Tag Archives: parents

Three More Ways to Keep Older Adults Safely Living on Their Own

They say America is aging and statistics show that to be true. By 2050, the number of Americans over 65 years of age will reach 88.5 million. That’s twice the number in 2010, meaning in just 40 years, our country’s older population will double.

As our population ages, we are most of us likely to fall into one of two categories: the “older adults” who want to stay independent, and the children of those older adults who are trying to support their parents in their independence.

We’ve written about keeping seniors safely living on their own before, in our blog post called Keeping Seniors Safe: 6 Tips to Keep Your Parents Independent Longer. In that post, we talked about ways to make sure the kitchen and bathroom are safe, coaching our elderly relatives on safe social media usage, ensuring the lighting is good, and installing a home security system.

We’ve also written about how a home automation system can help senior citizens to stay in their homes.

In this post, we build on that previous advice to add three more nuggets that have come to our attention with additional research into keeping seniors safe when living alone.

Prevent falls when you put things within easy reach
I’m not yet an older adult, but I still make my husband cringe when I stand on a chair or jump up in the air to reach a bowl on a top shelf. In his mind, his accident-prone wife is only asking for an injury, and he’s right. For our older parents and relatives, it’s imperative that they can reach what they need to decrease the chance of a fall. I’m not suggesting your 77-year-old mother will climb on a chair, but you never know. Mine would! (Maybe that’s where I get it?) Those things they are likely to need should be easy to reach, neither too high nor too low.

Have groceries delivered to cut down on driving
Driving is one act of independence older adults really struggle to give up, it seems. And perhaps they still drive just fine, but their reaction times have slowed and the drivers around them don’t know it, putting everyone at risk. Statistics show older drivers tend to be in more accidents. If you can have groceries delivered, you can cut down on the driving—plus the chances of a fall in a grocery store or parking lot. (If you need guidance in talking to an older relative about driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association offers excellent advice.)

Make sure they are getting social interaction while staying safe online
Speaking of driving, once seniors either drive less or stop driving, their degree of social interaction can decrease significantly, leading to loneliness and depression. Some older adults will turn to social media for interaction. If that’s the case, make sure you go over safety guidelines with them. Talk to them about passwords, identity theft and safe social media usage. Then be sure they are getting real-life interaction as well, through activities and family time. Yes, you’re busy. But this is part of keeping older relatives safe, because seniors living in isolation have a higher mortality rate.

With the population of Americans over age 65 doubling in just 40 years, chances are we will either be in that group or taking care of that group. Knowing ahead of time how to help ourselves or others to stay safe later in life while still enjoying our independence can be a huge help in preventing accidents and their long-term consequences—that make independence

Making Your Home Safe for Kids

Maybe you’re expecting an addition to your family sometime soon. That’s great, and congratulations! Or maybe you’re expecting family members to come stay for the weekend, and you need to make some quick adjustments to make the home suitable for the kids. There are a few things you’ll want to consider before both of these scenarios arise. But where do you start? Here are some things that we recommend:

A new addition

First and foremost, make sure your baby is never unattended. Take turns with your partner keeping an eye on your new bundle of joy and make sure that the baby is comfortable. Also, keep things out of baby’s reach to prevent choking. This becomes imperative as babies get older and learn how to crawl. Keep floors and surfaces clean of debris and small, chewable objects.

Second, you’ll want to consider investing in a security system. There are a lot of home security companies out there that offer a slew of different packages and pricing options, but above all, make sure you pick one with a high level of customer satisfaction. As of right now, SafeStreets USA has an impressive 7.6/10 rating according to Best Company and nearly 150 customer reviews. Contracts start at 36 months with lower monthly fees than more well-known industry competitors.

For a full guide to how home security systems work, click here.

Occasional visitors

Toddlers and small children are much more mobile than your new baby, so this is where things get complicated. There are a handful of particular things you need to protect children from, including the following:

  • Drowning
  • Electrical
  • Poisoning
  • Guns
  • Fires

Drowning isn’t much of a threat unless you have a swimming pool. If you do, you should know to keep it covered during winter months and drained if you’re not using it. If you have kids at the pool, always make sure that they’re supervised and equipped with age-appropriate flotation devices.

