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A supplement to The Daily Dispatch • Sunday, July 28, 2013


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The Daily Dispatch

Protecting Children

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Internet

5 steps toward online awareness

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arents of yesteryear seldom had to worry about protecting their kids from strangers once their kids were safely inside the home. But since the dawn of the Internet, parents know the safety of their private residence can be easily compromised. Be it through social media, chat rooms or other online outlets, strangers can now gain access to children in a variety of ways, many of which are seemingly innocent. The prevalence of online predators has many parents looking for ways to protect their kids when they go online. Some parents may want to outlaw the Internet altogether until kids reach high school, but such a reaction can put kids at a significant disadvantage academically by barring them from what is often a valuable resource. Parents who want their kids to get the most out of the Internet without putting them in danger of online predators can employ the following tips. • Warn kids about the potential risks and dangers of the Internet. Many parents would prefer their kids did not know about Internet predators, but that wish should not outweigh the desire to keep kids safe. Teach kids that people on the Internet may not always behave honestly, misrepresenting

themselves in an at least once per day. effort to gain access to Homework assignments unsuspecting and often and other school trusting kids. Teach functions are commonly kids to take the same posted online, and many approach with online kids communicate with strangers that they do friends via the Internet as with strangers much as they Some they see in do in person. public, never Parents should parents may sharing any want to outlaw monitor their personal kids’ online information or the Internet activity on a altogether engaging in daily basis, conversation until kids reach scanning their with someone Web history high school, they don’t and examining but such a know. Teach their social reaction can kids to tell an media adult they trust put kids at interactions to immediately be sure kids a significant if an online aren’t putting disadvantage themselves in stranger contacts them. academically harm’s way. • Use the Kids may grow by barring filters at your more resistant them from disposal. to such what is often Parents can monitoring filter certain as they a valuable Web sites grow older, resource. so children but parents cannot access cannot turn a them. Filter sites geared blind eye to kids’ online toward adults as well activity simply to avoid a as any sites where confrontation. kids might be at risk • Keep the computer of coming into contact in a common area. The with potential predators. family computer should Block chat rooms and be kept in a common other sites where adults area where parents can can pose as kids and monitor how much time make sure kids who kids are spending online, are involved with social what they’re doing and media have made their who they’re speaking online profiles private to while surfing the and only accessible Internet. When kids have to friends and family their own computers or members. tablets in their bedrooms, • Monitor kids’ online parents can easily lose activity on a daily basis. track of how much time The Internet is such kids are spending online. a commonly used tool This makes it easier for that many kids go online online predators to gain

access to kids, who have a harder time recognizing potential predators than adults. • Remember kids can get online on their smartphones, too. Computers are no longer the only way for kids to get online. More and more kids, especially those in high school, are doing their online surfing via their smartphones. Monitor kids’ mobile phone usage just like you do their computer usage. Peruse their call and texting history, and discuss any suspect usage with them immediately. Kids spend more time online now than ever before, and that usage figures to increase in the coming years as the Internet becomes increasingly accessible. Parents should take steps to ensure their youngsters are safe when going online. .

Protecting kids from online predators involves monitoring their smartphone activity.


Protecting Children

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, July 28, 2013

3

Bullying

Identify types and symptoms of intimidation

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hildren grow and develop their personalities in various ways. While many youngsters are teased or receive some good-natured ribbing at some point in their school careers, some teasing can eventually turn into bullying. The National Education Association estimates that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Furthermore, more than 70 percent of students report incidents of bullying at their schools. Although children in lower grades have reported being in more fights than those in higher grades, there is a higher rate of violent crimes in middle and high schools than in elementary schools. According to the association Make Beats Not Beat Downs, harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school shooting incidents. Bullying can take many forms, and learning the warning signs as a parent can help prevent harassment and potentially dangerous situations. Verbal: If your child reports being called names, being the recipient of racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, or being spoken to in an offensive or suggestive way, this can be a form of verbal bullying. Cyber: Social media, email and text messaging has become a way for bullies to spread malicious messages or photos. In the era of digital media, this type of bullying has increased considerably. Physical: Some bullies engage in physical attacks, including hitting, kicking, spitting, or other forms of

