Tag Archives: safety saturday

Put Your Safety First

Here at Parking Pal we are all about keeping kids safe!  Looks like we aren’t the only ones.  I recently came across a really COOL video for kids all about safety.  It has a very catchy tune.  I actually can’t stop singing the chorus.  My 8 year old watched it and thought it was cute, but I think it would be great to start showing this to kids as a much younger age.

http://youtu.be/CD_otOjgiIk   “A song for kids to remind them of all kinds of safety issues they need to be aware of. From chewing their food,crossing the street,playing with matches etc. A fun and entertaining way for parents to reinforce being safe. Great for teachers in the classroom and homeschoolers also.” – Discover and Learn

But they don’t just have safety songs….they have all sorts of educational music for children.  Check out their website here.

discover and learn

12 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe This Holiday

By Kim Estes


The Holidays are here. OK, I said it. Hard to believe but true! The holiday season is often hectic and can be incredibly stressful to many parents. This year, global changes and uncertainty are also factoring into our holiday mood. There are so many things going on around us and often personal safety gets overlooked during this hectic time. However, now is the best time to brush up on safety with your family. There will be lots of interaction with family and friends and new experiences and new places. Now is a great time to practice “what if” scenarios with your kids. Believe it or not, taking time to talk safety with your kids will take some of the anxiety out of your holiday season and theirs.

Here are some great tips on how to stay safe during the holidays.

Safety while shopping:

• Have a designated spot (like a sales counter) to meet at if you get separated.

• Make sure younger kids practice their name, your name and cell phone number

• Remind kids never to leave the store, no matter what!

• Practice identifying “safe grown ups” while you are out and about

• Older kids should always take a friend when going to the mall without and adult

• Remind kids to always check first with you before going anywhere or accepting gifts

• Never leave children unattended in stores, arcades, or playgrounds

Safety at holiday parties:

• Let your child chose who they wish to show affection to. Do not force them to kiss or hug someone. Even if it means hurting Grandma or Uncle Joes feelings. Your child needs to know they have power over their own bodies.

• Check in on your kids when you are at a large gathering or function. Make sure they are doing OK.

• Kids need to check first with a parent before going off with someone at the party (eg. To play video games or watch a movie in the bedroom or leaving the house to go play in the front yard)

• Have each adult at the party take 20 minute “shifts” to cruise around and check on the kids to make sure they are all doing OK.

• If someone is making your child uncomfortable (excessive tickling, hugging, wrestling) intervene on your child’s behalf to end the behavior. You child needs to know they have your support and that you are there to protect them, no matter what.

Most of all have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
About the Author: Kim Estes is the owner of Savvy Parents Safe Kids and has worked with parents for over 15 years, educating them on various parenting topics. Kim is a certified prevention educator through the National Security Alliance, the Kid Safe Network and is a Darkness 2 Light facilitator. As a Child Safety Expert, Kim has appeared on local and national TV and Radio shows, helping to raise awareness on the importance of prevention education. For more information about her work or to schedule a workshops go to: www.savvyparentsafekids

Help, My Mommy Is Lost

By Kim Estes- Guest Blogger
I remember when I was a kid, my friend had this story in her family that even to this day, is a centerpiece of her families “funny stories”. The kids all remember shopping with Mom, when the manager’s voice came over the store intercom. “Will the parents of a girl named “Jeff”, please come claim your child”. What can I say, it was the 70’s and “Jeff” did indeed look like a girl with his long mop of hair. Over the years, the focus has been on the humor in the gender mix up. As a parent, I now listen to the story and think, “wow, I think that is amazing that Jeff knew what to do when he got lost”.

When we are separated from a loved one in a public place, the reactions can vary. If you are at help, my mommy is lostHome Depot, intently discussing your opinions on faucets, only to turn around and realize your partner is gone and you are babbling to yourself, can be at a minimum, embarrassing. When a parent and child are separated, you go from fear to panic in 60 seconds. For the parent of a child who is a known “sprinter” it seems you always live a constant state of anxiety every time you leave the house.

