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Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

cross roadI am amazed at how many educational websites will give parents and teachers ideas about teaching preschool children to safely cross the road by themselves!!!! Most children are simply not mature enough to cross the road by themselves before the age of 10, I would say 8 at the very youngest.

I believe that the most important traffic safety we can teach our young children is to hold their parent’s or caregivers hands while crossing the street. I have a two year old who often refuses to hold my hand while crossing the street so I know this can be a hard concept to teach! Children at this age crave independence and often act on impulse. And they simply do not understand the consequence of being hit by a car.

One activity that is likely to be helpful in teaching your child this concept is to gather up toys such as cars, little people and traffic lights and signs. If you do not have these types of toys draw or print off clip arts of these objects.

Choose a time when your child is relaxed and playful and set up your traffic scene together. Talk about the cars driving on the road, the cars stopping at a stop sign or light and then have your ‘people’ walk across the ‘street’ holding hands. Be sure to emphasize that you and your child walk across the street it is important that he holds your hand.

Play this game often to help your children remember to hold a grownups hand while crossing the street.

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greencross

Children need to learn how to cross the road safely. In 2010, around 19 child pedestrians (aged 0-11) were killed or seriously injured every week in Britain. The Green Cross Code is taught in schools but needs to be reinforced from home – and not just by memorising the words, but by parents practicing and explaining the code to their children. Do you know it? Do you follow it? The code is for everyone.

The Green Cross Code
1. First find the safest place to cross

If possible, cross the road at: subways, footbridges, islands, zebra, puffin, pelican or toucan crossings, or where there is a crossing point controlled by a police officer, a school crossing patrol or a traffic warden.
Otherwise, choose a place where you can see clearly in all directions, and where drivers can see you.
Try to avoid crossing between parked cars and on sharp bends or close to the top of a hill. Move to a space where drivers and riders can see you clearly.
There should be space to reach the pavement on the other side.
2. Stop just before you get to the kerb

Do not get too close to the traffic. If there is no pavement, keep back from the edge of the road but make sure you can still see approaching traffic.
Give yourself lots of time to have a good look all around.
3. Look all around for traffic and listen

Look all around for traffic and listen.
Look in every direction.
Listen carefully because you can sometimes hear traffic before you can see it.
4. If traffic is coming, let it pass

Look all around again and listen.
Do not cross until there is a safe gap in the traffic and you are certain that there is plenty of time.
Remember, even if traffic is a long way off, it may be approaching very quickly.
5. When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run

Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross, in case there is any traffic you did not see, or in case other traffic appears suddenly.
Look out for cyclists and motorcyclists traveling between lanes of traffic.
Do not cross diagonally.
How you can help your child and other children

Set a good example. Use the Green Cross Code yourself.
Show your child how to use the Code to cross the road when you’re out and about.
Let your child show you that they know how to cross the road safely – start practising on quiet roads first.
Point out dangerous places to cross on local roads. Point out safer places as well. Some places may be safer at some times of the day than at others.
Use pedestrian crossings even if it involves a small detour.
Talk about the importance of not using a mobile phone or texting while crossing the road.
Remind your child that they cannot hear traffic if listening to music through earphones or see it properly if wearing a large hood.
But let’s get one thing clear: it’s still important for children to be outside.
Walking is good for children’s health and fitness and we support parents who encourage their children to walk as much as possible. Taking your child in the car for short journeys puts more traffic on the road and adds to the problem.
Children can be safer on the streets if we show them how.

Crossing between parked cars

Try not to cross between parked vehicles, but if there is nowhere else to cross:

Choose a place where there is a space between two cars and make sure that it is easy to get to the pavement on the other side of the road.
Make sure neither car is about to move off – look for drivers in the cars, lights and listen for engines.
Don’t cross near large vehicles. You could be standing in a blind spot, where the driver cannot see you.
Walk to the outside edge of the cars and stop. Here you can be seen by drivers and you can look all around for traffic.
Use the Green Cross Code. When the road is clear, cross, still looking and listening as you go.

