Online Photo Safety for Kids

Online Photo Safety for Kids

online safety for kids

Online photo safety for kids should be on every parent’s mind.  It’s not uncommon nowadays for photos of children to be posted online before they are even born, but is it safe?  Announcing your pregnancy by posting a baby scan is a ‘thing’ on Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t stop once there, a recent survey found that an average parent will post almost 1,000 photos of their child online before he or she turns five.  We live in an age of “sharenting,’ so we have to learn how to navigate this new trend in a safe manner.

Our children learn most from watching us and copying what we do.  If you want your child to only post photos when they have the consent of the people in them, ask their permission before posting photos of them. Likewise, if they ask you to remove a photo that they find embarrassing, take it down. The chances are your child will do the same if they find themselves in a similar situation.

There are no hard and fast rules for this topic, however, there are some things to consider before you hit the share button:

online safety for kids
Edit your life:

Be selective about what you share online.  Don’t post photos of everything that happens in your life no matter how cute you think your child looks in them.  Think twice about sharing photos taken in bathroom and bedroom settings. You can’t control the context in which the photos will be seen.

Ask yourself will this photo cause my child embarrassment now or in the future?

Everything we post online creates a digital footprint and for young people maintaining a good online reputation is becoming increasingly important. Parents should consider any long-term risks of sharing photos of their children online. Some photographs have the potential to go viral.

Check Your Settings:

Social networks regularly update settings, so it is important to review your settings. If you are a regular user of Facebook, the social network allows users to do a Privacy Checkup which makes it very easy for users to understand who they are sharing content with.

 

Who will see my photos?

Ensure you are happy with your privacy settings and understand who may potentially see your images. It is a good idea to regularly review your friend/connections on social networks. Some networks, for example, Facebook allow users to limit/customize who they share posts with.  Some things will always be public. Parents should beware that some posts/photos are always public for example; Twitter profile photos, Facebook cover images and featured photos.

Is your location service disabled? 

Many social networks and apps allow you to share your location. Some people may not be aware that this function is automatically enabled on some apps and networks.  Consider reviewing this when sharing family photos.

I realize that we ultimately want that ‘connection’ with people- to share our lives, our families, our children, and a great way to do this is through posting photos on social media and online.  The virtual world has brought us an entirely new way of interacting and connecting with others, but we just want to ensure that we do so in the safest way possible. 

Let’s do it responsibly, and you will find that if they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” we will be sharing beautiful novels with our friends, families and loved ones every time we post our cherished photos!

For more information, check out these resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Save Kids from ‘Cranky Time’ During Daylight Savings

Save Kids from ‘Cranky Time’ During Daylight Savings

It’s that daylight savings time of year again, and you know what that means…cranky kids, temper tantrums, and no sleep for you, right?  Well, not necessarily…we’ve got you covered. The ‘spring ahead, fall back’ time changes can mix up everyone’s schedule.  The loss of just one hour can really affect a child’s attention span, appetite, and overall mood. You can minimize the effects of daylight savings time by being prepared.

Here are some helpful tips on how to get kids back on track so everyone can get a good night’s sleep. 

Allow Time for Gradual Adjustment:

It takes some time to adapt to a loss of sleep.  So if your child normally goes to bed at 8 p.m., put him/her to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on, until they are going to bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible.  This step-by-step process is not as much a shock to the system, as it is when you abruptly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the time change. If you’re having trouble getting your child to bed earlier, which is often the case in older kids, then just focus on getting them up in the morning a bit earlier instead.  When daylight savings time ends in the fall, this gradual approach can still help — follow the same guidelines — just push the wake-up times and bedtimes a little later rather than earlier.

To Make Bedtime Easier, Control the Lights:

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s internal clock. The levels of this hormone increase in the evening as it becomes dark to help induce sleep. Melatonin levels decrease when it’s light out to assist with wakefulness and alertness.  Daylight savings time alters your natural cycle, and the results can be particularly difficult for kids. I recommend dimming the lights in your child’s bedroom and turning off all electronics about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. According to The National Sleep Foundation, these devices can reduce sleep time, sleep quality, and daytime alertness because of light exposure and brain engagement right before bedtime. 

