Families are seemingly always on the go. From soccer games and school trips to excursions with friends and vacations with the family, people are constantly on the move, exploring new places and experiencing new things. As exciting as these new opportunities can be, it’s equally as important to make sure families – and kids – stay safe and protected at home and on the go.
Tips for Family Safety
How to keep your busy, adventurous family safe
(Family Features) Families are seemingly always on the go. From soccer games and school trips to excursions with friends and vacations with the family, people are constantly on the move, exploring new places and experiencing new things.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Know your neighbors
Help in an instant
AWAY FROM HOME
Tools to take on the road
Advanced Navigation: While built-in navigation systems in cars may just seem like an added convenience, they are also a key safety feature. Navigation systems offer easy access to directions and points of interest on the road, which can help eliminate distractions and reduce the possibility of accidents. Features like voice control can make navigation hands-free and allow you to concentrate on the road.
Smartphone Crash Detection: Today, the technology in your pocket is often more advanced than the cars you drive or ride in. Apps like Sfara Guardian can detect a car crash or incident and dispatch help. Because the technology is on the phone, it works whether you are the driver or passenger and in your car or someone else’s. Roadside assistance has a modern twist, too. If you need help with a flat or a tow, you can request service on your app and map the driver in real-time as he or she heads your way.
Lock Controls: In some vehicles, an adjustable setting allows you to control which car doors unlock depending on which door you open first or how many times you press the unlock button. This feature can allow a driver to safely enter the car on the driver’s side without unlocking other doors and potentially giving access to an intruder. Similar controls can keep mischievous kids from pushing buttons in the back and unlocking or opening rear doors or windows without your knowledge.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
While school safety is of the utmost importance to parents, millions of school-age children begin and end their days with a bus ride. These tips can help provide some measures for parents to help increase safety going to and from the bus and during the ride.
Bus safety tips for back-to-school
(Family Features) While school safety is of the utmost importance to parents, millions of school-age children begin and end their days with a bus ride. To provide some measures for parents to help increase safety going to and from the bus and during the ride, the National Association for Pupil Transportation offers these tips.
Before the Bus Arrives
On the Bus Ride
Leaving the Bus
Discuss the Bus
Join the discussion (or start one) on school districts exploring a switch from diesel buses to cleaner alternatives by downloading resources including fact sheets, videos and more at BetterOurBuses.com.
A Safe Transportation Option
Beyond teaching safety precautions around the bus, there is another option to ensure kids are transported safely to and from school each day. Many school districts are moving away from noisy, pollution-inducing and expensive diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.
Safety: Jenna Bush Hager, a teacher, author, journalist and parent of two, has partnered with the Propane Education & Research Council to educate parents and school districts about the benefits of propane school buses.
School buses powered by propane offer numerous safety advantages. Propane school buses are quieter than diesel buses when operating, making it easier for drivers to hear both inside and outside the bus. This can have a direct impact on student behavior, and many districts have reported fewer disciplinary issues as a result. An interactive audio quiz detailing the difference between the types of buses can be found at QuieterSchoolBuses.com.
“As a former teacher, I know parents often overlook how the ride to and from school can impact a child’s performance in the classroom,” Hager said. “A child’s attitude or behavior before they arrive at school can set the tone for the whole day.”
In addition, these buses meet rigorous U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and each is equipped with an automatic shut-off feature that prevents fuel flow to the engine when not running.
Another safety consideration is the health implications of older diesel buses. The shorter height of younger students can put them face-to-face with a black cloud of diesel smoke every school day. With propane buses, however, students aren’t exposed to the harmful particulate matter in diesel exhaust, which is known to aggravate asthma and has been identified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen. However, “low-NOx” propane engines are 75 percent cleaner than current federal emissions standards require.
Savings: Not only is propane consistently less expensive than diesel fuel, the buses themselves don’t require the same expensive repairs and replacement parts that today’s modern diesel buses demand. Saving money on transportation costs puts schools in a better position to appropriate budget toward meeting students’ needs in the classroom and other areas, such as fine arts and athletic programs.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Child hugging mother, two students on bus)SOURCE:
Propane Education & Research Council
(BPT) - Everything takes more time with young children in tow. When even a simple grocery store trip takes strategic planning, most parents forget about organizing a weekend getaway, especially if it's spontaneous.
The truth is, small kids can be amazing travel companions with a little forethought. Use these smart parent planning tips whenever you're feeling pangs of wanderlust. This weekend's last-minute travel adventure could turn into incredible memories that will last a lifetime.
Limit drive time to 3 hours or less
When it's just you and your partner, the journey is part of the excitement of traveling. For kids, time in the car is boring at best and agitating at worst. To avoid tantrums and too many "Are we there yet?" questions, limit travel time to three hours or less.
If you have young kids, try leaving early in the morning so they fall back asleep or plan to travel during nap periods. For older kids, pack plenty of activities, load up the mobile device with new apps and buy some inexpensive-yet-fun surprises they can open along the way.
Find a hotel with room to spread out
To ensure an enjoyable trip, you want the comforts and space of home when you're on vacation. Being stuck in one room with few amenities can be a travel nightmare, especially if you have kids who like to move or a baby who goes to bed at 7 p.m.
The Staybridge Suites brand is a great example of a family-friendly hotel that encourages its guests to make the space their own and have fun. The brand has spacious suites with up to two bedrooms and two baths and a full kitchen so the family can spread out. You can even bring your pet with you so your family is complete.