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other kids have strong needs for power and negative dominance. They may find satisfaction in causing suffering to others. Some signs that your child may be a bully include: • easily becoming violent with others • having friends who bully others • blaming others quickly • comes home with belongings that do not belong to him Signs your child is being bullied or her Parents can recognize certain signs that their child is • getting in trouble with teachers or school administrators being bullied at school. Bullied children frequently make • picking on siblings excuses to avoid going to school. While the desire to stay • not accepting responsibility for actions home is something many children may express, those There are ways parents can teach their children to act who are bullied may do so much more frequently. Bullied children tend to avoid certain places and may be sad, angry, properly when faced with a bully. First, parents should explain that bullying is not the child’s fault and he or she withdrawn, or depressed. They may have trouble sleeping does not deserve to be picked on. Next, parents can let or experience changes in appetite, and bullied youngsters’ academic performance may suffer. Also, parents may notice children know that being assertive but not violent with bullies may diffuse the situation, as some bullies thrive on that children return from school missing some of their the fear of their victims. If the bullying behavior continues, belongings. the student should speak to an adult or authority figure. Parents of bullies may need to be especially mindful of Signs your child is the bully Parents may not want to imagine their children bullying their children’s behavior. Counseling could be necessary to determine what is compelling kids to bully other students. . other students, but bullies do exist. Children who bully

physical confrontation. Destroying personal property also is considered physical bullying. Indirect: Gossiping and spreading nasty rumors about a person is another form of bullying. This type of bullying may go hand-in-hand with cyber bullying.

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The Daily Dispatch

Protecting Children

Sunday, July 28, 2013

School Bus Safety

Guidelines vital to secure transit

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ach day thousands upon thousands of children board school buses to take them to and from school. Parents and caregivers entrust their children’s well-being to the care of school bus drivers and aides. Although parents may worry about school bus accidents, such accidents are few and far between. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises that school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and protecting against injury. Buses are arguably the safest mode of transportation for getting kids to and from school. By keeping millions of cars off the roads surrounding schools, school buses contribute to less crowded roadways, which are less conducive to accidents.

Danger zone

Though parents may feel buses are most likely to be in accidents while in transit, experts advise that children are more likely to get hurt during pickups and drop-offs when they’re in the “danger zone” of the bus. The danger zone is a 10-foot radius around the outside of the bus. Bus drivers and other motorists find kids in the danger zone are more difficult to see, and children can get struck by either the bus or oncoming cars that fail to stop when the bus is picking kids up or dropping them off.

Knowing the safety rules

While a large part of protecting children is on the shoulders of the school bus driver, it is also vital for passengers to learn the basics of school bus safety. Kindergarteners or children who are riding the bus for the first time should be taught the rules of school bus safety. Some schools offer a school bus tour prior to the new school year. This lets youngsters acclimate themselves with the look and feel of the school bus. This introduction also may include information about

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bus safety, but parents can also educate their children (and themselves) about using caution in and around the bus by following these guidelines. • Get to the bus stop 5 to 10 minutes prior to the assigned pickup time. Rushing last-minute can lead to injury, especially if you’re chasing down the bus. • Remain on the sidewalk or grass at the bus stop. Do not step off the curb into the street until the bus has arrived and is completely stopped. • When boarding the bus, go directly to a seat and sit down. Buckle up if there are seatbelts on the bus. • Remain seated while the bus is in motion. • Keep voices low so as not to distract the driver. • Keep your head and hands inside of the bus, and never hang out of the window. • Do not throw things on the bus or play rough with friends or classmates. • Keep the aisle clear at all times. • Be careful when getting off the bus. Hold on while going down the stairs.

