Taking Care of Grandchildren

Being a grandparent is one of the most rewarding parts of getting older. As new research is constantly being done and new technology appears, things have changed since raising kids yourself. For example, car seats used to be used to keep kids out of the drivers seat, not necessarily to keep them safe. The great thing is that due to this research and technology, childhood deaths due to accidental injuries have been cut in half over the last 30 years! Here are a few reminders to keep your grandbabies safe while in your care are:

  • Keep your medications out of reach. Many medications look like candy to young children and can be misused by curious teens. When visiting or if they come over, go ahead and put your medications somewhere safe. If you keep them in your purse, put your purse out of reach.
  • Get their car seat inspected. 90% of car seats are used incorrectly. Go to an inspection station and have them teach you how to install the car seat properly – they can even show you how the child should be properly restrained in the seat! To find inspection stations near you, head to our inspection station list here
  • Put baby back to sleep. Any time an infant is sleeping, put them down on their back on a flat surface such as a crib or playpen. This is one of the proven ways we can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Also, make sure they are in their own sleeping space, are not covered with blankets (usually a sleep sack will work best so it can not cover their face while they sleep but can stay warm) and do not let them sleep with stuffed animals or other fluffy items in the bed.

Pedestrian Safety

Whether your kids are walking to school, the park or a friend’s house, here are a few simple tips to make sure they get there safely.

The Hard Facts

Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Teenagers are now at greatest risk.

Top Tips

  1. Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  2. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers.
  3. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. 
  4. Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  5. Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.
  6. If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly colored clothing and reflective gear.

Appreciate the crossing guards at your child’s school? Nominate them for America’s Favorite Crossing Guard here.

April – Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The “I GDL Because…” Campaign is happening now through April 30th!  The goals of the campaign are to increase protective factors of positive social norms and connectedness and also to harness the power of youth advocacy to increase awareness of and adherence to GDL.

43 Crashes per Day Involve Distracted Drivers in Colorado

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

STATEWIDE — Every day in Colorado, distracted drivers are involved in an average of 43 crashes — many leading to serious injury or death. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is leading the statewide charge to address this issue, which accounts for nearly 13 percent of all crashes on Colorado roads.

In 2018, 53 fatalities and 6,269 injuries were attributed to 15,673 crashes involving distracted drivers in Colorado, according to preliminary data from CDOT. Despite the serious consequences, more than 90 percent of people reported driving distracted in the previous seven days, according to a recent survey of Colorado drivers conducted by CDOT. In fact, in Colorado alone, there are an average of 2,380 intersection-related crashes and more than 9,000 rear-end crashes every year associated with distracted driving.
 “Driving is a significant responsibility and demands our full concentration” said CDOT Director Shoshana Lew. “When you fail to pay attention behind the wheel, you put yourself and other travelers at serious risk — our data show that 43 crashes per day in Colorado involve distracted driving.”
Launching this week in conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, CDOT’s Get Turned On campaign urges drivers with iPhones to turn on “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode to prevent incoming distractions. Once enabled, the feature works by blocking incoming text messages and other notifications when connected to a car’s Bluetooth or when the phone detects the vehicle is in motion. Drivers without Bluetooth can also manually turn on “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. Android phones offer a similar function, and there are also other third-party apps designed to achieve the same goal regardless of the type of phone a person uses. CDOT has a list of these apps on its website at distracted.codot.gov.

“Do Not Disturb While Driving is a simple tool to help drivers turn off distractions and take back their focus,” said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “It helps eliminate the temptation of quickly checking a text message or alert – a seemingly harmless habit but one that can have serious consequences.”

CDOT offers a variety of resources and app suggestions on its website to help Coloradans become distraction-free drivers, no matter what type of phone they use. The agency aims to educate motorists about the dangers of distracted driving through statewide education and outreach. For more information about distracted driving in Colorado and to learn more about the Get Turned On campaign, visit distracted.codot.gov.

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees statewide located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service.  Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.

