Transcript – Safety and Emergencies

Presented by Kathy Wolfe

Parenting Together Pathway, Trying Together

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>> Hello. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Kathy Wolfe, Health and Safety Coach and Designator for ELRC 5, which is the Early Learning Resource Center of Allegheny County. In conjunction with Trying Together, I am presenting this presentation. 

Trying Together supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them. ELRC Region 5, the Early Learning Resource Center, provides a single point-of-contact for Allegheny Country families, early learning service providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support high-quality child care and early learning programs. 

To stay up to date, there is a newsletter on the Trying Together website. And we also appreciate if you would follow us on social media. Our vision of Trying Together. Trying Together envisions a future in which all caregivers are valued. Today’s topic is safety and emergencies. The overview, we will be talking about creating an emergency kit, fire safety within your home, car seat safety, safe sleep, and medication. Emergency kits. 

Be prepared for an emergency situation. Emergencies like natural disasters, fires, injuries, and other crisis situations can happen in the blink of an eye. It is so important to be prepared. When children and their families prepare for an emergency together, children learn the basics of staying safe. And it can make emergencies less stressful because they feel empowered. Create an emergency kit. Take time to create an emergency kit with your child or children. Turn it into a treasure hunt or a game, to keep the children engaged. 

As you put items in a box, explain how they would help during an emergency. Prepare kits for your home, work, and vehicle and review them every 6 months to a year or replace expired food items and clothing your child has outgrown. Basic needs for an emergency kit. Water, one gallon per person for several days. Food, nonperishable, enough for 3 days. A can opener for the food, emergency lighting such a flashlight, headlamp, or battery powered lantern. 

Store the batteries in an airtight container or plastic bag. Car chargers, power banks, and adapters for home use equipment and devices. A surge protector or power strip. Matches in a waterproof container. Battery powered or backup smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. A whistle. Battery powered or hand crank weather radio. 

Warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, and emergency blankets that keep you warm at cold temperatures. Personal needs. Moist toiletries, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal hygiene. Personal hygiene items. Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream. Pet food and extra water for your pet. Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. 

Complete change of clothing appropriate for the climate and sturdy shoes. Games, books, puzzles, and other activities for children. Personal needs. A list of prescriptions including information about your diagnosis, dosage, frequency, medical supply needs, and allergies. Medical equipment such as inhalers, hearing aids, glucose meters, test strips, and eyeglasses. 

First aid supplies, bandages, antibiotic ointments, antiseptic wipes, latex gloves, oral thermometer, hand sanitizer, tweezers, and scissors. 

Paperwork. Have extra copies. Insurance card, including home, health, and car for each person with you in your family. Personal identification, vital records, veterinarian records and registration information for your pets, personal care plans. 

Fire safety. Install smoke alarms in every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms every month. If they are not working, change the batteries. Batteries should be changed at least once a year.

 Talk with all family members about fire escape plans and practice the plan twice a year. Your plan should include two ways to escape from every room. Have your family practice dialing 911 and how to stop, drop, and roll. If a fire occurs in your home, get out, stay out and call for help. Never go back inside for anything or anyone. Protect your child from starting fires. The United States Fire Administration estimates that 300 people are killed, and 280 million in property is destroyed each year, as a result of children playing with fire. 

Keep matches, lighters, and other ignitable substances in a secure location out of the reach of your child. Only use lighters with child restraint features. Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a lightbulb rather than an open flame and take danger out of your child knocking over the candle. Smoke alarms. How many smoke alarms are needed? Where should smoke alarms be placed and how often do you check these batteries? 

Smoke alarms are needed in every room of your home, in every bedroom. And you need to check them at least once a year. Fire extinguishers. Know where to place them in your home, and how often to replace them. When needing to use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS. Pull, aim, squeeze, sweep. Support and help for planning, contact your local fire department or the Red Cross. Car seat safety, PA law. 

Child passenger safety laws vary from state to state. It is so important that you familiarize yourself with the laws here in Pennsylvania. A childbirth through 2 years, must be secure in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated for the car seat manufacturer. Check the label on your car seat. A childbirth to 4, must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle. A child 4 to 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat. 

A child 4 to 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat. Children 8 years old and older must be in a seatbelt, that includes adults. Installing car seats. The first step to correctly installing your car seat is to read both the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle manual. PennDOT provides funding for more than 75 fitting stations where trained technicians will check the child safety seat is properly installed. To find fitting stations near you, search the TIPP fitting station directory. The link is below. 

Any local police department will install a car seat or check to ensure the car seat is installed correctly. Seatbelt safety, children 8 to 12 years. Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seatbelt properly. For the seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thigh, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, and not across the neck or face. 