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keep-kids-safe

1. Kid Safety in the Kitchen
Toddlers gravitate to the kitchen; after all, that’s where families spend much of their time. Cook on the back burners and turn pot handles away so they aren’t in reach. Drink hot beverages out of spill-proof and unbreakable travel mugs to avoid burns. Never leave dangling cords; unplug items when not in use and store, and those that are used, keep cords wraped tightly with a twist tie. Store cleaning fluids in locked cabinet out of sight and temptation. Don’t allow access into pantry.
2. Kid Safety in the Bathroom
For safety and to avoid expensive plumber calls, keep the toilet lid down and locked when not in use. It’s a good idea to limit access to the bathroom with a safety gate or lock, if practical. There is too much temptation. Never leave medications around; keep locked and out of reach. Also keep items like mouthwash, toothpaste and other kid hazard items away. Plungers can make a fun (if not disgusting) play toy to a toddler; don’t leave one by the toilet. Always drain the bathtub.
3. Kid Safety in the Family Room
With kids, when is there ever not things on the floor? Be on constant guard for small toys and objects that can be choking hazards, batteries, coins, marbles, and pieces of toys from older siblings (wheels, doll shoes, etc.) Keep elecrical cords out of reach and use outlet covers. Child-proof window treatment cords. Secure televisions and other electronic equipment to avoid any potential for tipping over on a child. Use safety gates on stairs. Remove temptations from tabletops.
4. Kid Safety in the Bedroom
Lamps, flowing curtains or drapes, area rugs, and even candles are items that add to the ambiance of a master bedroom but could prove to be a danger zone for young children. Cutesy table lamps and rocking chairs that were so precious in an infant’s room can now spell disaster if a toddler starts standing in the chair or can reach for the lamp and remove it from its stand. Be sure pictures are mounted solidly on the walls and that bookcases are also affixed to the walls, if possible.
5. Kid Safety in the Yard
Be sure to limit access to outside with locks out of reach of a curious tot. Backyard swing sets and play areas are wonderful, but make sure they are safe by having a soft surface underneath. If your yard is fenced, be sure that is locked as well. Always enclose pools, ponds or hot tubs and put a safety fence between any water source and the house. Keep kiddie pools drained when not in use. Keep power tools and garden equipment safe and out of reach; the same holds true for insecticides.
6. Kid Safety in the Car
Be sure you have your child’s car seat installed correctly and in accordance with safety regulations. Utilize a booster seat for as long as child needs one for height and weight factors (which may be longer than your child wants). Be sure that kids cannot open a door or window from their seat (utilize child locks, as needed). The sun shades help with comfort for toddlers on car trips. Set safety practices with the opening/shutting of car doors to avoid smashed finger injuries.
7. Kid Safety at Others’ Homes
Your house may be toddler proof, but neighbors and relatives may not have the need. That means parents must be on particular guard when visiting others’ homes for safety. Medicine cabinets, drawers, and other “unsafe” areas may be a temptation to toddlers, and it only takes a moment to get into danger. If possible, bring entertainment for your toddler and designate a single “safe room” for your youngster to stay in. And, always accompany your toddler to the bathroom (even if potty-trained).
8. Kid Safety Out and About
Parents greatest safety fears can sometimes be when walking with youngsters to and from stores, among parked cars, and in crowded situations–and with good reason. Toddlers are prone to darting around and insistent on walking independently. Kids should be told rules of hand-holding and other safety measures, and parents should enforce those rules at all costs. In crowded stores, consider tying a balloon on a wrist so you can see your youngster in case of an accidental separation.
9. Kid Safety and Toys
Require that your youngster wear a bike helmet and other safety gear. Create/buy a safety flag on a bike, big wheel or other toy when used outdoors so you can distinguish your child and his location at a glance. Carefully consider toys like trampolines, spinning toys, scooters, bouncing balls, in-line skates, and other popular items that can be fun but also potentially dangerous. If you do buy such an item, be sure to follow safety recommendations and supervise your child’s use closely.
10. Kid Safety and Sports
More and more parents are placing their toddler-aged children into sports for exercise and to learn fundamentals of soccer, gymnastics, baseball, basketball, and cheer. Age-appropriate programs can be a great outlet for a youngster’s energy and provide exercise and coordination activities as well. But, beware of programs that don’t take a young child’s limitations into account, or else injuries can occur.

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Summer is here and as the temperature rises it brings it with some fun, more time spent outdoors, time off work and six weeks of glorious school holidays for many.

Dogs, like people can suffer in the hot weather; following a few simple rules can help keep your dog a lot happier as the temperatures soar.

Understanding how your dog cools down and planning ahead can help stop dangerous situations from escalating and avoid potential disasters.

Every year dogs tragically die in hot vehicles or end up in the vets with sunburn or heatstroke. Enjoy the hot weather and have a great time but please don’t let your dog down this summer.

How Dogs Regulate Their Body Temperature:

Dogs are endothermic; regardless of changes in environmental temperatures, they need to maintain and regulate their own body temperature within a set and safe range. The average healthy dog’s body temperature is 101.5 ºF / 38.6 ºC.

When your dog’s body temperature increases, heat is lost from increased blood flowing at the skin surface. As a dog breathes in, air travels through the nasal passage and is cooled before it reaches the lungs (less so in short nosed dogs).

As the environment becomes warmer and/or more humid a dog will regulate body temperate and cool down using the respiratory system – mainly by panting, unlike us humans who sweat when we’re hot, dogs do not use sweating through their skin as their cooling mechanism.

A Panting Dog Is A Hot Dog: When your dog becomes hot the brain will send signals to different parts of the dog’s body. Your dog’s heart and lungs will work harder as your dog breathes in and out quicker and pants to reduce body temperature via the process of evaporation.

As a dog is panting, the mouth is open and the tongue is hanging out – breathing air in through the nose and out through the mouth, air passes over the tongue, saliva and moisture on the tongue evaporates, the blood in the tongue is cooled and circulated around the body.

Owners of Brachycephalic Dogs:

Short nosed/push in face/flat face/snub nose dogs are technically known as ‘Brachycephalic’ dogs and include breeds such as the British Bulldog, Boxer, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug as well as crossbreeds. These dogs need special care in hot weather as they can overheat quickly and this can be fatal.

Brachycephalic dogs have short noses so air being breathed in doesn’t cool so well before it reaches the lungs. They also rely on panting but have to work a lot harder at it as they are not, by design, very efficient. Less air is passing in due to shorter muzzle length and out due to the flat shape of their heads and these types of dogs can quickly become over heated and in trouble.

When a brachycephalic dog is too hot and panting, a foamy phlegm can be produced in the throat making it harder to breath, airways can become inflamed and swollen leading to further difficulties breathing and distress.

If you are the owner of a brachycephalic dog you will need to be extra careful in hot and humid weather and work to help prevent your dog from overheating.

Dogs DIE In Hot Vehicles:

Cars and other vehicles quickly become ovens in warm weather and kill dogs, end of story.

Some people leave their dog in a car whilst they just ‘pop into a shop’ or think it’s alright as it’s cloudy out – this is a big mistake to make and one which could result in the death of your dog.

Leaving water down in a vehicle or the window open is not going to stop your dog from overheating as dogs regulate their body temperature in a different way to us.

Many dogs still tragically suffer heatstroke or DIE in hot cars every year.

Please never leave a dog in a vehicle on a warm day

or risk killing your dog in a most horrendous way.

Travelling:

If you’re going to be making a road journey, first of all – do you really need to take your dog along?

If so, do you have a good working air conditioning system inside your vehicle? If not, or if your air con broke down, how are you going to keep your dog cool during the journey?

