halloween is an exciting time of year for everyone. Together, we are all responsible- as pedestrians and drivers to make this year’s Halloween a safe and successful one.

Car Seat Inspection Week

Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children during a car crash, yet these crashes are a leading cause of death for children all over the world. This is mainly due to the improper placement of car seats and the use of the wrong size. Many parents and guardians have a lack of understanding of what car seat is right for their child.

Follow these important safety steps to choose the right seat, install it correctly, and keep your child safe at all times.

  1. Rear-Facing Car Seat: These are designed for newborns, babies, and young infants. They have a harness and, in a crash, cradles, and moves with your child to reduce the stress on their body.
  2. Forward-Facing Car Seat: Come with a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement during a crash. As a child grows, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster.
  3. Booster Seat: Boosts the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly and provides neck and head support. This is ideal for vehicles that don’t have headrests or high seat backs.
  4. All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and to a booster seat as your child grows. Since it is used with children of various sizes, it allows children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  5. Seat Belt: Once your child outgrows car seats altogether, seat belts become their protector. The seat belt should lie across the upper thighs, be snug across the shoulder and chest of your child. This way it will properly restrain your child safe during a crash.

Remember, it is the driver’s responsibility to take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers in their car- especially when it comes to children. This week, you will have the opportunity to examine your child’s car seat during National Car Seat Inspection Week. It is very important to choose and use the right car seat for your child because after all, they cannot make the decision for themselves.

Shared Safety Tips for the School Year

With back-to-school mode in full swing, you may have noticed more traffic congestion.  And along with traffic congestion, we are sharing the roads with school buses, bicyclists, and parents rushing to drop their kids off at school. Sharing the road and following these simple safety precautions will ensure a safe school year:

  1. Look before you go. More kids are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School Program. Both the parent and student should look for cars, making sure that the area near the school is clear before getting out of the car.
  2. Give the right away. For drivers passing by, make sure you give the pedestrians the right away when crossing the street, whether they are walking or biking. Always come to a complete stop and watch for kids when you are approaching a school zone with flashing pedestrian signs. This means kids are in the area and it’s your job as a driver to be aware.
  3. Be smart. Kids that walk, ride their bikes or take the school bus need to ensure their safety. Those crossing the street, always use a crosswalk and look both ways to see if cars/buses are approaching. Those taking the bus, make sure you are standing away from the curb when a bus is pulling up or driving away, that way you don’t get hit.

Together, we are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make this year’s back to school a safe return for everyone!

August is National Family Fun Month

August is National Family Fun Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to seize the remainder of summer by spending time with family. Here are some cool activities to help you and your family finish out the summer!

Take a family bike ride. Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition. Following our A B C Bicycle Safety Checklist is a great way to make sure your bikes are ready to ride.

Going on a last minute family beach trip is not only exciting, but it is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and make sure you apply sunscreen to keep your skin protected from the suns UV rays.

Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family. Walking in the park, on the beach, or around your neighborhood is a great way to stay active together. Remember that cars do not always see pedestrians walking, so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street and always be aware of your surroundings.

After a long day at work, the thought of going out can be exhausting. To avoid this, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready, and enjoy the night together.

The month of August doesn’t have to mean back to school shopping and the thought of summer ending. Instead, spending time with your family is a great way to make the most of summer’s last days.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

Is Your Child in the Right Seat?

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a motor vehicle crash, making them the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. After hearing that statistic, you’d certainly take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers in your car.  On Saturday, September 23rd,  you’ll have that opportunity during National Car Seat Check Saturday.

These deaths and injuries can always be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.  Here is what you need to know to help you and  your passengers stay safe on the road at all times.

All children ages 12 and under should ride properly buckled up in the back seat of all motor vehicles at all times. Children should stay in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, both for children and adults the lap belt must lie across the thighs, never the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, and never across the neck or face. Once children have reached the proper height and weight to use a seat belt, remember that for the best protection they should remain in the back seat until age 12.

For all children 2 and under, they should always ride in a rear-facing car seat that is placed in the back seat of the vehicle. A rear-facing car seat should never be  in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat, if they are not the proper height, weight and age. Keeping a child in a rear-facing car seat is best until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed for that particular car seat. Once they outgrow a rear-facing car seat, your child is now ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. Roughly around ages 4-7, the child will outgrow the forward-facing car seat, and move to a booster seat, which is still placed in the back seat of the vehicle.

Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat?

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps
Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Every 33 seconds, one child under the age of 13 is involved in a motor vehicle crash.  Deaths and injuries can always be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.  Here is what you need to know to help your family stay safe.

All children ages 12 and under should ride properly buckled up in the back seat of all motor vehicles.

All children 2 and under should always ride in a rear-facing car seat that is placed in the back seat of the vehicle.   Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat, if they are not the proper height, weight and age.

Keep children in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. It’s the best to remain rear- facing until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed for that particular car seat. Once outgrowing a rear-facing car seat, your child is now ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

Keep children in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they have reached the maximum height or weight limit. Roughly around ages 4-7, children outgrow the forward-facing car seat, and move to a booster seat, which is still placed in the back seat.

Children should stay in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie across the child’s thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, never across the neck or face. Once children have reached the proper height and weight to use a seat belt, remember that for the best protection they should remain in the back seat until age 12.

Make the Most of Family Fun Month!

Now that it’s August, summer may feel like it’s over. Back to school shopping has already begun and vacations are coming to an end. However, that doesn’t mean that the summer fun has to stop!