With electrical concerns, make sure that the wiring in your house has been done correctly. It’s not a bad idea to bring in an electrician if you’ve moved into a new place and you find that some of the light switches aren’t working correctly. Keep wall outlets covered with a plastic plug if they’re not already in use. Make sure electrical items in the kitchen and bathroom are kept out of reach.

So many things can classify as poison, from mouthwash to cleaning products. Common items that can be considered poisonous include medicine, cleaning products, mouthwash, toothpaste, or alcohol. Take them out of easily-accessible cabinets and put them in a place that will be hard to find and out of reach. If you find that a child has ingested dangerous substances, contact the National Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Keep guns out of the reach of children at all times. If you insist on owning a gun, keep it hidden away in a closet or in a locked drawer or safe. Instruct kids not to touch a gun if one is found, but instead to report it to an adult.

Fires can be easily made inside or outside depending on what’s available to kids. When cooking, keep pan handles pointed toward the back of the stove so kids can’t reach up and grab them. Keep kids away from the range when items are baking. Keep matches and lighters in a safe place that isn’t easily accessed.

 

Don’t Trust an Old Sack for the Perfect Gift: Questions to Ask Before Buying That Toy

Gift giving season is upon us, and for little ones, that means toys. Sure, teens and adults are happy with gift cards or cash, but children are rarely thrilled by something so abstract, preferring the immediate satisfaction of a toy they can play with right away. Even if you don’t have children to shop for, with so many children in need, many of us buy and donate to a toy drive. So it seems most of us are probably toy shopping at some point this time of year!

And that can be stressful. Walking down the toy aisles at your local supercenter may seem a bit overwhelming with all the options, and with all the new technology, toys are far more complex than they were 20 years ago. When confronted by all this variety, safety may be at the back of your mind, but it shouldn’t be.

John Hopkins Medicine released statistics showing that over 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms every year for toy-related injuries, and 3% of those require hospital care. Although the majority of incidents involve riding toys such as tricycles or scooters, other injuries can be caused by choking, drowning or suffocation. Choking in particular is a risk for children under three years of age, as young ones are more likely to put small pieces in their mouth and their airways are smaller.

Yes, these are scary statistics, putting a damper on that toy shopping, right? But the toys you pick out this year don’t have to be a part of these statistics or put anyone in the hospital. Check out the simple questions below to keep in mind during your stroll through the dolls and dinosaurs, and you’ll be sure to err on the side of safety while shopping:

  • What is the recommended age? Keep in mind the age of all the children in the house, because you never know who might be able to get their hands on that toy.
  • Does it have sharp points or edges? When kids play rough you don’t want anyone poking an eye out.
  • Are there any long cords or strings? This may not be the first safety concern to come to mind, but cords or strings could get wrapped around someone and cause serious injury or suffocation.
  • Is it small enough to fit in a mouth? Or are there small pieces that could break off? Especially with toddlers, if it can go in a mouth, it will go in a mouth.
  • Are the magnets safely secured in plastic? See the previous question, since swallowed magnets can be even more dangerous than swallowed plastic.
  • Is it loud, and can the volume be turned off or lowered? Toys with without adjustable volumes aren’t just annoying; they can damage hearing as well.
  • Is it nontoxic? Some countries have stricter regulations on materials than others, so make sure any toy you pick up is made safely and reliably by checking where it was made.
  • If it’s made from fabric, is it washable? Spills happen all the time, and no one wants a favorite toy ruined forever by a favorite juice, plus fabrics can harbor bacteria in a way plastic can’t.
  • Are the batteries securely screwed in? If you can pry them out without a screwdriver, it might be best to put the whole toy back.
  • Perhaps most important, was it recalled? Doing some research online may save you from giving a toy that shouldn’t be sold in the first place.