If it’s possible, travelling during the cooler parts of the day is sensible and a lot safer. Much better to travel early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. It’s horrible to be stuck in a traffic jam with a dog on a hot day, e.g. a motorway hold up could last for several hours, so if you’re caught in it, with no air con, how are you going to stop your dog from over heating? Much better to plan ahead and avoid these stressful situations in the first place.

If you have air con – cool the vehicle down before you get in it. Always take plenty of water and a bowl, take frequent breaks and park in the shade, during the breaks leave open windows and doors to help reduce the humidity inside the vehicle and keep your dog out of the sun.

Think ahead and organise some appropriate shade for the windows to help screen out some of the sunlight during the journey – a dog sat in the back of a car with the full sun coming in through the windows can quickly overheat whilst you are driving, this can be a very dangerous position for a dog to be in.

Be careful that your dog can’t jump out of an open vehicle window and don’t let him stick his head out as you’re driving – this is very dangerous, for example a small stone could take his eye out, the side mirror of a passing car could hit his head.

Plan ahead to where you are going with your dog – for example if you have planned a family day out during the summer, is your dog allowed access to where you are going? If you are going out, will there be enough shade and water for your dog at all times when you get there?

Shade & Ventilation:

We all spend more time in our gardens and outside during the summer months and it’s easy for your dog to overheat in no time at all. Your dog will need plenty of shade if outside on a warm day.

Remember that the sun moves round throughout the day, so an area can be shaded and then exposed, check out that your dog has constant access to a well shaded area at all times of the day. Shaded areas also need to be well ventilated – with a good circulation of fresh air.

Some dogs will lie out in the sun, if your dog is a sunbather, you will need to prevent this as dogs quickly overheat and can also be burnt by the sun.

Dogs are far better suited to staying indoors when it’s very hot out, in a ventilated cool area.

Drawn blinds/curtains etc can help keep a room cooler by blocking out the powerful sun’s rays.

An electric fan safely positioned can also help circulate air around; place a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes in it below the fan, this will circulate cooler air around the room.

Lying on a tiled or lino floor covering can also be cooler for your dog.

Conservatories or rooms with a lot of glass can heat up very quickly as the sun moves around during the day, so keep this in mind.

If you are leaving windows/doors open to allow air to circulate more freely do consider that it is safe to do so, for example, that your dog cannot escape through a door, jump or fall out of an open window.

Water – the Life Saver:

Dogs need a constant supply of fresh, cool (not baked in the sun hot) drinking water.

Bowls can get knocked over or played with and spilt. Before you know it your dog is dehydrating and in distress, so make sure there is plenty of water down at all times, both indoors and outside. Don’t force your dog to drink; it will drink when it wants to.

Paddling/shallow pools can help a dog to cool down and many dogs enjoy access to one. Don’t leave a dog with access to a pool unsupervised and make sure the dog can get out of the pool easily.

Rivers, canals and ponds etc can be very attractive to some, but not all, dogs who love to swim, they can also cause drowning and disease so do be careful and supervise your dog at all times when out.

Exercising – Mad dogs and Englishmen – Go out in the midday sun:

Many dogs will still run and play in the sun if allowed to – many just don’t know when to stop, but that’s your job. A dog can suffer from heatstroke due to physical activity on a warm, hot or humid day-this doesn’t always have to be in the mid summer season.

Puppies get can get very excited and play regardless of the heat, some dogs, say a Staffordshire Bull Terrier having a great time with a ball, will keep enthusiastically playing until they become exhausted. As a dog owner it is up to you to supervise and limit physical activity in hot and humid conditions – your dog will thank you for it.

It makes sense to avoid the hottest parts of the day (10am-4pm) and exercise your dog early mornings and later in the evenings when it’s naturally cooler. Dogs don’t need to go walks in the midday sun, this really is madness and every year leaves a lot of dogs gasping to breathe and in some cases down at the vets.

Many people want to get and about during the summer, enjoying long walks, cycling, jogging, time off work, it’s nice for us, but often you will see someone walking down the road in the heat of the day with a dog alongside panting away and struggling to keep up. You see, we might find it enjoyable (some of us) but your dog really shouldn’t be out as Noel Coward said; “Mad dogs and Englishmen…”. This is very true and experienced dog owners know to protect their dogs during the hottest parts of the day.

If you do need to take your dog out during the warmer parts of the day, for example you have no garden and your dog must get out to toilet, try to walk in shaded areas avoiding open spaces and hot pavements as much as possible and take water with you.

Coat types and condition:

Black dogs will absorb more heat from the sun. Long haired dogs and dogs with double coats need to be kept well groomed to maintain the coat free of tangles and remove any dead undercoat; this helps the air to circulate which allows the skin to breathe and helps your dog keep cooler.

Some owners like to shave their heavy coated dog’s abdomen and groin as this helps air to flow and disperses heat, dogs enjoy stretching out flat on a cool surface too. 

Long coated dogs, e.g. Shih Tzu’s can be trimmed back to help make them more comfortable-speak to a professional groomer about this.

Dogs don’t need to have their hair completely shaved off during the warmer weather as this will expose the skin underneath to the sun and some coat covering helps to provide protection.

The area around your dog’s bottom needs to be kept especially clean during the summer as flies can be attracted here if faeces has been lodged in the coat.

Older Dogs & Overweight Dogs:

Older dogs and dogs which are overweight need extra care in the hot weather as they can overheat a lot quicker and may be less tolerant to the heat and less able to regulate their body temperature.

Be extra vigilant and provide a shady, quiet resting space which is well ventilated with access to fresh cool water.

Dogs with weakened heart and lung function will also need extra help to stay cool in hot weather. If you’re at all concerned have a chat with your vet.

Muzzled Dogs:

Some dogs wear a muzzle when they go out as their owner has decided this is a responsible option for different reasons. Some dogs have to wear a muzzle at all times in a public place due the requirements of a control order or due to legislation.