Want to meet other families or get out and roam? Enjoy the outdoor pool, explore the gazebos and grill up some dinner. The complimentary breakfast (with waffles!) is sure to please kids both young and old.
Avoid a heavy itinerary
The beauty of last-minute travel is, your family doesn't have to stick to a strict schedule. Kids want to spend the morning at the pool? Go for it. Then, sneak in a quick nap with your toddler before visiting the local museum in the afternoon. Because you're not stuck with an extensive itinerary, you can kick back and enjoy some quality bonding time together.
That's not to say you shouldn't explore the area; it's about finding a good stress-free balance. For weekend excursions, focus on one main activity you'd like to accomplish, such as visiting an amusement park or local monument. For longer trips, plan no more than one activity per day to avoid burnout.
Have the last-minute vacation blues because everything is booked? If tickets are sold out, ask to be put on a cancellation list. It's highly possible your family will be able to sneak in at the last last-minute, and you may even get a discount for filling the spot on short notice.
You don't have to avoid last-minute travel until your kids are grown. With these tips, spontaneous vacations might just be your new favorite activity.
To learn more about how you can enjoy a family vacation at Staybridge Suites hotels visit www.staybridgesuites.com/vacation.
The summer months can provide plenty of opportunities to keep a child’s mind sharp even outside of school. To help your child avoid any loss of knowledge this summer, try any of these 6 tips, including enrolling in a summer camp, going on a family vacation, heading to the library, reading as a family, writing in a journal or taking time out for nature.
10 Tips to Stop the Summer Slide
(Family Features) Learning shouldn’t stop just because school is out. In fact, stepping too far away from the books can result in a learning loss. However, research has shown that encouraging kids to read just six books, or 20 minutes a day, over the summer can help prevent the summer slide.
The key is finding ways to make reading fun, combining education and entertainment for an activity kids can truly enjoy, said Kate DiCamillo, a two-time Newbery Medal Award-winning author and the 2016 Collaborative Summer Library Program National Summer Reading Champion.
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty, but rather as a gift that emphasizes the fun of opening a new book and celebrating the satisfaction that comes from reading another story,” said DiCamillo, who is also the 2016-17 Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program literary partner.
Summer schedules can get busy, but with a little creativity it’s actually quite easy to fit in those 20 minutes a day, even when you have other activities planned.
The sooner you start a habit of reading every day, the better your child will be prepared when school – and the annual BOOK IT! Program – kicks off again. The program, available to kindergarten through sixth-grade students, runs from October through March each year and motivates students to read by rewarding them for their reading accomplishments with recognition and pizza. Learn more about the program and find more summer reading tips and activities at bookitprogram.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(BPT) - When school dismisses for the summer, parents across the country worry about how much their children will forget over the vacation months. Will all those hours helping them with math and reading dissolve with the carefree hours spent at the pool or playground?
“While a break from the long days of school is needed, studies show that most kids lose up to two months of their math skills between school grades,” says Dominique Ciccarelli, Ed.M., education specialist for Kumon North America. “The brain is like a muscle and needs a regular dose of exercise to stay strong. Connections in your brain multiply when you learn new topics, and through this process, you get smarter.”
Added to this concern is how much time over the summer parents will be able to commit to helping their children retain and reinforce what they learned during the previous school year. While millions of children are eager for the freedom of summer, parents are coming up with plans to keep the learning momentum going.
Here are seven fun ways to keep your child engaged over the summer with enriching experiences.
Have a scavenger hunt at the museum. One way to turn a visit to the museum into a fun and educational experience is to make it a scavenger hunt. If you’re going to an art museum, your list can include things you might see in paintings or sculptures from a certain country. If it’s a natural history museum, you can include dinosaurs and animals.
Find the right learning program. For families with children looking for enrichment activities, the right learning program is invaluable. With nearly 1,500 centers throughout the United States, Kumon uses an individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. To help students continue learning through the summer, Kumon is offering free registration in June at participating centers.
Develop their green thumb. Gardening allows children to not only play and build something — as they might do in a sandbox — but learn about the life cycle of plants and the importance of nutrition. One way to make this more exciting is to try to grow something giant, like a huge squash or zucchini that will provide an end goal to the entire experience.
Let them be your travel agents. Before you set off on your summer vacation, get your children involved in the planning process. Let them help you search for lodging within your budget and in the area you want to stay. Together, you can learn about nearby attractions and plan your visit accordingly. The entire process not only builds confidence, but serves as a finance, geography, history and social studies lesson all wrapped in one.
Have adventures in reading. Reading is one of the most important skills to maintain and develop. Reading to your children each day establishes a positive association in their mind and makes them excited to read on their own. Be sure to stay up to date with the activities at your local library, which provides fun and sociable learning opportunities.
Make something. While there are plenty of kits out there to promote STEM learning skills, you can encourage your children to use their creativity and knowledge to build projects from common household materials. Some classic examples of this would be making a raft out of empty milk cartons or plastic bottles, a homemade volcano using vinegar and baking soda or a homemade electromagnet.
Become a collector. A great way for children to get hands-on knowledge of the natural world is for them to build a collection while discovering the outdoors. Rocks, plants, bugs — these are the things that excite a young mind. Search for different kinds of leaves to press at home, then work with your children to identify their types.
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