Yes, this is a lot to think about for just a simple gift. But if you ask yourself all these questions while shopping, you’ll walk away with a safe, reliable, well-made toy that can last for years. And if you practice by questioning toy purchases, think of how many other purchases you could make with the same safety principles, creating established, lasting habits of safe buying?

It’s Never too Early to Start Teaching Safety Habits—Start With These 8

With school back in session, the past month has probably been full of buying new school clothes, stocking up on essentials like pencils and notebook paper, and at least one trip to the store for an important piece of a school project put off until the last minute (because that’s how kids roll).

But despite all of the new school year tasks, keeping our kids safe is as important as ever, and it’s never too early to instill (or reiterate) good safety habits. To make sure your child’s safety precautions aren’t tucked in the back of their closet with their summer sandals, take some time to review these eight safety tips with them, to keep your children safe all throughout the school day—from the beginning to the end.

Getting to school

  • Don’t be too early: Most schools have a set time when there will be supervision in the building, on the playground, and even in the parking lot. If your child walks or is driven to school, make sure they arrive after this time, as any child who arrives earlier is at risk since they could be unsupervised and even possibly alone.
  • Stay safe at the bus stop: For children who take the bus, stress the importance of staying in the designated bus stop area. Wandering off could mean missing the bus, and running around chasing other kids could lead to injuries.
  • Stick to the sidewalk: Remind your children to stay on the sidewalks and crosswalks—and out of the road—and to be paying attention to where they’re walking. A phone is a common distraction, and looking down playing a game on a smartphone could mean running into another person or crossing the street without looking both ways. Maybe make it a rule that the phone is in their pockets until they get to the school property. This applies as much before they get on the bus as when they get off, if they’re not walking to school.

At school

  • Lock your locker: Whether your child carries everything in their backpack, stores belongings in a cubby, or has access to a locker in the hallway, be sure that valuables are being left at home. If your child’s school has lockers, teach them to lock their locker every time they use it, even if all that gets left inside is their lunch and jacket. An unlocked locker could mean an empty stomach later in the day if someone has the opportunity to steal that brown paper bag (or really cool Spiderman lunchbox!).
  • Gather all belongings before leaving the classroom: Even without a locker, everything brought into a classroom should leave the classroom with your child. Jackets, books, homework assignments, even a cell phone could get lost if left behind during the next period. Remind them to pack everything up before moving on to their next class or leaving for the day.

Leaving school

  • Have a password: Especially for your younger kids, mutually agree on a password that someone would have to use to pick up your child unexpectedly. Teach your child to ask anyone who says they were sent to pick them up for that password. Remind them not just to ask strangers, but even family friends or relatives who should know the password if you sent them. If your child is traveling to or from school and someone claims they are there to pick up your child but they don’t know the password, teach your child to yell for help.
  • Don’t dawdle: Taking extra time to talk to friends on the playground or hanging out in the parking lot could mean missing the bus or getting home or to daycare late. Set a schedule with your child of when they need to leave the school and when they need to arrive at their after-school destination so if they don’t arrive it’s not because they hung around school too long, and you’ll know it’s time to worry.
  • Tell only parents when home alone: If your child gets home and you aren’t there, make sure they communicate with you and only you. Remind them not to answer the phone and say their parents aren’t around, and not to post on any social media that they’ve got the house to themselves. This includes not telling friends, as information is easily broadcast with today’s social networks.

The age of your kids, where you live, and how your kids get to and from school will all influence the kinds of safety and security measures you’ll need to take as the new school year continues on its way. Taking these safety steps can help ensure your child stays safe and you stay sane…and instill personal safety habits that will last a lifetime.

Home Automation Helps Seniors Stay Put

I’m at the age when my generation is helping their parents to downsize or move into retirement homes. My own mother is determined to stay in her house for as long as she can, so I assume it will be several years before I’m in the same situation as my friends. However, I still want to be mindful that my mother is older, and therefore needs extra consideration if not a new place to live.