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• Only get off at your designated stop unless you have permission to get off elsewhere. • When exiting the bus, walk at least 10 steps past the front of the bus and cross in front where the driver can see you. Do not cross behind the bus. • Wait for the driver to give you a signal that it is safe to cross. Be sure to check that all cars on the road have come to a complete stop. • Get to the sidewalk or off the street as quickly as possible. • If you’ve forgotten something on the bus, do not run back and attempt to retrieve it. The driver might not see you and start the bus. Rather, call the bus company and see if you can pick it up at another time. • Do not get into the cars of strangers waiting around bus stops, even if they offer to take you home. Parents can arrange to meet with bus drivers so that they will recognize their faces. Adults also can encourage schools to host bus safety courses to further ensure their youngsters are safe. . Call today and schedule an appointment!

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The Daily Dispatch

Protecting Children

Sunday, July 28, 2013

5

Avoiding Illness

5 things children shouldn’t share

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chool-aged children spend several hours per day in the classroom in close proximity to one another. That proximity means that, in addition to sharing their time in the classroom, students often share their illnesses. Many parents understand that kids may come home from school with more than just homework. Communicable diseases and parasites may accompany kids home, and while every sniffle or fever cannot be prevented, there are ways parents can reduce their child’s risk of coming home from school with an ailment passed on by a classmate. The first step toward reducing that risk is understanding some of the more common ailments.

Lice

Few children survive school without enduring at least one outbreak of lice. Lice are tiny parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. Head lice are about two to three millimeters in length (about the size of a sesame seed). A female louse can produce between seven and 10 eggs, known as nits, per day. The nits will hatch and repeat the process of the adults. Having lice is not an indication of poor hygiene. It just means you have come into contact with someone with lice and have contracted the parasite. Sharing brushes, pillows, hats, and head-to-head contact with someone who has lice facilitates transmission. Many old wives’ tales discuss how to keep lice from getting into the hair. None of these methods are necessarily effective. Should lice climb aboard, it is essential to remove all of the nits and adult lice through careful combing and to reduce the numbers of lice until they die off. In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend a medicated shampoo.

Mononucleosis

The Mayo Clinic says infectious mononucleosis, commonly shortened to “mono,” is known as the kissing disease. Epstein-Barr virus, the virus that causes mono, is transmitted through saliva. It can be spread through kissing, but also by sharing cups and straws or if saliva is expelled through sneezing or coughing.

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and there is no other symptom of the condition, then a person is much less likely to pass the virus to someone else. When a blister is present, the affected person should wash his or her hands frequently and avoid touching the lesion.

Strep Throat

A child will get strep throat when he or she comes in direct contact with saliva or fluids from the nose of an affected person, says the National Institutes of Health. Strep throat is usually caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. It is most common in children between the ages of five and 15. Once a person comes in contact with the bacteria, he Spending time in close proximity with other students increases the spread of communicable diseases among or she may begin to feel sick two to five days later. Chills, students. Knowing the symptoms of various communica- a sore throat, trouble moving the neck, and difficulty ble diseases can help parents quickly recognize an ailment. swallowing are some of the more common symptoms. Because strep can mimic a viral sore throat, most doctors will take a throat culture to confirm diagnosis. Symptoms of mono include fatigue, sore throat, fever, Should the bacteria be present, antibiotics will be swollen lymph nodes, and a soft, swollen spleen. Mono is prescribed for treatment. A doctor will advise when it is safe not often serious and is even less communicable than the for a child to return to school. common cold. However, it is adviseable to keep a child home from school until symptoms have subsided. There is Meningitis no specific method to treat mono, but doctors may suggest Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective a combination of bed rest, pain relievers and drinking plenty membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as of water and fruit juices. the meninges. There are five types of meningitis: bacterial, viral, parasitic, fungal, and noninfectious. The severity of the Oral Herpes illness and the treatment depends on the cause. The most There is a lot of confusion about herpes circulating widely known types of meningitis are bacterial and viral. because two similar viruses are commonly mistaken for each other. Most of the cases of oral herpes result from the Both are contagious, but bacterial meningitis can be lifethreatening and requires immediate medical attention. virus herpes simplex 1, or HSV-1. Meningitis can be spread through exchange of According to the organization Herpes Online, the oral respiratory and throat secretions. People who have viral outbreak of herpes forms cold sores or fever blisters on meningitis find it is a less severe form and does not the lips or inside of the mouth. While these blisters -- and become serious so long as their immune system remains the HSV-1 virus itself -- can be spread through kissing, strong. most young children are diagnosed with oral herpes after Symptoms of a meningitis infection may include a they have contracted it through the sharing of utensils. sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck. Nausea, Sometimes parents inadvertently pass herpes on to their vomiting and altered mental status are also symptoms. kids when they kiss them goodnight. Samples of blood or cerebrospinal fluid are collected to test Generally speaking, oral herpes is most contagious when a lesion or blister is present. When scabs have healed for the cause of the meningitis to begin prompt treatment. .

