holiday safety tips en-US Safety Tips for Holiday Driving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/safety-tips-for-holiday-driving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Winter driving" title="Winter driving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether I'm staying near home for the holidays or driving to my destination, I notice that around this time of year drivers become harried and seemingly more careless. Of course, the wet and drizzly weather tends to assist those more apt to slip and slide across the lanes.</p> <p>Being the safe driver that I am not only saves money in the form of lower insurance premiums and fewer repairs, it also means getting from point A to point B in one piece.&nbsp;Some of the safe driving tips I abide by aren't mind-altering; they're just common sense guidelines that everyone should follow. Here are a few:</p> <h3>1. Know the Roads</h3> <p>When driving to common destinations, I select the roads I'm most familiar with and are less congested. Choosing familiar routes means that if a sudden downpour hits, I'm not inaccurately predicting if the road veers to the right or left; I already know the path and can make minor adjustments without careening off a cliff. I also know when to choose the &quot;back roads&quot; and when to stay on the highway. I can slow down or speed up safely, if weather permits, since it's a path I've traveled many times.</p> <p>When I'm visiting a new location, I first make sure to check Google Maps as well as take notes from the friends or family members I'll be visiting. Friends and family members can assist in my familiarity of an area by telling me to watch for specific landmarks. Landmarks help me adjust to a new area and make me feel less lost. I also make sure to drive a little slower, especially on windy mountain roads or in densely forested areas. I'm not timid when it comes to asking for directions; there is no need spending hours driving in circles if all it takes is a simple answer from a local gas station attendant to send me on my way.</p> <h3>2. Obey the Law</h3> <p>Rain, snow, and sleet make roads slippery and dangerous. Driving the speed limit, or slower, can make all the difference between getting someplace safely or ending up on the wrong side of the road. Checking the weather ahead of traveling gives me a reasonable idea of how much time I'll need to arrive safely; oncoming storms usually mean traffic delays, and that means longer commute times and lots of slowing down.</p> <p>Another law I obey is the seat belt law. It's hard to believe that as a child I was allowed to roam freely around the station wagon on long road trips, even in stormy weather! Today we are a more safety-conscious society and know that unattached objects within a vehicle can go flying through a windshield in a sudden stop or impact. Being strapped in helps prevent injuries during accidents and makes traveling by car safer.</p> <p>Finally, slower traffic should stay to the right; even if that means letting a big-rig truck pass me. There's just no need to get into a road-rage duel, and I'm not about to gun it past the semi that's ten times my size. Driving defensively and safely sometimes means being the slower moving vehicle.</p> <h3>3. Designate a Driver</h3> <p>The holidays are a time for celebration and that often means celebrating with delicious meals and effervescent spirits. There's no need not to partake in the celebration as long as I have a designated driver or have made other arrangements like public transportation or a taxi cab. However, I usually nominate myself to be the designated driver since sparkling cider is just as tasty as sparkling wine. I am also adamant about not drinking and driving, so selecting myself to be the driver for the night ensures that those who are with me arrive home safely.</p> <p>Most safety tips are based around common sense, but sometimes we just need to pay more attention to the details to have a safe and joyous holiday season.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Little House</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. 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Here&#039;s What to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to check if a flight is delayed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation General Tips cold weather driving holiday safety tips Wed, 22 Dec 2010 14:00:09 +0000 Little House 404688 at In Search of Safety: A Mom's 8-Step Guide to Toy Selection and Everyday Use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/in-search-of-safety-a-moms-8-step-guide-to-toy-selection-and-everyday-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src=" playing.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="373" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As the mom of two boys, I can tell you that there are two kinds of toys: 1) those that are inherently dangerous (such as <a href=";105/6/1352" target="_blank" title=";105/6/1352">ATVs</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="">BB guns</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank" title="">lead-tainted toys</a>) and 2) those made dangerous in the hands of children (nearly everything). This 8-step guide to toy selection and everyday use includes tips from the <a href="" target="_blank" title="">American Academy of Pediatrics</a>, information about the kit used by Marilyn Furer to detect lead on her grandchild’s bib (resulting in Wal-Mart&#39;s recall), and personal accounts of my adventures in child safety. </p> <p><strong>1. Choose Carefully</strong></p> <p>Follow guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics for <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Toy Safety</a> and its <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Holiday Safety Tips</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children. </li> <li>Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. </li> <li>To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don&#39;t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.</li> <li>Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.</li> <li>Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children. </li> <li>Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies. </li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Respect Age Restrictions</strong></p> <p>I made the mistake of dismissing age restrictions – <em>once.</em> At 3½, my son had well-developed fine motor skills and, unlike other children his age, never put objects (toy parts, coins) in his mouth. He loved manipulating small items so I thought that Lite Brites would be a great Christmas gift for him, despite its age 4 and up recommendation. </p> <p>On a Sunday afternoon in February, my son had wiggled his way under a bed, fussing about a Lite Brite in his nose. I coaxed him out and attempted to remove the offending object, which he had tried to use as a tool to clean his nose. Having had earlier success with the removal of an un-popped popcorn kernel, I thought that I could quickly take care of the toy. Instead of removing it, however, I moved it further from reach. After conferring with the on-call physician at our doctor’s office, I took him to a urgent care facility. </p> <p>My son seemed to grasp that he should be still and not disturb the toy lodged in his nasal cavity while we waited (approximately 3 hours) to see a physician. I relaxed about his predicament but began to be concerned about perceptions of my parenting abilities. In the examining/procedure room, a young, energetic male physician questioned me with “what happened here?” and smiled when I responded “flawed logic,” recalling, it seemed, adolescent fun gone awry. He quickly retrieved the Lite Brite and offered it to me as a souvenir before I headed home, clear-nosed child in tow. </p> <p>Here’s a <a href="" target="_blank" title="">resource for detecting the presence of objects in the nose from WebMD.