Taking the Keys Away

At some point in time you will feel the concern or even the fear that your parents or elderly friends should no longer drive a vehicle. For anyone, this can be a very difficult and emotional experience. Knowing when its the right time to take away the keys requires important deliberations, considerations and possible actions that you the caregiver will have to face.

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The first thing you should know is that a person’s age is not and shouldn’t be the reason for taking away their car keys. There are people in their 80s and 90s who have their licenses and drive actively and safely, while there are others in their 50s and 60s who are dangers to themselves and others when behind the wheel. The physical and mental conditions and the persons abilities are the first factors you need to consider. Driving takes dexterity and strength in both arms and legs/feet to be able to control the vehicle at all times. If your physical ability is off then the whole driving performance will be off too, which can cause an accident.

The second thing you need to consider is if the driver is on any medications or if they have any diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is very common and the driver can become disoriented almost anywhere and severe diabetics may fall into a coma at anytime. Along with these diseases, prescription medications can produce specific changes or functions within the body. Some reactions may be drowsiness and possibly slowing down person’s reaction time, which may effect a person’s ability to drive.

If you aren’t sure how to determine if its time to take away your parents keys, do a ride along with them. Taking a ride with your parent is the best way to observe his or her physical abilities in controlling the vehicle, staying within the lane, how they handle turns, the driving speed, and for any possible confusions in traffic. Make sure that your observations are done without nagging them on or causing a distraction for them. Lastly, be sure that when you finally decide that its time, that you are respectful and understanding when speaking with the driver. This can always be an emotional time for them, so being honest and providing them comfort will help make this experience a lot less stressful.

 

Back to School Safety

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

With #backtoschool in full swing, many of us have noticed the inevitable; more cars and more congestion.  Back to school means sharing the roads and slowing down. There are school buses picking up kids from multiple stops, kids on bikes are rushing to get to school on time, and parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

If you are someone who is dropping off your kids to school, make sure that the area is clear before letting them get out of the car. More children are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. Before dropping off your kids be sure you are not double parked. This blocks visibility for other vehicles passing by. Do not drop off your kids across the street from their school, even though it may be more convenient for you. Carpooling is also a great way to reduce the number of vehicles around the school, which decreases the chances of a child getting hit.  Don’t block crosswalks- especially when you are stopped at a red light. Be sure to give the pedestrians the right away, whether they are walking or riding a bike. When you are in school zone and flashers are blinking, be sure to come to a complete stop and watch for children. Lastly, do your best to watch out for your children in school zones, playgrounds and residential areas, as well as the other children around them.

During school hours, there will be more and more school buses on the roads. If you are ever driving behind a school bus, you should always allow a greater following distance than you would driving behind a car. This then allows you to have more time to stop once the bus puts on it’s yellow flashing lights. Never pass a school bus if you are stopped behind them while they are picking up children. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Passing a school bus from either direction on an undivided road, can potentially put children who are loading or unloading in danger if they are unaware that you are coming.

We are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make #backtoschool a safe return!

 

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.

Pokemon GO ~ Safety Tips!

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Have you recently noticed gaggles of people walking in groups with their attention focused on the phones in their hand? They seem to be looking for something, find it, and then continue on their way – all without once looking up from their phones? Well, we have answers for you. It’s called
Pokemon GO and although it’s fun to play, it’s a pedestrian safety hazard!

Pokemon GO is an interactive game where users capture Pokemon characters in real-time and actual locations.  If you are like me (40+ years old) this makes absolutely no sense, right?  But bear with me.  The game encourages users to walk around their neighborhoods.  With eyes glued to their handheld device, the screen converts to a camera screen and just feet ahead of them lies a Pokemon character waiting for capture.  The farther and longer they walk, the more characters they can capture.  And the more characters they capture, the more points and levels they earn.

So what’s the harm in this game?  People of all ages are walking more and spending more times in their community. Seems like a terrific idea, right?   After walking close to 12,000K steps following my children around our neighborhood this weekend, the safety issues are plentiful.

Sure ,it was wonderful that my children wanted to walk around town with me, but by the end of our adventure, I was ready to put them on leashes.   They were walking into other pedestrians (some of whom were also playing this game), walking too closely to curbs and nicely manicured bushes and plants, and even walking into crosswalks!  I spent the better part of the walk yelling commands.    It was an “eye”opening experience (pun totally intended)!

(null)As a parent and a from a safety standpoint, I share with you these 3 tips to make your Pokemon GO experience safe.

  1. Although the app suggests its users be 10 years old,  if your children are under the age of 15, I recommend the app be downloaded to YOUR phone. That way, you can join them on their adventure.
  2. Designate one person to hold the phone and the others to navigate the path so as to avoid walking into others, crossing streets without looking and tripping over uneven sidewalks.
  3. Since the app’s release, some users have been lured to secluded places and robbed. Be sure to review the safety features on your profile.  Many features can make the user vulnerable to others finding them since the app is also multiplayer.

The game was just released on July 6, 2016.  Be prepared to see, hear, and learn more about Pokemon GO.  Most importantly, play the game safely and never play the game alone.