Home automation can help.

A home security system can provide peace of mind for both my mother and for me, because it means her house is being watched over. If the alarm is triggered, the police are notified and on their way. Home security systems can also monitor for heat and smoke, as well as carbon monoxide. However, home security systems that also offer home automation can provide even more peace of mind than a home security system alone.

How home automation can help seniors stay in their homes
The AARP says 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes. We as the children can help our parents to be safe at home with common sense tips like these, and by taking advantage of the features home automation can offer.

For example, home automation means you can schedule lights to be turned on and off at set times, in case your parent is getting forgetful, or they’re getting wobbly on their feet. Automated lighting means the lights can be on before dusk falls, so your parents aren’t fumbling around in the dark. It also means they have fewer reasons to be getting up and risking a fall in the first place.

Such a home automation system also enables you to regulate the temperature, especially important during the heat of summer and the cold of winter. If your parents are like my mother, then you’re already used to their house being too warm or too cold because they’re trying to save money on the heating or cooling bill. Yet our goal is to ensure they are always warm or cool enough. Automating the temperature control can do that for us.

If your parents are starting to forget simple tasks like locking doors or windows, a home automation system lets you lock up from afar.

Security cameras give you extra insight
Security cameras let you keep an eye on the home and property, and see who is at the front door when the doorbell rings. Those same cameras can help you keep an eye on your parents too, so you’ll know when they leave and when they return. That means you’ll know that they remembered the doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, for example, and then returned home safely afterwards. If you’re not living near your parents, you’ll probably appreciate the security cameras even more.

It’s challenging when the tables turn and it’s the children caring for the parents rather than the other way around. Taking advantage of modern technology to enable you to provide some of that care without seeming intrusive in doing so can help. And that’s just what home automation can do for you, your parents, and your peace of mind.

Want to Keep Your College Kids Safe? Look to Their Phones

At our house, we have moved into that stage of life when everyone has graduated from high school and we have four kids out of five in college. One starts his freshman year today, another leaves for her second year this weekend, another is a graduate student and already settled on campus, and the fourth starts community college in mid-September. (Ironically, the oldest of the five is a teacher, so she’s busy with the new school year too!)

As the mom/step-mom of these kids, I have butterflies in my stomach for both good and bad reasons. Good because I am so excited for all of them and the paths they are on as they transition into adulthood, and bad because I officially can’t protect any of them any longer.

Which takes us to the topic of college safety, although this time around, I’m thinking of it from the viewpoint of both on- and off-campus housing, since we have two living in dorms this year and two living in apartments.

But whether they are living on-campus or off-, just starting out or working their way through grad school, there is one thing these kids have in common: They pack around smart phones. And we can put those phones to use to keep them safe.

It’s time to put those phones to good use!
Admittedly, the time to prepare your kids for being on their own is while they are growing up. It’s like teaching them to cook: If I haven’t done it yet, it’s too late now! However, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to reiterate what we’ve taught them when younger, and to add some college-specific advice now that they’ve transitioned to that phase. And after all those years of telling them to put away their phones, now we can say the opposite: Get out your phone.

Know whom to call and where to go
Every college should have some kind of campus safety office. Your kids should know where it is located, and the emergency phone number for after-hours should be loaded on their phones. Many schools also now have campus safety apps the kids can put on their phones, so they have instant access to help if they need it.

(Also encourage your kids to find out what safety services are offered, such as escorts who will make sure your child gets safely home late at night, as well as how to use them.)

Look for and download other safety apps
In addition to a college-specific safety apps your kids might be able to use via the school, check out the ones Mashable has featured as apps every student should download. In addition, the University of Arizona has a wealth of information on personal safety that you and your child can review together, including links to safety apps, as well as practical safety advice.

Beware phone as distraction
The only downside to encouraging your child’s use of their phone is the distraction of it. Kids walking across campus or home from work in the dark looking down at their phones will make easy targets. Teach them the importance of being aware of their surroundings wherever they are. They should have their phones handy in case there is trouble. But their eyes should be up and looking ahead and around. Always. In addition, only one ear bud should be in their ears at any given time so they can hear someone coming up behind them.