Crossing Guards, Our Unsung Heroes

Many of our schools depend on crossing guards to get children across the street safely, and many of those crossing guards go above and beyond the basic job description. Some bring extra winter hats, just in case. Some stop bullying before it begins. And some can coax a laugh out of even the shyest child. In freezing or stormy weather, they are on duty – making sure our kids get to and from school safely.

The work our crossing guards are doing is more important than ever. A 2016 research report by Safe Kids Worldwide revealed that nearly 80% of students do not cross the street safely. Don’t forget to thank your crossing guard today!

Safe Kids Worldwide, with support from FedEx, held the third annual America’s Favorite Crossing Guard this year. This was the first year Larimer County participated and we had FIVE nominations which is incredible! Although they did not ultimately win the contest, they all represented Larimer County and made us all proud. We are excited to introduce them below.

Danny Kenny, Truscott Elementary

Danny has been with us for a couple of years now. He is here bright and early, earlier than he has to be. He makes eye contact with everyone who drives by, waves and makes sure they are slowing down in our safety zones. He also connects with the students and families as they journey to and from school. Danny was sick a year ago and it was pretty serious. He had a hard go of it, but what motivated him was getting back to his job, his work of keeping the students safe at Truscott. We are so glad to have him at his post. He has helped to educate the local drivers on safe use of the calming round-a-bout that we have at his intersection. Before he was there, drivers would blast threw in the north south direction thinking they still had the right of way. His calm, but firm presence, has been enough to slow drivers down to a safe and alert speed. 

Dorothy Fuller, Ivy Stockwell Elementary

Ms. Dorothy is an incredible crossing guard, an amazing part of our school family, and a friend to all students. Every morning – whether it is 90 degrees or 10 degrees – Ms. Dorothy helps our students arrive at school safely. Families look forward to seeing her each morning at the crosswalk. She takes the time to get to know each student (and parent) by name and kids love her personal greetings and great sense of humor. Located on a busy street, our school, students, and Ms. Dorothy would benefit greatly from a safety grant allowing us to purchase additional signage, materials, and safety education.

Doug Money, High Plains School

The fact that he gives of his personal time 3 days a week to make sure our students can cross safely through a very busy intersection is amazing enough. He also volunteers his time in other ways too. He comes in and works in the classroom and visits his grandchildren at lunch. He is always kind, pleasant, and super dependable.

Alex Martin, Carrie Martin Elementary

With a new neighborhood our students had no safe crossing across a busy county road. Staff worked hard lobbying city and county officials to put in a crosswalk over a month and a half. We eventually got a crossing installed, however our county/city does not provide crossing guards. Teachers, staff, and Principal rallied everyday to make sure kids got to school safe (even on Halloween). Staff continue to man crosswalk with the help of two building volunteers.

Eric Velasco, Monroe Elementary

Eric is one of the most dedicated and friendly crossing guards our school has ever had. He is assigned to be at his post for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Staff members consistently see him staying for longer than his assigned time. Eric always smiles and waves to each car, whether they are families affiliated with our school or just people driving by. He brightens everyone’s day, students and adults alike

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking brings family and friends together. With the holiday season around the corner, you may find yourself spending more time in the kitchen cooking for family gatherings and holiday parties. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. Follow these fire-safe tips to prevent cooking fires and keep your family and friends safe this holiday season.

Check yourself and your surroundings.
• Never wear loose or baggy clothing while cooking. If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back.
• Keep objects that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
• Make sure sharp objects and containers with hot liquids are away from the edge of the counter.
• Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

Be alert while cooking.
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

Have a Kid-Free Zone.
• When cooking with kids in the home, have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Working smoke alarms save lives.
• Most importantly, remember to test and check your smoke alarms. Replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old.

Safety tips brought to you by Wellington Fire Protection District.

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Wellington Fire Protection District
8130 3RD ST., P.O. BOX 10, WELLINGTON, CO 80549
Phone: (970) 568-3232 Website: http://www.WFPD.org