<br /></a></p> <p><strong>3. Modify Toys if Needed</strong> </p> <p>If you happen to receive blatantly or potentially unsafe items as gifts and/or a toy is slightly different than what you expected based on its packaging, discard the obviously unsafe or modify the item to make it safe. For example, I have removed beads from a cloth book that was an infant gift. The beads were firmly attached (my tugging did not dislodge them) but I felt much more comfortable allowing my child to play with the book <em>sans </em>beads. </p> <p>Warning and tantrum-avoidance tip: do not remove parts or make modifications in the presence of your child. </p> <p><strong>4. Read Instructions</strong></p> <p>Instructions apply not only to toys but other children&#39;s products. For example, I bought a Happy Camper playpen/sleeping area for short overnight trips to grandparents&#39; homes. This product had hinge covers that allowed you to lock railings in place so that the sides would not come up randomly (at night, when everyone was sleeping). These play yards were recalled because of <a href="" target="_blank" title="">hazards associated with improper set-up</a>. <br /><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>5. Calculate Safety Windows</strong> </p> <p>Since nearly any toy can be made dangerous by an imaginative child, you can assign times that you think your child could play safely with a toy without your direct supervision. The time is not measured in minutes but rather in tasks such as taking a shower; going to the bathroom; fixing a sandwich; or preparing dinner (typically broken into separate tasks such as defrosting chicken, boiling water, etc.) </p> <p>For example, small objects may be embedded safely in a toy when purchased but can become dislodged and accessible after hours of play. Likewise, parts of a toy may be broken, leaving sharp edges exposed. </p> <p>Checking toys periodically and children much of the time minimizes the chance that toys will be made hazardous and the child is harmed. </p> <p><strong>6. Consider These Playthings</strong> </p> <p><strong>Blocks</strong><br />Blocks are great for sparking a child’s imagination and big ones, though bulky, are pretty easy to pick up and put away. Their danger lies primarily in the throwing of or tripping over; for example, a child may injure another child or himself/herself by hurling a wooden block or said toy may ricochet off a wall and back onto the child. Nevertheless, here are some block options:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="">Wooden Blocks<br /></a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="">Large Red Blocks</a> (corrugated cardboard)</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="">DUPLOS</a>® (created by The LEGO Group) </li> </ul> <p><strong>Balls<br /></strong>Soft balls made of sturdy materials that won’t come apart are ideal. I like the round but easy-grip, squeezable balls (purchased years ago by me from <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Discovery Toys</a> but just like these at <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a>). </p> <p><strong>Books</strong><br />Technically books aren’t toys but infants/toddlers haven’t learned that yet. A child can be occupied for 15 minutes or more with a book. You can buy cloth books that are nearly indestructible or board books with the same pictures and content as traditional favorites such as <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Good Night Moon</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="">The Runaway Bunny</a>.  </p> <p><strong>7. Check Recalls</strong> </p> <p>Carrie did a <a href="/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-recall" target="_blank" title="">great post on recalls</a> and offered resources such as <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a> for products that have caused or could cause safety problems. You can also visit the <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website</a> and do <a href="" target="_blank" title="">searches on specific products and toy companies</a> at both sites.</p> <p>You may want to review the safety practices of toy companies (manufacturers, distributors, marketers, retailers). All claim to have children’s safety in mind; however, they should: </p> <ul> <li>Set standards or refer to industry standards that they adhere to</li> <li>Have a formal testing process that checks raw materials (components, inks, paint) and finished products</li> <li>Engage a third-party testing laboratory or have an operation dedicated to testing (independent of sales and merchandising groups) </li> <li>Reject products that don’t meet standards</li> <li>Design toys with standards in mind, not tested after container loads or truck loads have arrived at the distribution center. </li> </ul> <p><a href="" target="_blank" title="">The LEGO Group</a>, for example, complies with the <a href="" target="_blank" title="">European Toy Directive</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="">ASTM standard F963</a> (U.S.A). </p> <p>Warning: please don’t let your children put Legos in their mouths, noses, or other orifices. </p> <p><strong>8. Test for lead</strong> <strong>if you&#39;d like.</strong></p> <p>My children are beyond the slobbery, put-everything-into-the-mouth stage but if they weren’t I’d keep an eye on the reports of lead-laden toys and children’s accessories. Not being able to discern danger through a visual inspection makes me uneasy. It disturbed <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Marilyn Furer</a>: she used a home lead testing kit to detect danger in her grandson&#39;s bib, resulting in a recall by Wal-Mart. (See Andrea&#39;s post on <a href="/bad-bad-china-a-round-up" target="_blank" title="">faulty, dangerous products from China</a>.)</p> <p>But are home testing kits any good? </p> <ul> <li>Consumer Products Safety Commission recently issued a <a href="" target="_blank" title="">report that stated that home lead testing kits were not reliable</a>. </li> <li>Consumer Reports has also <a href="" target="_blank" title="">evaluated home testing kits</a> and indicates that the CPSC does not mention the brand names of kits tested.</li> <li>According to the Homax Products website, <a href="" target="_blank" title="">Marilyn Furer used its LeadCheck® product</a>.</li> <li>Home testing kits test surface or accessible lead rather than lead embedded in products. </li> <li>Consumer Reports mentions Homax LeadCheck product as one of the best performing do-it-yourself lead test kits. </li> </ul> <p><strong><em>BOTTOM LINE:</em></strong> Watch child&#39;s play or read recall lists to learn of hazards based on real-life product usage, intended or otherwise. Then use your intellect <strong><em>and </em></strong>imagination to play it safe. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. 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