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The Daily Dispatch

Protecting Children

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Childcare

Helpful hints for hiring a babysitter

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ne of the primary roles of parents is ensuring their children are safe and well-cared for and receive the necessities in life. But sometimes parents need time away from the kids to recharge their batteries. In such instances, parents often fret over finding reliable childcare. Hiring a babysitter is not always easy, and many parents take extra steps to ensure the babysitter they hire is the right match for their children. Parents are understandably uneasy about leaving their children in the hands of a stranger. That is why so many parents rely on relatives, including grandparents and aunts, to act as babysitters. But many people no longer live in close proximity to their relatives, forcing parents to look outside the family for a babysitter. Finding a babysitter should begin with a careful consideration and investigation of applicants. Although horror stories of children being mishandled while in the care of nannies and sitters are few and far between, parents still worry that something can happen to their children when the kids are left in the hands of someone other than Mom and Dad. Here are some tips parents should keep in mind before hiring a babysitter. • Start your search within your own community and network of friends. Mommy online forums, church clubs and social groups associated with your child’s school

ask for references and • Observe the sitter with be sure to follow up. Ask your kids even after he pointed questions about or she has been hired. the candidate’s skill set, Upon hiring a sitter, plan including the type of care a day when he or she can they provided, how many come over and stay with hours the sitter was capable the children while you of working and if there supervise from another were any incidents, positive room. Gradually work up or negative, that stood out. to leaving the kids alone Inquire about the sitter’s for a certain period of temperament . time. As the relationship • Let prospective between the sitter and your candidates interact with children becomes more your children. Once comfortable, you can stay potential candidates have out for longer periods of Patience and references are two of the most proven tools in finding a reliable caregiv- been vetted, let them spend time. The sitter should time with your kids to see be aware of all rules and er for your child. how they interact with the expected conduct while in are good places to network the Centers for Disease an accident or incident that children and how the kids the home and caring for with other parents and find Control and Prevention, requires emergency action react to each candidate. children. . out about good babysitters accidental injuries in the occur. Babysitters who are in the area. home are one of the leading knowledgeable in first aid Vance County Parenting Task Force Presents the: • Don’t hire a sitter causes of death for children or CPR are particularly who is too young. Parents more than 12 months old. attractive. should avoid hiring sitters Therefore, sitters should • Ask for references.  who are younger than be physically and mentally When narrowing down 13 or 14. According to capable of reacting should candidates, parents should Parenting Education Program

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The Daily Dispatch

Protecting Children

Sunday, July 28, 2013

7

Young Drivers

Teach your teen before tossing the keys

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ew parents look forward to the day when they must teach their teenager to drive a car. Handing over the keys to a teenager and then riding shotgun as he or she learns the basics is hardly a recipe for a stress-free afternoon, but it’s a part of life many parents must endure sooner or later, and it’s a rite of passage for their children. While it’s likely your son or daughter will not be a great driver from the get-go, there are ways parents can make the process of teaching their teen to drive less stressful and more likely to be a success. • Utilize an empty parking lot as a classroom. Empty parking lots are great places to teach teens to drive. In an empty parking lot, teens can practice skills like turning or braking without the risk of running into another driver. This gives kids the feel of a vehicle and an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the vehicle’s controls, including those for turn signals and headlights. Find an empty parking lot that is large,

