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Family Watchdog
Halloween  What does October mean to you? To most children - Halloween. We here at Family Watchdog want you and your family to have a great time gathering goodies while also remembering to stay safe. Here is a simple list of safety tips for you and your children to go over before the big night.

•  Know your treaters' route and accompany them while trick or treating.
•  Take a flashlight, glow sticks or put reflective tape on your children's costumes.
•  Be sure costumes, shoes, and treat bags are safe.
•  Remind kids not to enter strangers' homes or cars. If they have a haunted house set up, you should go in with them.
•  Set rules about not eating treats until kids get home. Be sure to inspect all treats before allowing kids to eat them. Candy that has been opened should be thrown away. Any homemade treats or fruit should be inspected closely, and if you do not know the people they came from, you should probably dispose of it. (This also gives you a great opportunity to "throw out" those "bad" butterfingers for yourself later.)
•  Remember drivers have a hard time seeing people, especially at dusk and never cross the street from between parked cars.
•  Make sure that fake knives, swords, and guns are made from cardboard or other flexible materials and have the safety orange on them to avoid accidental injury or worse, have them mistaken for the real thing!
•  Make sure to have a plan for if you get separated from your child. Meet at a lighted corner, have them call you or one of our favorites, use a buddy (or sibling) system.

It is also important to ensure that your home is safe and accessible to trick-or-treaters. As adults there are some very simple things we can do to make the evening safe everyone.

•  Turn on your porch light.
•  Move lit jack-o-lanterns off the porch where kids get bunched up if they are trick-or-treating in groups.
•  Remove objects from your yard that might present a hazard.
•  Drive slowly all evening-you never know what creature may suddenly cross your path.
•  Do not dispense home-made treats or fruits to children. Pennies are always a good substitute!
•  Report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police.

Here is a great site for further Halloween safety tips: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/halloween.html
 
Fire Drill  As summer turns to fall, it's a good idea to refresh your memory on fall fire safety tips. Some safety tips are the same regardless of the time of year, but many safety concerns are seasonal, particularly those that involve keeping your home warm.

Central Heating System Safety Tips
•  Get your central heating system cleaned, inspected and serviced by a certified HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) contractor every year before using it.
•  If you have a gas heater, make sure that you have a sufficient quantity of fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.

Space Heater Safety Tips
•  http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/corporate/newsroom/storyideas/homeheating/spaceheater/

Fireplace Heating tips:
Here is a helpful site from U.S Fire Administration: •  http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/fireplace.shtm

Fall and Halloween Decor Safety Tips
•  Another great site for safety tips regarding the fall: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/halloween-decorating-safety-tips.html

Family Fire Safety Tips
•  The following site goes into all aspects of fire safety: http://www.firesafetytips.com/

Outdoor Fall Fire Safety Tips
•  http://www.livestrong.com/article/275491-fall-outdoor-safety/
 
Down Syndrome  For our last safety topic on the month we wanted to highlight that October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Every day more than 30% of school aged children are bullied by classmates, teachers, siblings, parents and friends. Know the signs and put an end to it. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/
 
Down Syndrome  Since October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month, we wanted to let you know about special needs children being bullied as well. Some of these children cannot even talk to tell someone about the abuse. Once again, know the signs. http://www.disaboom.com/children-with-disabilities/how-to-handle-bullying-of-children-with-special-needs
 
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