And if they lose that phone…
Encourage your kids to have important phone numbers written down or printed out and then stored in a safe location, just in case they lose that phone or it gets stolen. In addition, as the parent, you might want to get the phone number of your child’s roommate in case you can’t reach your child due to a lost phone. If you don’t know the phone is lost, only that you can get hold of your child, you will worry, guaranteed, and your mind will make up scenarios that are much worse than a missing phone!

And speaking of worried, looking at these articles and apps designed to keep our kids safe has definitely turned the tide toward the bad butterflies in my stomach and my anxiety level is up! Time to go hug on someone before she leaves once again!

Review These 4 Pool Safety Reminders Before the Kids Start Splashing

Summer is officially here at last! If your kids haven’t been splashing around in pool water yet, chances are they soon will be. And as part of our ongoing effort to keep you and your loved ones safe and secure, we offer four crucial reminders about pool safety. Just remember to review them before the swimsuits go on and the kids go in!

One: Always keep an eye on your kids when near water, always
Keeping an eye on your children is your responsibility. Period. There might be lifeguards, friends or family nearby, but it’s not their job to keep constant watch, it’s yours. And things can go horribly wrong fast, so put your phone away when poolside. Thinking you’ll quickly glance at your phone and no harm can come from it is misguided. Only looking away for a minute puts your kids at risk. Your phone can wait. Facebook can wait. So can Twitter, Snapchat and every other social media app. Oh, and your email and texts too.

Every year, over 200 young children drown in backyard pools. Constant supervision is a must to prevent these tragedies.

Two: Make sure your kids can swim
It’s not just toddlers and other young children who are at risk of drowning. Tweens, teenagers and even young adults are at risk. I have also heard stories, and I’m sure you have too, of older children and teens drowning. I have a dear friend whose son drowned in his early twenties because he didn’t swim well.

Learning to swim is a lifelong, lifesaving skill, and it’s one your children can begin to learn at any age. They’re never too young nor too old to learn to swim.

Three: Keep kids away from the pool
Because kids are fast and sneaky, you’ll need to make sure your pool cannot be accessed when you’re not around if you have one at home. To do this, you’ll need a 4-foot fence, a gate that can’t be unlatched by kids, and an alarm system that goes off when someone enters the pool.

When you’re away from home but near a pool, you’ll need to rely on constant supervision to keep them safe.

Four: Know, teach and practice pool safety rules…and CPR
Have pool rules such as no diving or running, stay away from the drain, and other rules that make sense for your family, whether these rules are for your pool at home or a public one. Know what to do if someone is in trouble, and definitely know CPR. The Red Cross offers a two-hour online class on pool safety and maintenance that you can find here. Invest the time to review the course. Then go over all of the rules and what to do when something goes wrong with your kids—repeatedly throughout the summer, until it becomes second nature for you and for them.

Private and public pools aren’t the only risks. Kids can also drown in hot tubs, spas and above-ground pools, so follow these guidelines whenever your children are around water, whether that water is in your backyard, at the local park, or at the hotel you’re staying at while on vacation.

3 Ways to Keep Kids Safer When They’re Home Alone This Summer

As the school year comes to a close and parents face the prospect of summer break—and keeping kids occupied while the parents are at work—many parents are scrambling to make plans for their kids. Although summer camps can provide some relief, kids can’t spend all summer at camp. They need some downtime at home too, plus camp is costly, and many parents end up leaving kids home alone as a result.

As many as 1 in 10 grade school children might be home alone during the summer months while parents are at work. If your kids are among those children who will have unsupervised time at home, here are some ways to keep them safer and you saner during this long break from school.

Review and enforce safety tips
Your children should know the basics behind being home alone, such as don’t answer the front door, and if they answer the phone, they should not tell the caller they are home alone. They should also know to keep doors and windows locked, and the garage door closed and locked.

