17 articles Tag safety

A Mum’s Guide To Staying Safe On The Roads

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Dear mums,

You don’t need us to tell you how important safety is when it comes to your children. Especially when you’re out on the roads where the risk of an accident could be high, you do need to take care. With this in mind, here is our safety guide. Read it, heed it, and take the appropriate steps to keep your children safe!

 

1. Replace your car (if you need to)

Replacing your car might not be your preferred option, especially considering the stress and expense involved when buying something new, but if your car is more than ten years old, or is showing signs of wear and tear, then for your children’s safety, you might want to consider an upgrade. Newer cars come equipped with modern safety features such as rear-facing cameras (useful for when you need to check on your kids in the back), emergency braking systems, and crumple zones that can minimise the damage caused to you and your little ones in the event of an accident. You don’t have to buy the newest car on the market of course (unless you can afford it), as you can still buy something reasonably up to date even though it’s second hand. Be sure to buy from a reputable used car dealer akin to Motor Mill, however, as you need the peace of mind that you are buying a car that is fit to drive and not likely to break down soon after leaving the dealership.

2. Keep your car maintained

To alleviate the risk of any accidents on the road, you do need to look after your car. And while there are some maintenance jobs you can do yourself; you should still take your car to the garage every so often to make sure everything is working as it should. We appreciate there might be an expense, but when it comes to the safety of your children, they should be the priority over any cost that might be incurred at the garage.

3. Be mindful of distractions

Your biggest distractions are probably your children. When they kick up a fuss in the back seat with temper tantrums and those blessed words “I’m bored,” you could easily take your eyes off the road, and that could lead to an accident. If they do start to create a fuss, you should pull over when it is safe to do so to sort out any problems. However, you might also want to read this article on keeping your children entertained, as there are plenty of ideas within to focus your children’s attention in the car. Your other biggest distraction will be your phone. When a text comes in or if you receive a phone call, you might be tempted to take one hand off the wheel to grab your mobile. DON’T!! Install a hands-free system in your car if you need to take calls, but otherwise, turn off your phone when you’re driving so you will be less prone to distractions.

4.  Don’t drive when you’re tired

You don’t need us to tell you how exhausting it is being a mum. With much to do in the day and chances of reduced sleep if your kids keep you awake at night, you might find yourself running on empty! It’s something many of us get used to, but when it comes to driving, you need to be mindful. While you might not fall asleep at the wheel, you might still make some mistakes if your concentration drops because of your tired state. Therefore, resist the urge to get in the car if you don’t have the energy. When it comes to the school run, walk the kids to school or get a taxi, and consider the same for any other journey you need to make. Then, to give yourself a fighting chance of getting some decent shut-eye, follow this sleep guide and commit to other research online for tips to help you.

And so…

Make safety your #1 priority. Follow our suggestions in this article, and then look for other ideas online to keep you and your little ones safe when you’re out in the car. And if you have any other tips for our readers, do the right thing, and remind us of them in the comments section below.

Take care, and thanks for reading!

 

Helping an Elderly Relative to Stay Independent

There comes a time in a lot of people’s lives where they need to start making arrangements to help their elderly relatives. A lot of people get older but want to remain in the home they’ve known for decades, and that means making their environment safe and suitable for their additional needs, if they have limited mobility, sight or memory problems. There are lots of ways that you can make a home suitable again, and today we’re looking at five of them.

Stairlift

If your elderly relative lives in a house with more than one storey, getting up and down the stairs can be really daunting. As well as the physical effort needed to climb the stairs, the risk of a fall gets worse as they get older. This is where a stairlift could really help. It allows people to travel safely between floors without the risk of falling, or needing to expend a lot of energy to make the climb.

Alarm System

A lot of elderly people worry about having a fall in their home and not being able to call for help, so personal alarm systems can give a lot of peace of mind. They allow people to call for help in an emergency and an ambulance to be sent remotely so that they aren’t left by themselves in an emergency.

Walk-in Bath

Although showers can be built on floor level so that you don’t need to step up to get into them, many elderly people prefer the security of sitting down in a bath, although getting into one can be very tricky. A walk-in bath has a sealed door which opens and closes and allows people to sit comfortably to wash, reducing the risk of slipping and falling when you’re at your most vulnerable.

Video Doorbells

Many elderly people fear opening the door to an unknown person, especially once the sun has gone down, and this can leave them very isolated, especially in the winter. There are lots of video doorbells on the market now which allow people to see who’s at the door without needing to answer it, and this could give your elderly relative the freedom to know when it’s safe to answer the door.