In this day and age, kids are strapped in with the security of Fort Knox in everything from the grocery cart to the stroller to their Burly. Eventually, they get their wobbly sea legs under them, they move on fast forward. So how does a parent go about talking to their kids about what to do if and when they ever get lost? Well, here are some age appropriate tips on how to talk to your kids without scaring them but empowering them to know what to do if the situation ever arises.

9 months – 2 years: At this age, you can start to introduce the concept of a “Safe mom/Dad with kids”.
You can ask them to point out “the moms with a stroller” in the store. Make a game of it! This will help them with the next level of discussion later.

2-4 years- One thing that you never want to do when teaching your children personal safety is to scare them. With some kids, even the concept or thought of being lost, even for a nano second, is very scary. The word lost can seem very permanent to a child. As an alternate to using the word “lost” you can insert the word “directions” and use role play examples that involve moms or dads and not the child. Here is an example: If you are in the store with you child, you can say to them “OK, if Daddy was waaaay over in the broccoli section and you and I are waaaay over here in the bread section (or maybe the wine section, depending on how your week is going) who could Daddy ask directions from if he needed to find us? Do you see a mom with kids? This is the simplest introduction of “what to do” in a very non threatening way. You can explain to your child that sometimes we get lost or maybe we just need directions on how to get back to each other in the store.

5 – 8: At this age, most kids are in school and are getting used to spending some time away from Mom & Dad. They have gotten used to asking adults for help. At this age, you can talk to your child more about what to do if they get lost and add an option to go find a “cash register” person if they need to locate you.

Another option for your child (and a personal favorite of my kids) is the “freeze and freak out”. It is exactly like it sounds. Freeze in your tracks and yell MOM! I have told my kids that when a mom hears a kids distress call, every mom in the store will come to help. We train our kids to use “indoor voices” so this is concept that may seem really strange to the kids. They may not think they can yell for help in a store. Make sure to let them know that they can yell and they can do so LOUDLY!

Here are the “DON’TS: DON’T instruct your child to only find a policeman or security officer. Kids can often mistake any person in a suit or uniform as a policeman. Plus, when is the last time you saw a uniformed officer patrolling Safeway or Nordstrom?

Last but not least talk early and often with your kids about personal safety. At every age and stage, make sure that your kids know to never, ever, ever leave the store without the grown up they came in with. If you come in with the nanny, grandma, grandpa, mommy or daddy, you leave with them. My kids think it is a funny notion that I would never leave a store until I found them. I would stay in the store looking for them, even if I had to spend the night in the store, live of frozen pizza and pop-tarts and sleep on the marshmallow bags until I found them. And of course, I would.

savvy parents logoAbout the Author: Kim Estes is the owner of Savvy Parents Safe Kids and has worked with parents for over 15 years, educating them on various parenting topics. Kim is a certified prevention educator through the National Security Alliance, the Kid Safe Network and is a Darkness 2 Light facilitator. As a Child Safety Expert, Kim has appeared on local and national TV and Radio shows, helping to raise awareness on the importance of prevention education. For more information about her work or to schedule a workshops go to: www.savvyparentsafekids.com

Somebody call 911

These are words no one ever wants to say or hear. The fact remains, that you may. I know this for 911 safety tipstwo reasons – I have had to call 911 (several times) and I used to be a 911 dispatcher (ambulance only). There are more than a few things I learned about calling 911 while working for them that I otherwise would not have ever known, and I am going to pass that knowledge on to you, dear reader.  Most are common sense. So….onto the Safety Saturday Tips!!!

– Learn and teach nine-one-one, not 911. Silly for me to say, I know, but in a true crisis, people say some really strange things, and sometimes logic goes right out the window. It is nine-one-one. Not nine-eleven. There is no nine-eleven on the phone.

– Remain calm. It is hard. I KNOW it is hard. You (possibly) will want to cry, scream and will someone to get to you faster. I assure you, they are on the way before you even know it.  If you are calm, the dispatcher can help you help the person in need. Being calm will also help you to…..

– State your address and phone number clearly. Usually your address will show up because it is linked to your phone number and you may only need to verify it. Unless technology has changed, this only holds true for a land line. If you call 911 on your cell phone, no address comes through.