In the morning, you should try to get your child into the light as much as possible. Natural sunlight is best, so if weather permits, make sure there is sunlight entering your home, or turn on the lights so it’s nice and bright! To help when you “fall back,” make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening.  Be careful to ensure that your child’s room doesn’t become too bright too soon in the early morning.

Establish a Routine:

When daylight savings time begins or ends, it’s especially important to stick with a bedtime routine.  Your child is now dealing with a change in schedule that might throw him off.  It’s absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime because that’s what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. One option is giving your child a warm bath, reading him a book, and snuggling together before lights out.

Get Enough Sleep Beforehand:

In the days before you change your clocks, make sure your child is getting plenty of shut-eye. Sleep results in more sleep, so going into daylight savings time well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky and overtired, which can make falling asleep even harder.

 

Be Supportive and Understanding:

In the days following daylight savings time, try to be more forgiving if your child is throwing extra temper tantrums or seems to be particularly frustrated or difficult in any way.  The time change can cause these short-term changes in your child’s mood, but your understanding and support will help them adjust a little better to the new schedule.

 

Take Care of You:

And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself too!  Many adults feel sluggish and cranky themselves after the time switch, so make sure you’re getting the rest you need as well. Thankfully, these effects are all short-lived — within a week or so, everything should be back to normal.

As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you!  Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!

 

For more information, check out these resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Gun Safety for Kids from a Firefighter Dad

Gun Safety for Kids from a Firefighter Dad

My husband Dave is the dad behind PreparaMom and today, he’s sharing with us tips for educating your children about gun safety. David has served for years as a firefighter and a paramedic. In that time, he has learned the value of being prepared for any situation or emergency which is why I tapped him for help with this very important topic.

First, let’s talk about exactly how you should approach talking with your kids on gun safety. 

What kids should know about gun safety:

1. Awareness

Teach your children to be aware of what a gun looks like and that it can come in many sizes and shapes. Emphasize they are not toys and should never be touched or handled. If a child finds a gun lying out, they should not touch it, but should let you or an adult know. This includes when they are at a friend’s house. If their friend tries to touch or handle a gun, they should let an adult know immediately.

McGruff the Crime Dog has a very simple approach that may be helpful for you when communicating with your children about firearm safety as well as helpful for your kids to remember:

Stop.

Don’t Touch.                                                                        

Get Away.

Tell an Adult.

2. Behavior

If a child becomes really curious and wants to use a gun, redirect their curiosity to something safer. Nerf guns or blunted bows and arrows are good options for this and can be used in target practice. 

Reinforce that even these safer options should NEVER be pointed at anyone and they should NEVER shoot a person (including themselves) or an animal with any type of gun – toy or otherwise. The idea is this should only be used for target practice.

What Parents Should Know About Gun Safety

1. Education

The most important thing is to educate your child about how to behave around guns. Children should never handle a gun or treat one like a toy. If they see one at a friend’s house, they must be taught to alert an adult so that it can be secured. And kids should never distract someone who is handling a gun, even if they think it is unloaded (like when someone is cleaning or assembling a firearm).

2. Security

Make sure guns are locked away. All guns should be kept in a secret location that a child does not have access to, like a parent’s bedroom or home office. The gun should be secured with a gun lock that will prevent it from being fired. But it should also be placed inside a locked strongbox or gun safe and the child should not have access to the key or combination.

Gun safety is probably one of the most important conversations that you can have with your kids. The big thing to remember here is to not make this a scary issue. This world provides us with plenty of things to worry about and you don’t want your child growing up afraid of the world around them. But a healthy respect for guns and how to be safe around them is extremely vital.

Want to learn more about firearm safety? Here’s a list of helpful resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Active Shootings: How to Prepare to Save Your Family’s Life

Active Shootings: How to Prepare to Save Your Family’s Life

Active Shootings: How To Protect Your Family's Life - PreparaMom

Photo By: www.ready.marines.mil

 

 

It’s a sad but true reality – active shootings. While we can debate how we got to this place, what’s most helpful right now is learning how you can be prepared to save you and your family’s life. 

Imagine you’re out at the mall, department store, or park. You’re going about your day and checking off lists, watching your kids play or enjoying time in a movie. Suddenly you hear what sounds like firecrackers but followed by screaming and panic. Your reality just changed. You’re in an active shooter situation.