Remove Obstacles

This is the simplest, and cheapest way, to make surroundings safer for your elderly relative. Thousands of accidents happen every year when elderly people, especially those with limited eyesight, trip and fall because of things like rug edges, electrical cords and low items of furniture. It could be a good idea to get an expert to come in to assess the house as they’ll spot hazards that you might miss.

Is Your Car Ready for Winter? #TestYourTreads

I don’t know if it’s just me, but after a pretty mild Autumn, it feels as though winter has sneaked up on me out of nowhere! Christmas is less than a month away but we’ve only just started wearing proper winter coats and boots and I think this year has been the latest we’ve ever put our heating on too. Living in the countryside means that we have to do certain things to prep for winter; we’re off the grid for gas, so we have to make sure we’ve had a delivery of LPG to last us, and we also use a log burner for heat which means making sure our wood is well seasoned and checking whether we might need to have more delivered.

Obviously, living remotely means that our car is really important to us, too, as we’d be stranded without it, so there are a few things we check there like anti-freeze, low-temperature screen wash and also our tyres. TyrePlus is urging everyone to #TestYourTreads to remind them that tyres which are worn below the legal limit can be even more dangerous in the winter.

Their experts say “Tyres aren’t just those great big rubber things that carry you from A to B. They’re a lot more sensitive than they look which is why we want you to help us spread the message about the importance of giving your tyres the TLC they need. They might look tough (and indeed they are) but deep down, they need a fair bit of looking after. Unfortunately, there are still far too many people who think The 20p Test is something you might find at a fairground amusement arcade.”

“This handy little test actually requires you to pop a 20p coin in the grooves of the tyre and if the outer band of the coin is visible at any point, the treads are below the legal limit. Carrying out simple checks like this one on a regular basis will keep car safety in check, reduce damage to vehicles and help eliminate unnecessary road accidents.”

A lot of people take it for granted that if their MOT is up to date then their tyres MUST be legal but this isn’t always the case, so performing the test above could really help to keep you safe. Also, take a look at any advisories on your last MOT because if your tyres were worn close to the legal limit and noted on your test, there’s a good chance they need replacing.

Obviously, the risks of having unsafe tyres are potentially fatal, so I’m sure I don’t need to reiterate how important it is to check them. What are you waiting for? Check them NOW!

Keep Your Family Safe This Christmas

We’re quickly approaching the most festive time of the year, where most of us find ourselves swamped with requests for presents, party preparations and familial obligations. With so many arrangements driving tensions high, it’s easy to forget about the most crucial priority – the safety of your family.

While Christmas may be the time for open fires, mulled wine and an abundance of food, it’s also the time when we’re at our most vulnerable. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, “more than two million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home every year, for which they are taken to accident and emergency units.

With so many hectic undertakings and rosy-cheeked family members to tend to, it’s no wonder we’re at an increased risk of injury in our own homes during this time. It’s the excitement and energy of the season that gives way to this outcome, but there are various countermeasures available.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust recommend that you buy toys only from trusted retailers, ensure any visitors refrain from leaving any medicines lying around, and be especially careful around candles, fairy lights and decorations – especially when hung near a light or heater.

The risk of trapped fingers in closing doors is also significant, with even the BBC stating that children’s door crushing finger injuries can be lifelong. As a result, hinge protectors are unsurprisingly on the rise.

You also need to stay vigilant where any sharp corners on furniture, countertops and appliances are concerned: the kitchen is a dangerous enough place for a child without adding even more hazards into the mix. For example, there are snooker tables for sale at Hamilton Billiards that can be sanded down to a smooth incline, and many other adjustments and customisations are readily available.

The increased risk of fire hazard is one of the primary safety concerns at this time of year, with so many bright lights and candles raising the possibility of a fire starting. Thankfully, there’s a simple, painless method of improving your defensive solutions: Ironmongery Experts sell Dorgard fire door retainers in a variety of colourations, and each battery-powered model is designed to wirelessly close the door it holds open upon the sound of the fire alarm, creating a synergy between your fire alarm and every door you apply a Dorgard to as they activate in tandem.

No matter how you choose to approach it, don’t put aside your family’s safety this Christmas – they’re worth more than any replaceable possession ever will be.

This article was written by David Newman, managing director of Ad Lab – Magento E-Commerce Growth Specialists. David is a regular contributor of lifestyle blogs, writing about a variety of topics such as health, sports, hobbies and everything in-between.

Is Your Vision Good Enough for Driving?