August is National Family Fun Month, which means that it’s a great opportunity to seize the remainder of summer by spending time with family. If you are about family togetherness, here are some cool activities to help you and your family finish out the summer.

IMG_2188Day trips are a great way to spend time with the family. If you checked the weather forecast and it’s going to be hot/sunny, then plan a trip to the beach. Enjoy the fresh air and the cool water. If the water isn’t your families thing, then a trip to the zoo is something that is both lively and educational. A competitive game of miniature golf can be fun or even a trip to an amusement park can make for much laughter and fun.  But before you take any of these trips, make sure to download the #njtrafficapp. This FREE app allows you to see the road conditions across NJ and helps you plan accordingly.

Jump on your bicycles and take a family bike ride.  Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition.  Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and discover new ways to appreciate your neighborhood.  If you are more adventurous, visit NJ Family Biking for a complete list of trails to ride.

Have Pokemon fans in your house?  Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family.  Most public places provide ample Pokemon balls and critters are everywhere to be found.  Just be sure to review pedestrian safety tips before you head out.

And when the day is coming to close, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready and relax with the kids!

Spending time with family is a great way to make memories that will last with you for the rest of your life. Make sure to take part in August Family Fun Month. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

Bike Safety Tips for Kids

Bike riding can be a lot of fun, especially for kids. It’s a way for them to get out of the house and enjoy themselves in the fresh air. However, bike accidents do occur. They can happen pretty often if the child is not paying attention to their surroundings. Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency room because of bike injuries. A majority of the time it’s because they weren’t looking where they were going.

Picture Sources:  http://www.capjournal.com/people/health/riding-for-fun-riding-for-health/article_c11adcaa-690b-5b42-8e26-9fc324360473.html?mode=image&photo=0
Picture Source: http://www.capjournal.com/people/health/riding-for-fun-riding-for-health/article_c11adcaa-690b-5b42-8e26-9fc324360473.html?mode=image&photo=0

In order to fix this problem and for your child to stay safe while riding, here are some bike safety tips for them to follow:

Always wear a helmet. They may not seem like the coolest and most popular item out there, but they can save your life. A bike helmet can be annoying if not fitted properly. Make sure you size the helmet to fit your head. You do not want it too big or too small. Along with the helmet, always wear sneakers. Open toed shoes and sandals can fall off your feet or get stuck in the bike pedal while riding.

If it’s a hot day outside make sure to bring a bottle of water, sunglasses, and use sunscreen. It’s very important to stay hydrated when doing a physical activity- like bike riding. If the sun seems to be out then you should apply some sunscreen to areas of your body where the sun will be hitting them. It’s not worth getting really bad sunburn, even if you are going for a short ride.

Lastly, do not use your phone while riding your bike. Text messages , emails, calls, and the new game “Pokémon GO” can all wait.  Although it seems like fun to use the app while riding, it is a huge distraction. Not looking where you are going can cause an accident and even lead to injuries. Always make sure you come to a complete stop when playing or checking your phone. That way you are aware of your surroundings and are able to get to your destination safely.

Halloween Pedestrian and Driver Safety Tips

halloween safety tips The ghosts, monsters and other creatures walking the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t the most frightful thing about Halloween. Here’s a scary fact: Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children walking on roadways across the country.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween. That makes following safe pedestrian and driver practices all the more important as children set out to trick or treat this year.

The Street Smart NJ campaign wants to make sure that costumes are the only thing causing a scare this year. Be sure to follow these tips to make your Halloween happy and safe.

For Pedestrians

• Make sure costumes don’t impair your child’s ability to walk or see. KidsHealth.org warns against wearing masks that can limit visibility.

• Before crossing look left, right, and then left again.

• Use sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Be visible. The Safe Kids Worldwide campaign suggests adding reflective tape to costumes or having children carry a light or glow stick. A survey by the group found that only 18 percent of parents have their children use safety lighting on Halloween.

• Cross at corners and intersections and use marked crosswalks when possible.

For Drivers

• Obey the speed limit. AAA suggests driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Halloween.

• Stop for pedestrians. New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in cross-walks. Violations of the law carry a $200 fine and two points on your license.

• Don’t drive distracted. New Jersey prohibits talking and texting while driving. Fines range from $200 for first-time offenders to as much as $800 for repeat offenders.

• Drive sober. On Halloween Night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

Want more suggestions on how to stay safe? Check out our Street Smart Safety Tips page.

This post was written and created by Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Campaign in conjunction with NJTPA.

 

The Winter Doldrums

kmm.orgDon’t let winter weigh you down.  Lift your family’s spirits with a brisk walk.  A walk around the corner, to a friend’s house, to the park, to the skating rink or sledding hill, or even to school in the sunshine and fresh cold air can put everyone in a better mood. Sound impossible? Here are some winter walking tips to put the spring in your step.

  • Be role model! If winter walking is normal to you, it’ll be normal to your children.
  • Being warm is not just about clothing.  Start out with a good breakfast and drink fluids to stay well-hydrated.
  • Dress appropriately. Bundle up in coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, of course. But also consider warm, waterproof boots (snow boots) and snow pants for snowy or very cold days.  Dress in layers.
  • Walking is more fun with friends! Recruit friends and neighbors to join you.
  •  Short winter days means dusk comes earlier.  Be visible.  Consider carrying a flashlight or clipping reflective tags to coats and backpacks.

Spring will be here before you know it, and April is New Jersey Walk and Bike to School Month. Now is a great time to bring in KMM for a school Walking Safety Assembly and to start planning a Spring Walk to School Day. Contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator Peter Bilton at (732) 745-3996 to find out more.