It may be the case that you as the person responsible for a dog, cannot remove a muzzle to enable a dog to drink or pant easier without committing a criminal offence, if this is the situation, you will need to take extra precautions particularly in hot weather to safeguard the welfare of your dog.

Dogs registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs also have to be muzzled and leashed when travelling inside a vehicle. It can quickly become hot and humid inside a vehicle on a warm day, owners will need to take precautions and be extra careful when transporting a registered dog, as legally they are not allowed to remove the muzzle whilst the vehicle is itself in a public place (eg, on the road).

A muzzle which is of a design (e.g. basket type) that does not prevent your dog from opening its mouth to pant and drink is going to be very important. If a dog is unable to open its mouth to drink water and pant it cannot cool itself down – on a warm day, this could quickly lead to a distressed dog, heatstroke and a veterinary emergency.

Advice on safely muzzling your dog here.

Tarmac & Pavements:

Tarmac surfaces and pavements get hot! We don’t notice with our footwear on, but our dogs do and paws can get burnt.

Walking surfaces can also take a while to cool back down again so bear that in mind if you are taking your dog out in the evening.

Sunburn & Dehydration:

Like us, dogs can also suffer from sunburn. White dogs are particularly prone to sunburn due to a lack of pigmentation in their skin. For example white American Bulldogs and Bull Terriers.

The tips of the ears, bridge of the nose, round the eyes and abdomen are areas which can become burnt easily due to the thin skin and not much hair covering in these sensitive areas.

High factor waterproof sunscreen or complete sunblock can be applied, this will provide protection for vulnerable areas, but prevention is a must and keeping in the shade is a priority.

Use a cream which is fragrance free and suitable for a child as your dog may lick the cream off – especially when applied to his nose. If you’re using a spray be careful around the eyes – spray it onto your fingers first and wipe it on gently. You can now buy sunblock cream especially produced for dogs and pets.

Like us, dog can also become dehydrated due to a lack of fluid intake and loss of saliva when panting. Making sure your dog has constant access to plenty of fresh water will help prevent dehydration.

Signs of dehydration in a dog include a dry mouth, gums and nose, reduced skin elasticity, reduced capillary refill and sunken eyes.

If you suspect your dog is dehydrated offer your dog water in small amounts to prevent vomiting and seek veterinary advice immediately. Your vet will be able to advise further as sometimes dogs become dehydrated due to other causes and a severely dehydrated dog will need hydration therapy which will include not only fluids but electrolytes.

Dehydration can come on quickly and cause damage to internal organs so always seek veterinary advice.

Overheating & Heatstroke:

Dogs can quickly become too hot and reach a point of where their body temperature is too high and they are unable to cool themselves down and keep their body temperature within a SAFE margin.

Heatstroke can be caused by overexposure to sunlight (sunstroke) and hot and humid environments.

Your dog will need appropriate first aid to bring the body temperature down and immediate veterinary attention.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency, it can be fatal and it can also cause damage to internal organs.

Signs of Heatstroke in a dog include:

A raised body temperature, heavy and rapid panting, laboured breathing, weakness, wide eyes, red tongue, rapid pulse, disorientation, exhaustion, diarrhoea, vomiting and distress. A dog can also collapse and go into a coma.

A dog with a body temperature between 104 ºF to 106 ºF is suffering from moderate heatstroke; first aid and veterinary advice is needed straight away.

If the dog’s body temperature is 106 ºF or over the dog is said to have severe heatstroke; first aid and immediate veterinary attention is critical.

Heatstroke and sunstroke can damage internal organs and be fatal.

You need to act quickly and seek veterinary help as this is an emergency for your dog.

How to cool a dog down – First Aid:

The average temperature for a healthy dog is 101.5 ºF or 38.6 ºC.

A healthy dog’s temperature can vary from 100.5 °F to 102.5 °F (38 °C – 39.2 °C).

If a dog has/is overheating and it is unable to bring down its own temperature through panting it is going to need your help. A dog’s body temperature must be cooled down safely.

  • Move the dog into the shade if out in the sun, move into a well ventilated (fresh air flow) area where it is cool.
  • Offer cool water but don’t force the dog to drink
  • Soak the dog in cool water. Freezing water will cause blood vessels to constrict so use cool water not freezing cold water and wet down your dog’s body all over making sure the water isn’t just running off the coat but is soaking right through to the skin. Turning a hose on a dog may frighten him, so try to quickly soak him instead.
  • Standing a dog in a paddling pool or shallow bath of cool water will cool him down, wet him all over, soaking the back of his neck will help cool down the blood going to his brain, but if he can’t stand let him lie and soak him through whilst he lays down.
  • If you are out and limited on water, soak cold water on your dog’s belly, in his groin and round his neck, this will help cool the hot blood running through larger blood vessels. Get him out the sun and in the shade. Offer water to drink.
  • Short muzzled dogs may have a build up of foamy type phlegm in their throat-a short squirt of Jiff Lemon to the back of the throat mayl help cut through this, not nice, but if the dog can’t breathe this is an emergency.
  • If possible point an electric fan his way to aid cooling.
  • Stay calm and talk to your dog.
  • If you have access to the phone ring through to the vet immediately and seek advice on what to do next or send an adult for help.
  • Keep the dog soaked in cool water, in the shade with plenty of fresh air and check his rectal temperature every ten minutes if you can, write it down with the time taken and tell your vet.
  • Remember not to over cool your dog, you’re trying to bring his rectal temperature back down-stop cooling at 103°F (39.4°C) Check the temperature – you don’t want his body temperature dropping too low-hypothermia.
  • When travelling to the vets with a overheated dog, soak towels in cold water and lay or sit your dog on a cold towel. Cool the vehicle down first before you get in it. Allow plenty of air to circulate inside the vehicle on the way to the vets – this aids evaporation. Take cold water with you for your dog to drink.
  • If you have managed to cool down your dog, still contact your veterinary clinic for advice.

