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.

New Brunswick Ciclovia Did it Again!

Our super nurse volunteers (courtesy Diana Starace, Safe Kids  Middlesex County)
Our super nurse volunteers                                                       (courtesy Diana Starace, Safe Kids Middlesex County)

KMM and Safe Kids Middlesex County (based at the Level 1 Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital) teamed up again to distribute free bicycle helmets and challenge kid’s bike safety skills at New Brunswick Ciclovia.

The third city-wide open streets event of this year took place on Sunday, October 12th. Four volunteers from the nursing program at New Jersey City University helped us fit helmets on heads, explain the importance of helmet use to kids and parents, and guide children through a short skill course.

Riding the course (courtesy Veronica Torres)
Riding the course (courtesy Veronica Torres)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all the families that came out on this beautiful day!

Check Twice – July 31 is National Heatstroke Prevention Day

Tomorrow, July 31, is National Heatstroke Prevention Day and we at KMM would like to share with you some safety tips everyone can use.  Let’s prevent this ver terrible tragedy from occurring.   wheresbaby_4c_horz

When outside temperatures are in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches. Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.

KMM, along with NHTSA, Safe Kids and its safety partners, are urging parents and caregivers to take the following precautions to prevent heat stroke incidents from occurring:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and,
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.

 

Information source: NHTSA website

New York City by Four

1497648_688135747892945_821497177_nThe Big Apple during the Holiday Season is truly magical – especially through the eyes of  a child experiencing it for the very first time.

Recently, I took a day off from keeping Middlesex moving (no worries, Middlesex kept moving because of our terrific staff) and I practiced what I preached.

Together with my husband and two absolutely delighted children, we drove to our local train station.  And because we were commuting with children, we raced to grab the NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor train bound for the Big Apple just in the nick of time.

The train ride into NYC was filled with late morning commuters who I swore, cracked a smile when they noticed my gleeful children asking the train agent if she had hot chocolate to share , “You know, like on the Polar Express!”

Soon we pulled into New York Penn Station and we tightly gripped the children’s hands and headed up to the busy Manhattan streets, that under the gray skies truly looked like they were paved with glitter.

On foot, we navigated the Avenues pointing out landmarks the children had either seen on tv or read about – until we reached our destination –  Rockefeller Center.

Despite the complaints about the long, fast paced walk, the pay-off was priceless.

After completing the obligatory holiday stops: the Christmas Spectacular, visiting the Lego, American Girl and FAO Schwartz stores and a quick prayer in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we piled into a bona fide yellow NYC cab at rush hour to meet with friends for dinner in Tribeca.  “No seatbelts!?!??!” cried the kids in glee.

Dinner was splendid and filled with much laughter and smiles despite the trip being almost over.  But the trip would not be complete without a ride down under – that is, the subway.  So as the night came to close, we hoped on the 2 express and grabbed the only available seat and huddled together as we swayed along the bumps and jerks of the New York Subway.

As we waited for the NJ TRANSIT train home in the nicely decorated waiting area, the children were still smiling ear to ear.

“Thank you Mommy and Daddy. I wish we could do this every year!”

We saw New York City by four with four and created memories that I hope, they will enjoy for a long time!