What do you do next?

Three options for dealing with an active shooter situation:

 

Run

  • Try to escape the area as quickly as possible. When you go into an area, be aware of at least two exit routes and have an escape plan in mind. 
  • Be committed to escaping regardless if others refuse to get out
  • Help others escape if possible
  • Keep your hands up and visible if you encounter law enforcement
  • Call 911 when you are in a safe area

Hide

  • If you can’t escape, find a location where the active shooter is less likely to find you
  • Your hiding place should be out of view
  • Provide protection from gunfire if possible (brick, concrete, cinder block wall)
  • Use an office or room with a locked door. Use heavy furniture or office equipment to block the door.

 

If the active shooter is nearby, 

  • Turn off the lights
  • Silence your cell phone or any other source of noise (TV, radio, etc.)
  • Be silent

If possible, call 911 and alert the dispatcher where the shooter’s location is. If you cannot talk, leave the line open to allow the dispatcher to listen.

Remember, you may have to hide for hours until law enforcement secures the threat. 

 

Fight

  • As a last resort, only fight when you cannot hide and your life and/or your family are in imminent danger. 
  • Act as aggressively as possible and fully commit to your actions 
  • Improvise weapons using items around you (fire extinguishers, chairs, etc.)

 

Law enforcement that arrives first on the scene have the primary job of eliminating the threat, it is unfortunately not to render help. They must stay focused on the situation and work to end the threat as soon as possible. 

Help will come as more first responders arrive. It’s an unfortunate reality that we are faced with these situations but being aware of your surroundings and having a plan of action will help you survive. Take a look at this video made by the City of Houston, TX that reviews that same 3 tips for active shooter survival. 

 

 

Active Shooter Safety Resources:

 

Safety Guidelines for Armed Subjects, Active Shooter Situations, Indiana University Police Department, April 2007

Safety Tips & Guidelines Regarding Potential “Active Shooter” Incidents Occurring on Campus, University of California Police

Shots Fired, When Lightning Strikes (DVD), Center for Personal Protection and Safety, 2007

https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/active-shooter-how-to-respond-508.pdf

Items to Consider Removing from Your Purse

Items to Consider Removing from Your Purse

Items to Consider Removing from Your Purse - PreparaMom

If you’re like a lot of us out there, you probably feel like your entire life is tied up inside of your purse. On some days, it may feel like you are carrying Mary Poppins carpet bag of nanny goodies, able to open up your purse and pull out a wallet, checkbook, umbrella, diapers, and wipes along with the unimaginable and unrealistic like a case of water, an emergency kit, and a the ark of the covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

But, if you’ve ever had your purse lost or stolen, then you know that it can be a nightmare of epic proportions. So, here are some of the things I am definitely not carrying in my purse anymore:

  • Extra credit cards

There was a time when I used to have every major department store and credit card on me at all times, just in case I needed to fly into action and do some emergency shopping at the local Macy’s. This isn’t necessary.

Instead, keep just one credit card and your debit card on hand and leave the rest at home.

Think about if you do lose multiple cards to a thief, then you have to cancel all those accounts which can be a major pain. Many people are getting the “phone wallets” that give them a cardholder on their cell phone. This can be a great idea since most of us keep our phones on us at all times and usually in our hip pockets, which make them much harder to steal than the average purse snatching.

  • Checkbook

This absolutely has to stay at home from now on. If you think about it, most of us only use checks now when we are mailing in bills. (And some of us not even then.) Everywhere you go now takes plastic, so leave the checkbook at home.

My former self-defense instructor (a retired cop) pointed out that your checkbook has your home address on it which not only makes you easier to track down, but it can also be used to order more checks and destroy your credit rating and bank account.

  • Limited Cash

Again, why take the risk when you carry your debit card? If your card is stolen, you can shut it down before it is used. But if your cash is stolen, that’s it; it’s gone.

It’s also a good idea not to carry cash or limit the amount you have with you because (as many people will point out) if you carry cash, then you are more likely to spend it. When you pass by a soda machine or snack machine, you may think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I’ve got some money” and then you spend it. But if you don’t have it, then you can’t spend it on things you don’t need.

