Teachsafety

parent and teach safe kids

Is Your Child a Free Range Child? Were you one?

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Years before she became a celebrated speaker, author Lenore Skenazy learned that I was writing about teaching safety, and actually wrote and called me, or maybe I called her…can’t remember…. She was in a hot debate
As the World’s Worst Mom for letting her son take the New York Subway alone.

Since then I have stayed in communication with her, not always agreeing but totally supportive of the outcome we both believe in, empowered healthy kids, who know how to take care of themselves, given basic safety guidance.

We both believe that it is the parents who have become afraid, and then affected their children with the same fears. It reminds me of the parents of students I had over the years
Who were not allowed to have pets, because they could bite or scratch them.

Things I worry about.
Children sitting in front of a screen, your pick, tv, iPad, computer, video game, etc.
Children not playing in a group, riding bikes, running around with squirt guns, and water balloons, and basically laying outside, until they are really tired.
How many of us played outside? How many obese kids did you know who played outside?

I went to camp for 3 months , a whopping three thousand miles from home, when I was 8,9, 10 and 11. There was some supervision you bet, but I was not under constant surveillance. I learned to swim, ride a horse, raise a calf, feed the cows, new games, adventure, learned to Bail hay, camped and sang around a campfire…made homemade peach ice cream…picked blue berries in the White Mountains…..the best summers of my life.

I was always hungry at supper time , always happily tired at night and skinny as a rail.
I never once felt unsafe or afraid.

Even at home, we always played till dark or until our Mom whistled.

So why am I telling you all this?
I wrote a book to teach children how to be alert to behaviors, what to do if faced with bad behavior and what I had hoped to gain is empowerment for parents as well as children.

I have not seen the study Lenore discusses, with Forty year low in kidnappings,
But safety is so much more than that. It is teaching kids common sense and resourcefulness.
Think about the girl and boyscouts. Don’t they end up earning badges in being resourceful?
Knowing what to do when faced with situations, commonly called, life?

Yes, there will always be bad behavior with humans, from the playground to the grave.
But keeping a child locked up, or in a parade of careful scheduled activities is not the answer.

When you give my book, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?, 20131228-075925.jpgto a teacher, a new parent for a baby shower, to a friend, you are not just hoping to help their children become safe people, but the actual teaching of the kids then allows that parent to allow their child to become “Free Range.”
If parents each felt they have helped to develop a child into an empowered
Human being, you will see more children, emerging from their air conditioned homes,
Asking each other to go and play!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW BIKE

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A BIKE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

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Okay, that new bike is great, and shiny and fun……
But don’t forget about safety.
How to ride it safely, where to ride and with whom…….riding with a partner is always a good idea!
Watch for cars, pedestrians, download rules of the road for bikes and discuss.

You cannot take a child, attached gumby- style, to a bike and screaming for all they are worth, put them in a car….there is a story in my book about this also..
see lovely illustration from my book, above.

In my book page 81, I tell the story of The girl who was too much trouble!
It is Mickenzie’s Story,
She and her brother were coming home from piano lessons, riding their bikes down a dirt road.
They stopped to look at the grazing horses. They moved their bikes over for the oncoming truck, but it pulled over and stopped. The man chatted with the kids and talked about the horses. Soon he asked for their help, looking for his dog, told the kids he knew their parents and was sure it would be ok with them…if he could just put their bikes in his truck…….maybe he had a picture of the dog in his truck he said as he began opening the doors…..
Mickenzie’s had heard about tricks, at home and at a school assembly, watching, listening, and this felt bad,
( in my book I get children to tune into their natural intuition when it comes to behavior, if it feels bad, it is bad, get away)
Mickenzie’s knew there were people at the end of the lane and instructed her brother, loudly, to ride, go to them, get help, ….as the man abruptly picked her up, and tried to force her into his truck. With her foot she slammed the first door shut….he successfully pushed her through another door, started the truck, and attempted to drive. Mickenzie’s was having none of this, hitting/kicking at him she told him in no uncertain terms he was NOT taking her anywhere. Unable to drive, the man stopped the truck,
Told her to get out she would have to climb over him……(ugh!) she does this, jumps down and runs in the same direction her brother had gone, and sees him returning with the friends down the lane.
Victory. The man in this attempted abduction, was caught less than 24 hrs later, identified, and this brave girl, later the following month, sat on the witness stand, told her story, and put him behind bars.
She’s a wonderful young woman, a college student now……her parents wrote one of the forewords for my book…..she even takes time for Internet scrabble with me just to stay in touch😊

I use this story to talk about riding in pairs, about how you can use a bike to get away, about
And how to use the plan ( outlined in the book) to say no to any bad behavior, and to go, and tell their safe adults. That they have the power to save themselves if they ever need it.
It is a simple, easy to use plan that covers many situational safety problems as children grow.
Every child will run into their own problems..but they should each have a similar plan,
No, Go and Tell.

Read more about it in What Should You Do? For parents and teachers of children ages 5-13

http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61777-229-0
http://www.amazon.com/What-Should-Melinda-Reynolds-Tripp/dp/1616631406

A BIKE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

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Teach Your Children and Grandchildren to Swim!

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” LOOK MOMMY, DADDY I’M DOING IT!”

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Take a quick Picture before heading out on a day at the Fair, Aquarium, Discovery day together!

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DROWNING DOES NOT LOOK LIKE DROWNING

In many child drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying. Here’s what to look for.
By Mario Vittone
Updated Tuesday, June 4, 2013, at 7:14 AM

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine; what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not 10 feet away, their 9-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know—from 50 feet away—what the father couldn’t recognize from just 10? Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew know what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In some of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.* Drowning does not look like drowning—Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the Instinctive Drowning Response like this:

“Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”
This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
Eyes closed
Hair over forehead or eyes
Not using legs—vertical
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
Trying to roll over on the back
Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK—don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

(See a video of the Instinctive Drowning Response.)

This article is reprinted from Mario Vittone’s blog. Join him on Facebook.

Correction, June 5, 2013: This article originally cited a CDC statistic in referring to the number of child drownings in which a nearby adult watches the child with no idea a drowning is occurring. According to the CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, no CDC studies have measured the number of such occurrences. The reference has been removed. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Read more of Slate’s family coverage, including stories on why you shouldn’t give your kid a training bike, how Emily Bazelon dealt with losing her kid at the shore, and the real reason your child wets the bed.

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