– Answer the questions asked of you, no matter how dumb they may seem. Yes, the dispatcher heard you say that someone has sliced their leg open something horrible and can even hear them screaming in the background. So when you are asked if they are conscious, answer the question. When they ask if they are breathing, answer the question. When they ask if they have a pulse, answer the question (I will explain more about this later).

– Follow the directions the dispatcher gives you. And please, no matter what…..

– DO NOT HANG UP! Please. Unless the dispatcher tells you to.

A couple of other things that can be helpful –

– Make sure your street address is clear on your home or property or both.

– For each person in the home have a list of medications and any allergies written down and keep it  in an easily accessible  place. The paramedics will want this.

– If able, open the door to help identify the home.

– If there is more than one person besides the person in need, send them outside (if there is someone there who is in a panic, they are a good person to send outside to wait for help).

– Assure the person in need that help is on the way.

While the tips above are specific to medical assistance, I am pretty sure they would translate over to police and fire.

Some tips just for kids.

– Teach them nine-one-one, your address and phone number. ParkingPal’s Emergency phone list can be a good tool to keep handy.

– If someone in the home has a medical condition, teach them that as well.

– Set up a 911 drill at home (without actually calling). The main reason to make sure they know the address.

– Check if your city has any kind of Safety Day. If they do, take your kids and let them meet your city’s police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and EMT’s. Let them get to know them as real people and not just cool cars with the lights and sirens. Because Emergency Vehicles are cool, until one gets behind you with the lights going because you were driving just a little too fast on the highway, not that I know that from experience.


Please keep in mind that different counties probably have different 911 systems, and what I say may not be correct for your county – I am only familiar with one type. The system I used had computer generated questions based on the initial complaint. The system would not let us go onto the next question without an answer. The first questions being breathing, pulse and consciousness. Because these are the MOST IMPORTANT ONES (for a medical emergency) Again, I do not know if all emergency systems work this same way.

Smart Phone Dangers….Safety Saturday

cell phone dangersWe all do it. Snap pictures on our smart phones and load them onto Facebook, Twitter and any other manner of social media you can think of. Vacations, night out with friends, kids here, kids there…..visually sharing our everyday lives with our “on-line” family. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s fun, it keeps us connected to people and lets us live vicariously through each other. But, along with that photo of little Emma proclaiming that “Our daily trip to the park!” or a picture of our feet with the sand captioned “A week of fun in the sun!” we are announcing our location. We are telling the virtual world where were are, what we are doing and when. The photos we take with our smartphones not only show sweet Alex on his first day of school, they also contain the latitude and longitude of where that photo was taken. That Exif metadata attached to each picture we take can be viewed and then be mapped….rather easily. This discovery of mine, is not a new one at all. Most of you are probably already aware of it. And while I knew of the GPS capabilities of my phone, and that the pictures I took had location data stored into them, I wasn’t overly worried about it. Not until my oldest daughter started using her phone for all of the above.

Er…..hold up there.

So you want to wander through life taking pictures of you and your friends and POST THEM ON THE INTERNET!!! Suddenly, the danger seemed real. Very real. Some random stranger could check out her photos and figure out, quite literally, where she was. What her roaming-with-friends habits were. What she looked like, what she likes, her name. I am sure the list goes on and on and on.

The safety part of this post, or rather where the danger lies, could go in a hundred different directions. Because there are so many different “scenarios” I can only suggest the most basic of solutions.

1- Turn your GPS off on your phone. If the phone can’t log it’s location, it can’t tag it onto the photo.

2- Inform your kids, specifically teens who have phones, that it can potentially be a security threat.

3 – Check privacy settings on your accounts periodically to make sure that only the people you want to see things, can.

4 – Be aware of the sites and apps your using. Some sites automatically wipe the geotagging from your photo when it is uploaded (Facebook & Twitter), others do not.

My favorite is option 1 (though I do them all). It is quick and requires minimal effort on my part, and I can get back to snapping and uploading!

Interested in writing a guest blog on children safety topics or other family-friendly topics? If so, email your topic idea to info@parkingpalmagnet.com.