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depositphotos_14168978-Cartoon-kids (1)

There is a topic in our home, that when broached, causes a massive divide. It is not money, nor jealousy or even sex.

It is babysitters.

You see, a few years ago we made a huge seachange. Leaving Sydney, we packed up our kids and made a new life for ourselves in far north coastal NSW. It was a great decision for us except for one thing, one very important thing that we left behind – the grandmothers! We left our mums behind. What were we thinking? We also left the aunties, the cousins and the friends with kids. In fact we left everybody we trusted who could possibly babysit our kids if ever we needed. What dopes!

“That’s OK, it’s just life, it won’t be forever,” says my husband (who has never had a pap smear with three spectators).

My husband is against the idea of using a babysitter. Very against. My husband also has a second job as a musician that sees him out of the home ‘jamming’ (ahem, read drinking beer in a warehouse) and gigging at pubs on the weekends. A job that means he has conversations with people that are older than three years of age who, more often than not, buy him drinks of the alcoholic variety.

I, on the other hand, work from home with the kids … in the home … with me … twenty four hours a day. All day, every day, no break ever.

So while the husband has a strong opposition to leaving the children with somebody we don’t know, I have to stop myself grabbing random teens and tempting them to my home with offers of unlimited pizza and permission to snog their “boifs” in my lounge room.

It’s fine right? Everybody does it. I mean, the husband didn’t read the Baby-sitters Club books growing up. That’s probably why he is so opposed. If he did, he’d know that those kids were, what, seven? Everybody in their whole town let them babysit their kids!

Truth be told, I’m not actually sure what I’d do if I got a break. I’ve spent so much time invested in the for-and-against argument for the cause that I’ve forgotten what I am meant to do if I actually win this battle. Can you get a babysitter for sole purpose of having a bath and shaving both legs?

Regardless, my journey has led me to some useful information, and if you are in the market for offloading leaving your children to the care of a trusted individual you might find this handy, too.

This is great advice from Ella Walsh that covers pretty much everything you need to know about getting started with a babysitter

Choosing a babysitter

As a general rule of thumb, the younger the child being cared for, the more mature you want the babysitter to be. You need to find someone who has the right amount of maturity, but who can still have fun with your child. And while there is no legal minimum age for babysitters, and young people mature at different ages, generally a young child needs a mature adult who is capable of attending to all their needs.

The older the charge, the less hands-on help they need, so the younger the babysitter can be. Generally, a sixteen year-old who can easily look after your eight year-old, will find caring for an eight month-old beyond their capabilities.

Obviously, age isn’t the only thing you need to consider when choosing a babysitter. If you are considering employing a babysitter who is unknown to you, ask for references – and then make sure that you ring and check them.

What should I ask a prospective babysitter?

While you interview any would-be babysitter, always keep in mind that they will be spending time with your children, so ultimately you’ve got to try to judge whether your child will enjoy their company – do they have a suitable temperament? Do you think your child will click with them? Are they engaging to talk to? Beyond that, you should also ask some practical questions to see if they tick all your boxes:

Do you have any references?
What is your previous experience looking after children? What ages were they?
Do you have any first aid training?
What would you do in an emergency?
What do you like best about babysitting?
What would you do if you were unsure about how to handle a situation?
What are you interested in doing with my child while I’m absent?
REMEMBER!

This is your chance to get to know your babysitter – ask all the questions you want to, even if they do seem trivial.

How much should I pay my babysitter?

Babysitting rates are usually hourly, and can vary from babysitter to babysitter. When you’re negotiating a rate, consider the following:

How many children will they be looking after?
What are the ages of the children (how much hands-on care will they be required to give)?
How long will you need to hire them for?
Will their rate increase for any time worked after midnight?
What do other families in the neighbourhood pay?
How old is your babysitter and how much experience do they have?
If your babysitter is young (and can’t drive), organise with them beforehand how they will be getting to and from your house.

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abt-cartoon

My bicycle’s the fastest
that the world has ever seen;
it has supersonic engines
and a flame-retardant sheen.

My bicycle will travel
a gazillion miles an hour —
it has rockets on the handlebars
for supplemental power.

The pedals both are jet-propelled
to help you pedal faster,
and the shifter is equipped
with an electric turbo-blaster.

The fender has a parachute
in case you need to brake.
Yes, my bike is undeniably
the fastest one they make.

My bicycle’s incredible!
I love the way it feels,
and I’ll like it even more
when Dad removes the training wheels.

–Kenn Nesbitt

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Most children love to cycle, and it’s a great way for them to keep fit and healthy. It takes a while to learn, but once they’ve got a bike many children will want to push the boundaries, cycling further and faster. With a few safety tips, you can help them learn to cycle responsibly.

Did you know?

  • Young children aren’t ready to go on the roads until they’re appropriately trained, for example through the Bikeability scheme.Children completing Bikeability Level 2, typically at around 10-11 years, should be able to demonstrate the skills and understanding to be able to make a trip safely to school, work or leisure on quiet roads.
  • Some children think they’re ‘uncool,’ but cycle helmets are likely to save their lives in a crash. The chance of a child dying in a cycle accident, or suffering serious head injury, is lower if they are wearing a helmet.

Safety reminders – keeping your children safe on their bikes

Babies, toddlers and very young children.

These little ones aren’t ready to cycle yet, although some parents like to take their children out on bikes with them. 

Baby cycle seats. There are a number of cycle seats you can buy for babies and young children. If you’re buying a seat for your baby, it should comply with the safety standard BS EN 14344:2004. If you get them a helmet too they’ll be protected even if you do have an accident.

Road safety. If you’re an experienced cyclist you’ll probably know the roads well. It goes without saying that if you cycle carefully and make sure you wear reflective clothing, your baby or toddler will be much safer in their cycle seat.