One In Three Brits Risk Driving Ban With Overdue Eye Tests

I’ve been a glasses wearer since I was 11. At primary school, our classes were pretty small, so seeing the blackboard was never an issue, but once I got to senior school, the classes were bigger and suddenly I realised that my vision wasn’t good enough for me to see what was being written on the board. I went for an eye test, and lo and behold, I needed glasses, albeit with a pretty weak prescription. My lenses have got stronger pretty much every year since then, until about 2 years ago when the optician said I’d reached some sort of vision-stasis and that my eyes hadn’t worsened since my last test. However, I still get yearly tests because as a driver, I think it’s massively important.

Vision Express has recently conducted a survey which came up with some, quite frankly, terrifying results. Here’s a video that they’ve made all about it:

New research revealed today by Vision Express has found:

• Almost 30% of UK drivers are overdue an eye test, with 4% admitting to never having had one

• Drivers with uncorrected vision which falls short of legal thresholds face potential insurance invalidation, a heavy fine, penalty license points and even driving disqualification

• On average, Brits will be spending almost three hours in their vehicles en-route to their UK holiday destination and will be travelling with three people, including one child

• There will be increased pressure on UK roads this summer with 50% of Brits families holidaying in the UK, compared with 38% last year

• Brits are more likely to have their cars stocked with drinks and snacks, rather than they are to have had a recent eye test

As drivers, we’re all spot-on when it comes to getting our cars MOT’d to make sure they’re as safe as possible, but that safety-checking should always extend to ourselves – if your eyes aren’t giving you a reliable picture of what you’re seeing, then you’re putting yourself, your family and every other road user in danger. If you cause an accident and other people are injured including any that are in the car with you, you could find yourself facing legal action for whiplash claims and other injuries.

My ability to drive is something which is so essential to us as a family because of where we live; we’re 6 miles from Sausage’s school, 3 miles from the nearest shop and we don’t even really have passable pavements on any of the roads immediately around our house. In an emergency, Husband or I could cycle to get where we needed to go, but transporting ourselves as a family would be very tricky indeed. This means that my eye health is of paramount importance.

Do you make sure you have yearly tests? Are you as shocked as I am about the amount of people driving around with potentially poor vision?! Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

Keeping Kids Safe Online in the Holidays

In previous years, the summer holidays have meant that Sausage mostly just sees her friends on her birthday (which is in August) or if I manage to arrange playdates with her friends, by contacting their parents. This year, however, seems to be a whole different kettle of fish. Sausage is going into year 5 in September and seems to be growing up before our very eyes. She has her own iPhone, iPad, laptop etc, and so do many of her friends, which means that she’s able to communicate with them as and when she likes, within the bounds of when she’s allowed device time. We aren’t MEGA strict with her when it comes to devices, but we do try to get her to put them down for at least an hour before bed so that the blue light from screens doesn’t interfere with her sleep.

The communication versus online safety thing has been playing on our minds, however. She’s not allowed a Facebook account because she’s too young, although we do know kids of her age who are on there. Snapchat’s recent update has left us with security worries and we’ve got her account locked down because it’s a site which is well known for being an avenue for grooming. She currently uses WhatsApp or iMessage to speak to her friends, but we still worry about the lack of security with these; it would only take one of her friends to give someone her phone number or leave their own device unlocked for someone to be able to attempt to contact her and it’s something that is a constant source of worry for us.

Just recently, Azoomee got in contact with us to let us know about their new chat features and it seems like something which could be the answer to all of our worries. Azoomee Chat was built for children. It’s not an adult platform re-designed for kids! Key features which make Azoomee Chat best practice are:

  • Communication between two children only takes place if a parent for each child has verified the connection
  • There is no geo-tracking data
  • There are no group chats (which is where cyber-bullying begins) opnly one-to-one communication
  • There are no photos or face-time (we use personalised avatars instead)
  • There are lots of pointers in case a child needs advice
  • Parents have full visibility of all communication
  • Only pre-verified friends can see your posts

Every child has their own Kid Code; it looks like this: GF6D7XS2. You’ll find your child’s Kid Code in the Azoomee Settings screen. Your child can give their Kid Code to their friends, or you can give it directly to their parents. They need to add your child’s Kid Code in their Azoomee Settings. Finally, for an extra layer of security, you’ll need to verify the friendship – you’ll receive a notification to do this in Settings.