In addition, they should know what they can and cannot do. Can they have friends over? If so, which ones? Can they go to a friend’s house? What is the protocol if they do? Do they text you to let you know that’s what they’re doing? Can they play outside? Front yard or back yard? As far as outside, your swimming pool and trampoline should probably be off-limits when kids are home alone, as well as any other similar play equipment.

Have snacks and meals at the ready
Although your kids do need to know how to cook, the younger ones probably shouldn’t cook while you’re not home, so make sure you leave the fridge and pantry well-stocked. Also go over guidelines about what they can and can’t do in the kitchen when you’re gone. Maybe toasting a piece of bread is okay but boiling up water for pasta is not. Have a rule for knives as well. If you leave plenty of food handy, they’re less likely to get into anything they shouldn’t.

My youngest is an adventuresome cook who tried deep frying one day while I was gone. I got the phone call from her after the fire department had left: She had started a grease fire that quickly got out of control. It could have been much worse, but all we had was smoke damage, thank goodness. However, it had not occurred to me that I needed to place limits on what kind of cooking she could tackle while unsupervised. I learned my lesson!

Invest in a home automation system
If you’ve been considering a home security or home automation system, perhaps now is the time to get one set up, before the kids are out of school for the summer. With a home security system that offers automation features, you can:

  • Use video monitoring to ensure kids are way they should be—when they should be.
  • See who is at the front door when the doorbell rings.
  • Automate the thermostat so the kids aren’t messing with the air conditioning.
  • Lock doors remotely should the kids forget to do so.
  • Have the peace of mind that comes from knowing a sign in the yard is a deterrent to potential burglars.

Leaving kids home alone during the summer break can be worrisome for parents, making it even harder to focus on work during those hours. Taking proactive steps, having strict guidelines or even rules, and investing in a home security system can all help to decrease the worry for you and increase the safety for them.

To Protect a Toddler, Think Like a Toddler: Make Your Home Safe for That Newly Mobile Minion

If you’re the parent of a baby, it won’t be long before that baby morphs into a toddler. Then you’ll have a whole new set of worries as that little person becomes mobile—and dangerous. If you’ve been through this transition before, you know what I mean. Every parent is thrilled when that tiny helpless being grows big enough to start crawling, then pulling himself or herself up to a standing position, then (gulp) walking—or more accurately, toddling—about. However, that thrill is accompanied by a sense of dread, as you realize how much more trouble they can get into at each new stage.

Stay one step ahead, even if they’re not walking yet!
As your child goes through each of these stages, your job as the parent is to be one step ahead of them, ensuring the house is safe throughout. And the best way to do this is to think like a toddler, meaning to get out of your grownup brain and to see the world and all of its many temptations through the eyes of a little one who simply does not know any better.

We really got to thinking about this while researching safety during earthquakes, which includes making sure heavy objects would not fall. While researching that information, we came across a video showing how easily a toddler can pull a television over and end up being crushed by it. The video is graphic, and even though it uses a dummy for this demonstration, it’s unsettling to watch.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the organization that posted this video, a child dies every two weeks because a TV, appliance or piece of furniture falls on him or her. And that’s only one of the types of dangers we as parents can easily eliminate during the toddler years.

Toddlers will find every little danger they can
Curiosity is one reason these little toddlers are so at risk. They are doing what comes naturally—exploring their worlds—and the more mobile they become, the bigger their worlds and the more they have to explore. Yet all the dangers that exist aren’t immediately obvious to us because we are at one height and seeing things through our eyes, while they are down there at the floor level seeing enticing temptations we’d never even imagine exist.