Practice. Having the extra weight on your bike can change the way you cycle. You might want to have a practice on quiet roads or off the road before heading out. It can also be a good way to get your child used to the helmet and child seat.

Young grinning boy putting on a cycle helmet

First bike

By the age of five many children will have started riding a tricycle or even a bicycle, usually with stabilisers. They are getting better balance, but can still fall off very easily! 

Helmets are a must for everyone, including toddlers in child cycle seats. A helmet can prevent serious head injuries if your child falls off a bike. It’s also a good idea for them to see adults setting a good example, so if you wear a helmet you can help them see how ‘cool’ helmets are!

Off-road. It can be fun to explore your local area and find some safe places for your child to practice cycling. Local parks, paths, and gardens can all give your child a safe place to ride until they’re old enough to cycle on the road.

Exploring by bike (children aged about 7-10)

Children of this age will probably try to push the boundaries a bit – they want to ride further and faster! They’re still a bit too young for road cycling, but with the right equipment and safety tips they can have great fun on their bikes while staying safe. 

Helmets! They’ll probably be tired of hearing this by now, but they need to put their helmet on every time they go out. Some children might still need help doing up the straps and making sure the helmet is secure. It’s not worth the headache if they have an accident without one!

Children have better coordination and control at this age, so they’ll be getting more confident on their bike. They’re still not ready to cycle in traffic, though, even if they’re with Mum and Dad.

Cycling confidence (Children aged 11 and up)

Many children at this age will want to cycle to and from school, or go out on their bike with friends. It’s OK for them to ride on the road – but they should be properly trained to cope with traffic – and there’s lots you can do to help prepare them for the risks.

Most schools now offer cycle training for children. If you can encourage them to do the training, they’ll build their confidence and be able to deal with the road risks more easily.

A working bike is a safe bike! Doing tire checks, brake checks, and looking for damage are all part of owning a bike. If you do these checks with your child you can teach them how to recognise problems and (if you know how!) help fix them.

It might not always be stylish, but high-visibility clothing saves lives – fluorescent for daytime and reflective for after dark. Even during the daytime, bright jackets are easier to spot than dull ones. Make sure drivers can always see your child by making them stand out.

It’s easy to forget that cyclists can be dangerous too. Help your child learn about the risks of the road by talking to them about their responsibility. Not riding on pavements and checking for pedestrians and other cyclists is a crucial part of their learning to ride.

Cycle training at school

If you’d like to get your child cycling, cycle training can give them the confidence and skills they need to ride safely.

Bikeability is one of Cycling England’s flagship schemes. Children can sign up to it at different levels, depending on their age and cycling ability.

Cycle Training Wales teaches children and adults in Wales how to ride, and also how to maintain their bikes.

Cycling Scotland offer courses for children in Primary 6 or 7. The courses teach them how to safely cycle to school on the roads.

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110751

 

The sun is couched, the sea-fowl gone to rest, 
And the wild storm hath somewhere found a nest; 
Air slumbers–wave with wave no longer strives, 
Only a heaving of the deep survives, 
A tell-tale motion! soon will it be laid, 
And by the tide alone the water swayed. 
Stealthy withdrawings, interminglings mild 
Of light with shade in beauty reconciled– 
Such is the prospect far as sight can range, 
The soothing recompence, the welcome change. 
Where, now, the ships that drove before the blast, 
Threatened by angry breakers as they passed; 
And by a train of flying clouds bemocked; 
Or, in the hollow surge, at anchor rocked 
As on a bed of death? Some lodge in peace, 
Saved by His care who bade the tempest cease; 
And some, too heedless of past danger, court 
Fresh gales to waft them to the far-off port 
But near, or hanging sea and sky between, 
Not one of all those winged powers is seen, 
Seen in her course, nor ‘mid this quiet heard; 
Yet oh! how gladly would the air be stirred 
By some acknowledgment of thanks and praise, 
Soft in its temper as those vesper lays 
Sung to the Virgin while accordant oars 
Urge the slow bark along Calabrian shores; 
A sea-born service through the mountains felt 
Till into one loved vision all things melt: 
Or like those hymns that soothe with graver sound 
The gulfy coast of Norway iron-bound; 
And, from the wide and open Baltic, rise 
With punctual care, Lutherian harmonies. 
Hush, not a voice is here! but why repine, 
Now when the star of eve comes forth to shine 
On British waters with that look benign? 
Ye mariners, that plough your onward way, 
Or in the haven rest, or sheltering bay, 
May silent thanks at least to God be given 
With a full heart; “our thoughts are ‘heard’ in heaven.” 

William Wordsworth

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holiday-destinations-india

You’ve finally got a hassle free week, to spend in whichever way you like. Can’t think of what to do? This is precious free time, and it would be a bad idea to waste it. If you’ve finally got some break time and have no idea how to spend it, then don’t panic. Just read this article…