We’ll be trialling Azoomee over the next few weeks and are really hopeful that it is something which could work for our family and give us the peace of mind we need to be able to allow Sausage to use her devices without the need for us to be constantly looking over their shoulder. I strongly feel that schools should be offering kids an Azoomee membership and teaching them safe communication as part of the national curriculum as we’re only going to be MORE reliant on technology as the years go by.

Keep your eyes peeled here for an update so you can see how we get along with Azoomee’s new chat functions or head over to their site to get your free trial of the services.

 

From Schools to Car Seats – Making the Best Choices for your Kids

One of the most daunting things about becoming a parent is the constant second-guessing when it comes to making the right decisions for your kids. When you’re young and single, your decisions largely only impact yourself but once you throw another human into the equation, it becomes all that much scarier! Today, I thought I’d take a look at some of the decisions that we found most overwhelming and what we did to help.

Safety

One of the main things that’s at the forefront of a new parents mind is safety, be that at home, in the car or anywhere else. Husband and I probably wrapped Sausage up in cotton wool to an extent and are definitely more relaxed with BB, but the best advice I can give you when it comes to things like travel is to read a whole bunch of car seat reviews before making your choice. You’ll benefit from the experience of others and ensure a bit of peace of mind for yourself.

Money

When Sausage was born, each kid got a grant from the government to start a savings fund but by the time BB came along this was no longer a thing, but we still wanted to start a savings account for her. Looking online a sites which offer bank account comparisons really helped us to find the right account to give us the most for our money.

Schools

This one was a biggie for us and will be again next year when we have to start thinking about secondary schools for Sausage. In our experience, schools can have great Ofsted reports but this doesn’t always equate to the best school for your child. Speak to parents who have kids at the schools you’re looking at who will be able to give you much fairer insight into what the actual society within the school is like.

Medical Issues

In this day and age, information is so easily accessible online that it’s really easy to think you can diagnose medical problems after reading a couple of webpages. However, this doesn’t take into account years of medical training needed to have ALL the clinical knowledge and context, so Dr. Google should always be avoided! The 111 service is really useful and they can give you an idea over the phone of whether your child needs to see a doctor. Pharmacists can also offer a lot of useful info.

Food

When you become a parent, you’ll realise that pretty much everyone will have an opinion on how you SHOULD be feeding your kids, even if they don’t have kids of their own. The fact is, as long as both Mum and Baby are happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter if milk comes from a boob or a bottle. There will ALWAYS be friends/relatives/health professionals who want to impress their ideas upon you but frankly, their opinions don’t matter!

 

A New Family Car for Us

It’s a sad fact that our old jalopy just isn’t going to cut the mustard for much longer. It’s 20 years old now and although it’s still working just fine, I’m not convinced it’ll go through the next MOT and there are lots of bits which seem to have just given up the ghost – the door lining is peeling off (although I DID use my new glue gun to mend it, which I was most pleased about!), the wiring has seen better days and the fumes that the exhaust blow out absolutely STINK! Our budget isn’t huge, although we might consider getting a car loan  to help us afford something a little better, but here are the things which will be the most important factors when choosing:

Safety

The main reason we have our current car is that it’s made by a manufacturer which is known to be super safe. Whenever we look at second-hand cars, we always check the safety rating and if it’s less than satisfactory then the model doesn’t make it onto our list.

Economy

As much as I’d probably have great fun driving around in some huge tank of a car, it’s really not an economically sound choice for us. We’re looking for something with a mid-sized engine, decent fuel consumption because I do a fair amount of miles, something which isn’t going to be in the higher Road Tax bracket and also a car which is cheap to fix if something goes wrong!

Size

Our current car is an estate, and while it’s been handy (like when my tumble drier broke in the middle of winter and I went and collected a replacement in the boot of the car!) to have the extra boot space, we probably don’t need it. More seats would come in handy though, so I suppose we’d consider a 7-seater, if there is such a thing as an economical 7-seater!

Comfort

One thing that can be said about our current car is that it’s pretty comfy. The seats are decent and the car feels like our little home from home. Before we had this car, we briefly had a little Fiesta which we drove to Liverpool in a few years ago and the seats were so uncomfortable that I was numb down one side by the time we got back!! I don’t expect Rolls Royce-level comfort but seats which don’t hurt my ass are pretty important.

Entertainment

I know that the girls would absolutely love a car with screens in the back of the headrests for them to watch on our journeys and we do spend a lot of time in the car so I certainly don’t begrudge them that. For me, a radio and decent speakers are super important – I’ve never liked driving in silence and I NEED to be able to listed to Pop Master on BBC Radio 2 every morning!