What to do? Thoroughly go through your house and make sure all dangers are eliminated. Get on your hands and knees if necessary, to see what they see. Use checklists put together by experts to overcome your “grownup” bias that prevents you from seeing risks through a toddler’s eyes. For example, at KidsHealth.org, you’ll find checklists for different areas of your home, inside and out:

  1. The kitchen
  2. Bedrooms, both theirs and yours
  3. Walls, floors, rugs, doors and windows, stairways
  4. Electrical
  5. Bathroom, garage, laundry room
  6. Outside areas, backyard, pool

Consider going through each of them to discover the less-than-obvious hazards, such as the rubber tips on doorstops that are easily pulled off by chubby fingers and slipped into a toddler mouth faster than you can say, “Wait!” Or the rug that’s likely to trip clumsy feet and send a toddler crashing into the corner of the coffee table.

Toddlers lack the self control that keeps them safe
We all try to teach our kids right from wrong from the start, to be clear on what’s okay (petting the cat nicely) to what’s not (yanking the cat’s tail), but until a child is 4 or 5 years old, the ability to have the kind of self control that will keep them out of trouble is lacking. That means it doesn’t matter how many times you tell them not to stick something into the electrical outlet because the lesson probably won’t stick until they reach that magic age when they finally have willpower.

Until then, it’s our job to keep them safe—so they’ll reach that age…and then some, until we get a whole new set of worries! Like school! Then driving! Then dating! Then…!

Safety Recap as School Starts: 11 Top Posts on School Safety for Kids, Teens and the College-Bound

School is back in session for just about everyone–except for a few students headed to colleges that start later in the month. So now is a good time to recap the safety and security topics we’ve presented in the past at the start of a new school year.

Below we’ve highlighted our top posts on kid and school safety from the past two years, and by kids we mean those college students who now view themselves as adults too. Take a quick look and see if any of these topics jump out at you as something that needs review—or to be forwarded to a high school or college student as a reminder.

Safety for school-aged kids
Beyond getting kids safely to and from school, safety for kids is really a 24-hour concern for parents, even when those kids are home. Check out these tips for keeping your kids safe—for peace of mind for you.

For kids who either leave the house after you or get home before you, see these tips for latch-key kids (and their parents): After School Safety for Latchkey Kids.

Getting to and from school can put kids at risk. See these 8 tips for keeping kids safe to and from school.

Once they’re home—and you’re still not—you can keep tabs on your kids from afar. Read how in this post about keeping an eye on kids remotely with a home security system.

Safety for teenagers still at home
Teenagers tend to think they know everything. So maybe send them a link to this post on back-to-school safety tips for teens and see if they read it. If not, be a little more proactive and force the issue. This post is directed at the teens, with input from my own teenager, and talks about a range of safety issues, include cyber safety. It’s important stuff. If your kids read nothing else at the start of this new school year, have them read this post.

Speaking of my teen, you might also read about teaching teens commonsense precautions, with stories drawn from my own experiences.

Safety for college students
Even if you’ve already moved your teenagers into their dorms, you should still go over these college campus safety tips with them—a.s.a.p.

For those college students who will be driving home on the weekends, and later for the holidays, go over the advice in this post on teen safety tips for road trips.

General safety precautions for everyone
Not every safety tip is age-specific. Below are links to additional safety information, that you can pass on to your kids when you think they are old enough to a) need the advice, and b) heed the advice.

Everyone, including you, needs to read about the importance of changing passwords often and well. This post includes ways to make it easy to change your passwords without compromising the strength of those passwords.

Also a good read to go along with the post above, this post goes into how to keep your passwords and PINs safe: Security at Your Fingertips: Keeping Passwords and PIN Codes Safe.

And since kids are getting online and into social media at ever younger ages, definitely brush up on social media safety with them, making sure you follow the same commonsense precautions when online.

We’re hopeful that every one of you gets off to a safe and sound start to the new school year, and we hope these past posts help!

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I feel so much better knowing my family is protected! I spoke with SafeStreets USA in the evening and a technician was able to come install the system for me then for my parents first thing the next morning. Very impressed with his knowledge and care!

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We had our ADT system installed by SafeStreets USA and were really impressed with the service we received from our technician. He was very friendly and answered all of our questions on the system and how it worked. He set everything up in a couple of hours and was a real pleasure to talk with []

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