1Sleep. Have you always wanted to sleep in, but had to get up because of work/school? Well now is your perfect chance. Turn off your alarm and sleep your way through the early hours of the morning. You can also stay up late, then sleep late.
2Take A Trip Somewhere. It can be anywhere, Florida, a friend’s house, your grandmother’s farm, anywhere. Take time to kick back and see some new places, or just chill out with somebody you know. Get a change of scenery and forget your troubles.
3Learn Something New. There’s a ton of knowledge just floating around out there, waiting to be gained. Try learning a new skill, like knitting or a fresh sport. Or pick up National Geographic, turn on the TV and have a look at something educational and interesting! Research up on your favourite topics and take some time to study.
4Read. Catch up on your reading. Head out to the local library or book shop and pick up some new novels. Find a genre that suits you and take time to see what authors you like best, or get more knowledgeable about some. Reading can be educational or just fun, and there’s something out there for everybody.
5Shop. Plenty of stores have sales when there are breaks from work or school. Have a look around at your favourite shops, and see what you can get. This may be the perfect time to treat yourself, or get a present for a friend or family person. Take a friend with you and enjoy a long, hardcore shopping spree.
6Call up a friend. Catch up with one of your friends. This is a great time to brush up on a friendship. Plan an outing with a bunch of friends or just that special close buddy, and have fun together. You could even go shopping or take your trip with them!
7Practice a skill. If you’ve been trying to improve on something or been lazy, use this spare time to brush up on it. Practise singing, an instrument, sports, whatever you’ve been doing. Use this time to perfect another skill.
8Have a girl’s/guy’s day out. If you’re a mother, take your daughter out. If you’re a father, spend some “bonding” time with your son. Call a bunch of your girlfriends over a for a fun night in, or catch up with the guys for some sport or partying. Have fun with some same sex mates.
9Spend time with your child/children. Spend some quality time with the kids. Go out and do something that you all enjoy, whether it be a movie, sport, or a cosy night at home watching movies. Get to know your children even more and have some fun.
10Cook. Cooking is a fun and useful skill that anybody can learn. Pick up a cookbook or somebody skilled and get cooking! Be creative and think up your own recipes, or dream up something imaginative for dinner. Remember, the more skills you have, the less bored you’ll be.

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Top 10 UK Holiday Parks
Holiday Parks UK 

Summer is upon us. The fresh air of the great outdoors seems to call out to us, tempting us to believe that wishes for clear skies and sunshine just might come true. What better way to make the most of the fair weather season than to take a break from the humdrum of everyday life. Holiday Parks in the UK offer all the amenities for the perfect getaway, and the home-away-from-home setting means that you’ll feel yourself relaxing as soon as you’re on your way.

Holidays are taken less often than they’re deserved and with a long weekend coming up at the end of August, why not take the opportunity to explore the unknown or head for your old favourite spot. Essential Travel has put together a guide to the Top 10 Holiday Parks across the UK to cater to your every desire.

If you have a favourite UK holiday park, we would love to hear about it. Let us know on Facebook or drop a comment in the box below.

For First Timers

Perran Sands Holiday Park, Cornwall

Perran SandsImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

The untamed beaches of Cornwall make for a surfer’s paradise. And Perran Sands, with direct access to the beach and surfing school, is the perfect holiday location for anyone keen to catch a wave. The holiday park also offers heated indoor and outdoor pools and, for the less aquatically inclined, a sports court, paintball, adventure golf, kart hire, circus school and nature walks to explore Cornwall’s natural beauty. With the wide range of facilities, the convenience of a variety of restaurants and bars and the exquisite views, Peran Sands might just become your new favourite holiday destination.

Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, Devon

Devon CliffsImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

This five-star holiday park sees guests returning year after year. Nestled on the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, many caravans overlook the sea and sandy beach below. Despite the exquisite cliff-top location, the award-winning beach can be accessed directly from Devon Cliffs, so the only difficulty will be deciding just how to make the most of your time. The holiday park boasts an indoor pool, a multi-level pool complex, boat trips and a luxury spa, as well as a variety of other activities, such as abseiling, archery, ice-skating and Laser Combat. There is also a range of restaurants and bars, and almost-around-the-clock entertainment to make sure that your holiday park experience is everything you could ever want.

For Families

Church Farm Holiday Village, West Sussex

West Sussex offers families the perfect getaway. With a holiday park operating there for more than 70 years, Church Farm is the expert in happy holidays for the whole family. The five-star holiday village has direct access to a nature reserve, lagoon and shingle beach so all the wonders of nature are just a few steps away from your comfortable self-catering accommodation. For the sporting enthusiasts, there’s Crazy Golf, gyroscopes, bungee trampolines, indoor and outdoor heated pools, tennis courts, a bowling green and a nine-hole golf course. If that isn’t enough to get you packing, there is also an array of day and evening entertainment – a large part of which is catered entirely to kids. To top it all off, Church Farm is pet-friendly to make sure that every member of the family gets to be part of your holiday experience.

Primrose Valley Holiday Park, North Yorkshire

Primrose ValleyImage source: Haven Holidays /CC BY-SA

UK Holiday Parks make for the perfect family holiday experience. The wide variety of activities and entertainment mean that there’s something to suit everyone. Primrose Valley is the epitome of this – set in coastal Yorkshire with exquisite views of Filey Bay, an array of activities to keep you entertained and direct access to a sandy beach, you’re guaranteed a memorable holiday. The nearby lake offers you the opportunity to take a boat trip or to try your hand at fishing. Sporting enthusiasts can head for the zipline, climbing wall, multi-sports court or Crazy Golf. The whole family can take a leisurely bike ride to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area or get your hearts racing in Laser Combat or at the Funfair. With so many activities to choose from, the hardest part of your holiday might be deciding what to do next.

For Young People

Pleasure IslandImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

Thorpe Park Holiday Centre, Lincolnshire

Surrounded by fields and nature trails, and less than 200 yards from a sandy beach, Thorpe Park is the perfect getaway for anyone young at heart. Take the time to explore Lincolnshire’s natural beauty or make use of the great variety of activities on offer right at the holiday park. From dune buggies, paintball, abseiling and zipline to golf and lake fishing, there’s something for everyone. Head nextdoor to the Pleasure Island Theme Park to get your heart racing or wind down the day at one of the restaurants or bars while enjoying the live music and other entertainment. Thorpe Park is a favourite time and time again.

Bideford Bay Holiday Park, Devon

Bideford Bay is Devon’s answer to a memorable holiday experience. A short drive from Westaward Ho blue-flag beach and surrounded by the peaceful woodland area, this holiday park offers guests the perfect combination of exquisite natural beauty and an array of activities to ensure that you’re in the holiday spirit from the moment you arrive. Relax at the Spa Bath, head to one of the heated pools or experience the excitement of the flume or hydrodome. Sporting enthusiasts can enter the five-a-side Festival of Football and the nearby horseriding facilities are a great way to explore the area. So get your family and friends together and head to Bideford Bay for the holiday you deserve.