Anticipating other drivers parents should instruct is a lesson even some them in the ways to veteran adult drivers must anticipate the behavior of learn, much less teen other drivers so the teens drivers with little or no can stay safe on the road. experience driving. When • Practice driving at teaching teenagers to drive, different times of the day. emphasize how difficult it Taking teens out to drive can be to anticipate other at different times of the drivers’ maneuvers and day can teach them that how defensive driving road conditions, even when techniques are designed the weather is nice, vary to help drivers predict depending on the amount what other drivers will of light. Driving at dusk do in order to protect and dawn, for instance, can themselves from be difficult because glare drivers who might be from the sun can decrease unpredictable. Teach teens visibility and headlights to keep an eye out for might not provide much drivers routinely switching help. Like learning to drive lanes without signaling on the highway, learning and tell them to be mindful to drive at various times of of other drivers when the day is a valuable lesson that kids should learn with Parents can employ various methods to help their teen become more comfortable they pull up to a stop sign. Teens who will become their parents in tow and behind the wheel. good drivers will eventually not on their own after they find such techniques are have received their driver’s in a parking lot. Coming and merging into traffic, such as one outside a second nature, but initially license. . to a stop, maintaining a are best learned on the closed grocery store or a freeway or highway. Teens nearby school when school safe distance between vehicles, accelerating and will eventually take to the is not in session. decelerating on roadways highway once they get • Find a less-traveled Free programs and services for the youth and learning to share the their driver’s license, so road to practice more of Vance County, including: road with pedestrians and/ it’s best to teach them how subtle driving skills. Once Family Story Time or cyclists are all valuable to handle using on and off your teen has become Teens & Tweens lessons that can be learned ramps and learning to yield familiar with the vehicle, Reading with Cleo on a back road without when entering a highway a good next step is to find Reading with a Ranger a back road or a road heavy traffic. so they’re comfortable with Mother Goose without heavy traffic where • Some lessons are such driving and don’t have Special programs and events throughout the year he or she can learn more best learned on the to teach themselves. Books, audio books, and DVD’s for subtle driving skills that freeway. Some skills, • Teach kids to children and teens might be difficult to learn including changing lanes anticipate other drivers. Ten internet computers for children Four early literacy computers for children

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The Daily Dispatch

Protecting Children

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Delay Decay

Parents can pass harmful bacteria

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any of today’s children are being reared by both their parents and grandparents in order to meet the demands of tight family schedules and even tighter financial situations. Not every caregiver is aware of the ever-changing guidelines that protect children against injury or illness, including information that has come to light regarding pacifiers. Parents should be aware that bacteria that cause dental decay can be transmitted from adult to child by

sharing eating utensils or by the parent sucking on a baby’s pacifier to clean it. A study recently published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, about the immunological benefits of adult saliva does not, according to the American Dental Association, provide the full picture that adult saliva may also contain bacteria that causes decay. The ADAnotes that licking a pacifier, as promoted in the study, can transfer the cavity-causing bacteria

from the parent to baby, increasing the possibility of tooth decay as they grow. “A child’s teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Maine and a pediatric dental spokesperson for the ADA. “Cavity-causing bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, can be transferred from adult saliva to children, increasing their risk of getting cavities.” Dr. Shenkin points to other steps that

parents can take to help children develop a healthy immune system. “Breast milk is widely acknowledged as a good immunitybuilder as well as the most complete form of nutrition for infants. This is something on which both the ADA and the AAP agree.” The ADA recommends that parents protect the dental health of young children by promoting a healthy diet, monitoring their intake of food and drink, brushing their teeth or wiping gums

after mealtimes and by having infants finish their bedtime or nap time bottle before going to bed. Children should receive their first dental visit within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age. For more information, visit the ADA’s consumer website MouthHealthy.org. . In order to prevent dental and periodontal difficultoes, parents should avoid sharing things like cups, utensils and toothbrushes with children.

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Protecting Children: July 28, 2013: The Daily Dispatch  

What steps can we take to keep our children safe? This special tabloid from The Daily Dispatch offers great tips.

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