Top 5 Dangers of Kids and Vehicles- Part 2

Top 5 dangers of kids around vehicles This is part two in our feature of the dangers of kids around vehicles.  To see the top 3 dangers click here.  The 4th danger is Power Windows.  According to KidsandCars.org “Power windows in automobiles have killed or injured thousands of children. Since 1990 over 50 children have been killed by power windows, with untold numbers of brain injuries and amputations of fingers, etc.; most of them to children age three or younger.” 

 Click on the picture below to see  3 sets of power window controls-the top two are more dangerous and the bottom one is a little safer. 

power window dangers 

The 5th danger of kids and vehicles is Trunk Entrapment!  This simply means kids getting locked in a trunk. Kidsandcars.org says “Sometimes children play in places they shouldn’t, like the trunk of the car. If your child got trapped inside, could he or she get out?”  What a great question….have you talked to your kids about the dangers of trunks?  Maybe you drive and SUV and don’t have a trunk.  But what about when they are at a friends house.   A glow in the dark internal trunk release is now required in all new vehicles with a trunk. You can also purchase a kit and add it to an older model trunk.

Please take a minute to talk to your kids about the dangers around vehicles….it just might save their life.

Safety Saturday- Top 5 Dangers for Kids and Vehicles

Part 1

Every year thousands of kids are injured or killed around vehicles in non-traffic accidents, according to Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm. There are 5 main dangers for kids and vehicles.  Today I’m talking about the top 3 dangers.  The number one danger is a Backover accident.  Every week in the US at least 50 children are backed over by a vehicle.  2 of the 50 will die.


Notice in these pictures from the kidsandcars.org website.  62 children are behind the SUV and all of them are in the blind spot.  Have you ever heard of Bye-Bye Syndrome?  You say good bye to your kids and then walk out the door to your vehicle and unbeknownst you to, your child follows you out.  Here is a video showing bye-bye syndrome:

The number 2 danger is a Front Over accident.  According to this quote from www.kidsandcars.org, frontover-main-pic2

“Every year, thousands of children are hurt or die because a driver moving forward very slowly didn’t see them.  These incidents for the most part take place in residential driveways or parking lots and are referred to as ‘frontovers.’  (the opposite of a backover).”

The third danger is Heat Stroke.  No one thinks it could ever happen to them, but unfortunately it does.  Most times, a parent or caregiver mistakenly leaves a child in the vehicle.  It usually happens when the routine of the parent is different.  For example, normally mom drops baby off at daycare.  But today she stays home sick and dad takes baby to daycare.  But on the way, he gets a distracting phone call and is focused on a work meeting.  He takes the route he normally takes and arrives at work as usual.  Baby is sleeping in the back nice and quiet and dad completely forgets that the baby is in the back seat.  Watch this video:

Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out other dangers of kids and cars.

*Videos, images and statistics in this article are from www.kidsandcars.org.



Safety Saturday-Bike Safety

Bike Safety-  Below are some tips from www.safekids.org about bike safety.

bike helmet safety

•We have a simple saying: “Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
•Make sure your child has the right size helmet and wears it every time when riding, skating or scooting. Here are instructions on how to properly fit your child’s helmet.
•You’d be surprised how much kids learn from watching you so it’s extra important for parents to model proper behavior. Wear a helmet, even if you didn’t when you were a kid.
•Your children’s helmet should meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standards. When it’s time to purchase a new helmet, let your children pick out their own; they’ll be more likely to wear it for every ride.

•Ensure proper bike fit by bringing the child along when shopping for a bike. Select one that is the right size for the child, not one he or she will grow into.
•Actively supervise your children when they are riding.
•Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10, so limit riding to sidewalks (although be careful for vehicles in driveways), parks or bike paths until age 10. No matter where you ride, teach your child to stay alert and watch for cars and trucks.
•Long or loose clothing can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes. Dress young kids appropriately to ensure a safe ride.

Here is a video about how to do a bike helmet fit test.


Interested in writing a guest blog on children safety topics or other family-friendly topics? If so, email your topic idea to info@parkingpalmagnet.com.