 

Quick tip to help in case your purse is lost or stolen.

Before you leave the house next time, take a picture of the front and back of your credit cards.  This will give you the information you need to call the right number quickly to report the card stolen and to have the credit card number handy. You can write this information as well, if you prefer.

 

Can you afford to lose your purse?

The important thing to decide when you are packing your purse is this: “If someone were to steal my purse or if I should lose it, how dangerous or problematic would it be for me to no longer have these items?” And for many of us, our purses have become such a “catch-all” for junk that we might not even know what was in there if it did go missing. It’s better to play it safe and keep it simple.

 

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Firefighter Dad Dave Shares Parenting Advice

Firefighter Dad Dave Shares Parenting Advice

Firefighter Parent Advice - PreparaMom

International Firefighter’s Day, a day nationally recognized to our brave men and women who protect our homes, is May 4th this year.  My husband Dave is one of those courageous firefighters.

He is a big part of the operations here at PreparaMom and PreparaKit and I thought it might be nice for our audience to get to know what he does as a firefighter.

 

What Does a Firefighter Do All Day?

 

First, a little background. Some have mentioned to me that they have this totally inaccurate picture of firefighters as guys who sit around the station and wash the fire-truck while they just wait for a call to come in. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

Firefighters have to stay in peak physical condition because their lives and the lives of others depend on it. That means two hours a day of mandatory gym time, plus constant training and practice to maintain skills and competency.

Firefighter Parent Advice - PreparaMom

Staying in Peak Condition is Part of the Job for Firefighters!

 

Firefighters have to carry 100+ pounds of equipment when they go into a burning building and handle high-pressure hoses that could knock most people over. For a better idea of how much it takes, you can check this video out.

Inspections, community help and outreach, as well as equipment checks and maintenance, means no real time to yourself because at any moment, it’s expected that you have to be out the door within two minutes of a call and to the scene of the emergency within five minutes. Let’s just say they learn real quick to use the potty quickly! ?

 

What Advice Does a Firefighter Have for Parents?

 

Dave has a pretty good idea of how to be prepared at a moment’s notice to be on the move. Trust me, I know first hand!

I specifically asked him to share any unique advice for parents from a firefighter perspective to help parents be better prepared for emergency situations.

Dave’s main emphasis is on preparation and awareness. Seeing as this is the main part of his job, it is no wonder that he would be keen on these areas!

 

Being Prepared Means Staying Calm In Emergency Situations

 

Preparation as a parent can mean making sure you fill up your gas tank as soon as it gets near a quarter tank, ideally half a tank. Having gas in your tank means you can be assured to get as far away as you need or get to the help you need. This is something he is always on me to keep up with.

Dave always makes sure to keep supplies in the trunk of our car for emergency situations. Supplies such as water, first aid kit (this is a really good one!?), blanket, disposable gloves, utility knife, and flashlights.

 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

 

With awareness, you need to be alert to what is going on around you at all times. Kids usually do fire drills at school and now they’re adding active shooter drills as well. But sadly, these alarming situations can happen anywhere and at any time.

I never realized this but whenever we fly on an airplane, he is already checking out the exits and talking to our son about the exit plan. If you’re on an airplane, prepare your child by talking to them about what they would do if there was an emergency and where they would go if they had to exit the plane quickly. (Don’t blow off those instructions before the flight given to you by the flight attendant.)

If you’re in a restaurant or movie theater, you need to be able to find two different exit points you can use. Head for the nearest one; but if it’s blocked, you should be able to adjust and switch to a different exit.

He is always telling our kids that it’s fine if you get scared in a situation. But don’t lose your head and start panicking. This is when you’re going to get into a serious problem. As long as you know in advance what to do, you can fall back on that and stay calm and collected while you get out of harm’s way.

 

Thank a Firefighter for the Work They Do!

 

Firefighters have a tough job as evidenced by all the work and training that they do. I couldn’t be more proud of my husband.

This year, for Firefighter’s Day, thank a firefighter for all that they do in the community. And spend this time talking to your children about what they can learn from firefighters so they can stay prepared and be safe year-round.

 

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

 

At the beach, the park or playing ball – be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.