What family car do you have? Do you love it? Would you recommend it? Do leave me a comment below, all inspiration is more than welcome!

Baby Safety: Top Tips for Nervous New Mothers and Fathers

Your baby is precious and fragile. As soon as she is born, all you want to do is keep her safe from harm both in the home and in the car. Protecting your child from all the potential dangers of daily life can seem overwhelming. Here are some safety tips for moms to keep in mind.

Home Safety

When it comes to baby-proofing your home, there are many things you can do, including installing safety gadgets, to make every room safe for your growing infant.

In the bathroom:

Test the water: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow before bathing baby. You can also install an anti-scald device at the end of the bath faucet.

Get a grip: Place non-slip mats for when baby begins to toddle.

Lock the toilet: Install a toilet lock to prevent tiny fingers from getting crushed by the toilet lid and to prevent accidental drowning.

Get spongy: Cover the bath taps in case she slips and hurts her head.

In The Nursery

Crib safety: Your crib’s slats should be 2 3/8 inches apart or less.

No extras: remove bumpers, extra blankets, soft toys and anything that could suffocate a baby from the crib.

Seal outlets: All electrical outlets should have plastic covers.

In The Kitchen

Secure pet food: Pet kibble is a choking hazard and should never be left unattended.

Cover stove knobs: Little fingers like to twiddle knobs. Use knob covers and put a lock on the oven door.

Fire safety: Always keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Make sure it’s out of your child’s reach.

Splatter proof: Use a stove guard so your baby won’t get splashed with hot liquids when you’re cooking.

Lock cabinets: The cabinet beneath the kitchen sink is usually where cleaning products are stored. Keep a lock on this door to prevent your child reaching hazardous chemicals.

In The Living Room

Go cordless: Keep blinds safe with cord cleats or install cordless shades.

Cushion edges: Protect your child from sharp corners and edges with bumpers.

Hide breakables: Put all breakable ornaments, picture frames and vases where little fingers can’t reach them.

Secure bookshelves: toddlers like to climb, so secure bookshelves to the wall to prevent them toppling over.

Be guarded: Put a lockable guard door over the fireplace. Use baby gates if you have stairs.

Car Safety

Cars like the Chrysler Pacifica are designed with family safety in mind, but when you’re travelling with your baby, you want to take extra measures to keep her perfectly safe, which is why choosing the right car seat is important. Data reveals that up to 80 percent of baby car carriers are not installed correctly: a daunting thought, but baby carriers have become high tech these days, with many extra features including self-installation, crash protection, auto-balance, and remote controlled recliner adjustment.

You don’t have to be nervous about becoming a new mother and father. Use these simple tips and your baby will always be safe.

Staying Safe on the Internet with BT and Unicef

When I was little, things were very different to how they are now that I have children. The Internet was unheard of until I reached senior school and phones were something that sat on a dedicated table in the hallway and could only be used after 6pm. Bullying was obviously a thing, but it seems now that the Internet and mobile communication has made the scope for bullying SO much wider. Before, bullies would wait for you in corridors at school, whereas now they can reach you even in the privacy of your own bedroom through the ‘net.

BT has linked up with Unicef to create The Right Click, a series of workshops for parents and kids around internet safety, which not only looks at cyber-bullying, but also at helping kids to find safe, appropriate content and use the internet in a way that is both empowering and secure. Watch this video for more:

Pete Oliver, commercial and marketing director, BT Consumer, said: “The internet is a powerful tool, especially for children. The time children are spending online is continuing to grow, particularly with children aged 8-111. This can be daunting for parents that aren’t necessarily digital savvy and most parents (94 per cent) have worries about their children online. However, with the right knowledge, communication and parental controls in place, we can all ensure that the internet can be a safe place.”

Catherine Cottrell, Unicef UK Deputy Executive Director, said: “We’re working with schools across the country to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected and their rights are protected. The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters workshops empower children to become confident and responsible digital citizens, enabling them to enjoy the enormous benefits that the internet has to offer, with the help of parents and teachers.”

I think workshops like this are SO vital – Husband and I are both pretty tech-savvy but I know SO many adults who have more or less resigned themselves to the fact that their kids are more adept at using technology than they are which creates almost a power vacuum around the subject of internet usage. The kids know more about it all but are almost expected to self moderate because the adults don’t know WHAT the kids need to be protected against! Keeping knowledge fresh is the only way to increase safety, which is why I commend BT and Unicef for creating this programme.

Head to the BT Internet Safety Matters page to test your family on how much they know about the internet.