At The Beach

Seawick Holiday Park, Essex

What could be better than a holiday at the coast with the beach less than 500 yards away? Seawick Holiday Park is proud to be situated near to a number of beaches and offers guests the chance to really experience Essex’s beautiful coastline. There is also direct access from the park to St Osyth Beach, where Seawick Holiday guests are welcome to make use of any of the facilities. And after a day at the beach, you can head back to the holiday park to take a dip in the heated pool or try your hand at the many activities on offer. The adventure playground and on-site funfair are the cherry on top. There is also a selection of restaurants as well as breakfast and half-board available, to ensure that your holiday is completely hassle-free.

Peppermint Park Holiday Park, Devon

Dawlish Warren BeachImage source: GaryReggae / CC BY-SA

Devon’s Jurassic Coast draws tourists year round. The rural scenery and picturesque setting see holiday park guests returning year after year. Surrounded by beaches, sand dunes and lakes, and close to the ever-popular Torquay, Peppermint Park is one of the UK’s top coastal holiday parks. With the added convenience of choosing between an on-site holiday home or to bring your own caravan and with the pet-friendly atmosphere, Peppermint Park is the perfect place for a beach holiday.

For Outdoor Activities

The Orchards Holiday Village, Essex

Orchards PoolImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

For an outdoor adventure holiday, head to the Orchards Holiday Village. Just outside St Osyth with a beach and nature reserve on either side, the outdoor activities are almost endless. The holiday village has direct access to a sandy beach, there’s a fishing lake with the chance to get fishing coaching, a boating lake for boat trips and pedal boats, a nine-hole golf course, crazy golf, a putting green, a bowling green and indoor and outdoor heated pools. And after an action packed day, you can head to one of the on-site restaurants or bars or enjoy relaxing to the sounds of the live music show or tribute band.

Allhallows Leisure Park, Kent

Close enough to London to escape for the weekend, but far enough to feel like you’ve had a holiday in the countryside, Allhallows Leisure Park is one of the UK’s top holiday parks. And with a variety of outdoor activities to keep you entertained, it might just become your favourite getaway destination. Guests can partake in horseriding or throw out a line at the lake. There is also a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a multi-sports court and a bowling green, amongst other facilities. And for the water lovers, there is direct access to a sandy beach, as well as indoor and outdoor heated pools with inflatable slides and turbo paddlers. And with a variety of on-site restaurants and bars, including a pub on the banks of the Thames, you’re guaranteed activity-filled days and nights.

Allhallows Fishing Lake
Image source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA


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Child Safety: Keeping Kids Safe 

Safety Tips for Making Sure Park Outing Starts and Ends with a Smile

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    • Observe the ride with your kids first. Children should know what they will be experiencing and know how the ride may dip and turn, swing or sway, go high or drop suddenly. Answer any questions kids may have.
    • Don’t force kids to ride rides that frighten them.Kids should never be forced to ride a ride they are fearful of. Well-meaning parents could traumatize them and let’s face it, kids who become almost paralyzed with fear, scream, or become hysterical, aren’t having a good time. Ride operators report that many kid injuries needlessly occur when a child attempts to get off the ride or move erratically while the ride is in motion. Keep in mind that there is always next time when they may feel ready!
    • Never leave kids alone to watch while you ride a ride. It’s difficult to juggle riding rides when one child wants to ride something and another doesn’t. But young kids should have an adult chaperone with them at all times. Don’t fall into the, “Stay here while I ride this ride with your brother and I’ll be right back.” Too much can happen.
    • Establish a meeting place as you go through each section of the park. It is easy to become separated from your child, especially in large, crowded amusement park settings. Establish a easy-to-see place for each area of the park “just in case.” Don’t just point to an attraction and say to meet over there. Instead, walk with your kids and show them specifically where to meet (such as wait by this tree). Show kids what employees look like and any park security as well. Make sure they are well aware of stranger danger practicesand to not to leave the established meeting site for any reason. A park employee or security should be willing to wait with your child at a designated place if you and your child become lost as long as it is for a short amount of time only. Some larger parks have a “lost parents” section for kids and adults who become separated.
    • Ask a lot of questions before letting your child go to an amusement park on a group-sponsored field trip. It’s not unusual for daycare centers to plan field trips during the summer or holidays in which they are open, for schools to have trips to an amusement park as a reward for a great year, or even churches to plan youth outings. But before you pay money and sign a permission slip, ask a lot of questions first. What is the adult-to-child ratio? How will these adults keep herd of the kids? Is there someone with medical training? How is money handled? What are their lost child practices? Ask these questions and more and make sure you are comfortable with the responses before you agree to the field trip.
    • Remind kids again…and again…about keeping their hands and feet safely inside the equipment. Injuries can sometimes occur when kids try and stick out their hands and feet and get them hurt in the process.
    • Know your child’s swimming ability and water comfort before choosing water rides.Water parks also feature fast-moving rides that can result in getting soaked or perhaps even dropped into a pool of water at the end of the ride. Make sure kids know how to hold their breath, are comfortable with sudden splashes, and won’t panic when dropped into the pool from a slide. If so, this may not be the year to go to a water park…or else make sure there are plenty of kid-friendly places to have fun at.
  • Trust your instinct about rides and ride safety. Be extremely cautious about letting kids ride on neighborhood carnival rides or equipment that makes sounds or appears old or run down. The rides involve heavy machinery and a certain risk in the unlikely event something should happen. If a ride’s appearance makes you uncomfortable, don’t hesitate in declining to put kids on the rides…even if they nag and beg to do so. Keep safety first!

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