Remember, for safety your children should ride in the back seat. Car seat loan program. In many counties across the state, loan programs provide child safety seats to families in need, to help them follow the law and keep children safe when riding in a vehicle. Loan programs may carry a variety of seats, including infant seats, convertible seats, combined seats, and booster seats. To find the loan program near you, search the website below. 

Safe sleep, newborns. In the first few months, be flexible and respond to your newborn’s needs for sleeping and feeding. Your baby’s cues will help tell you what your baby needs. Follow your baby’s lead when it comes to a routine for feeding, sleep, and play. Most newborns spend most of their time asleep. They sleep about 16 hours every 24 hours. They’re programmed to sleep in short bursts, for about 2 to 3 hours between feeds, night and day. 

Also, newborns feed every 2 to 4 hours. And they need attention during the night and the day. The first few months of a baby’s life is the time to get to know your baby, and to learn about your baby’s needs for sleep, feeding, and play. You might find that a very simple and flexible routine seems to help your baby, to help you feel more in control. But this isn’t the time to worry about getting your baby into any kind of rigid routine. 



Safe sleep, infants. Place infants on their back for sleep in their own sleep space, with no other people. Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and fitted sheet. Avoid sleep on a couch or armchair or in a seating device, like a swing or a car seat except when riding in the car. Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers, and other soft items out of the sleep space. Breastfed, if possible and avoid smoking. 

Safe sleep, toddlers. Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Usually, this sleep is 10 to 12 hours at night, and a nap of 1 to 2 hours during the day. Toddlers are developing fast, and their sleep changes a lot at this age. For example, it can seem that a toddler is having trouble settling for sleep, getting to sleep, sleeping through the night, at least some of the time. And toddlers love to test their independence. 

So getting them to bed in the first place can be a challenge. Once you can spot your child’s signs of tiredness, you’ll be able to settle your child to sleep before grumpiness sets in. a firm and consistent bedtime routine will be a big help with many toddlers settling and sleep issues. Tips for toddler sleep. Create a positive bedtime routine to help your toddler feel ready for sleep and settle more easily when they wake at night. Before you turn out the light, it’s a good idea to do a quick check of your child’s room to make sure the sleeping environment is safe. Most toddlers are ready for bed between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. 

This is a good time because, they sleep deepest between 8 pm and midnight. It’s important to keep the routine consistent on weekends, as well as during the week. Avoid boisterous play, technology, and other excitables at least one hour before bed. Safe sleep, preschoolers. Most preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours of sleep at night. Some still nap during the day. Preschoolers sometimes have sleep problems like getting out of bed, as well as nightmares and night terrors. A consistent bedtime routine is the best way to handle many preschooler’s sleep problems. 

Tips for preschooler sleep. Most preschoolers are ready for bed around 7:30 pm, especially if they had a big day at preschool. You might want to establish a two to three book rule for bedtimes, with a promise to read more during the day. Before leaving a room, check that your child has everything they need to fall asleep, like a favorite cuddly toy or blanket. Remind your child to stay quiet and in bed. If you want to establish a routine that doesn’t involve going into your child each time your child calls out, try to be consistent and respond only if you think they really need something. Your child gets out of bed, calmly ask them to go back to bed. 

Say that you’re just in the other room. Repeat this firmly and quietly until your child doesn’t get up again. Using medication safely. Giving children medication safely can be complicated. And many parents feel the pressure when a young child needs medicine, knowing that giving too much or too little could cause serious side effects. Using medicine safely means knowing when they are needed, and when they are not. 

To safely use prescription or over the counter medicines, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before giving them to your child. Make sure the doctor and pharmacist know if your child has any allergies or is taking medication regularly. Do not give cough or cold medicine to your child unless the doctor says it’s ok, especially to children under the age of 6 years old. These products offer little benefit to young children and can have serious side effects. Many cough and cold products for children have more than one ingredient, which may increase the chances of accidental overdose if taken with other medication. 

Never use leftover medicines. For example, pharmacists will sometimes dispense more liquid medicine than is needed, in case. Never use leftover medicines. For example, pharmacists will sometimes dispense more liquid medicine than is needed, in case some is spilled or measured incorrectly. If you have leftover liquid medicine, throw it out. For medicines taken as needed, keep an eye on the expiration date to make sure that you do not administer out of date medicine. Never give your child medicine that has been prescribed to someone else, whether an adult or a child. 

Even if the two people have the same illness, they may need different drugs with different dosage and directions. Never give a child medicine that is meant for adults. When buying over the counter medicines, check the packaging for possible tampering and do not use any medicine with a cut, torn, or sliced package. Check expiration dates too. What to know when giving your child medicine. The name and purpose of the medicine, how much, how often and for how long the medicine should be taken. How the medicine should be given. For example, by mouth, breathed into the lungs, inserted into the ears or eyes, or applied to the skin. 

Any special instructions like whether the medicine should be taken with or without food. How is the medicine stored? How long the medicine can be stored safely before it needs to be discarded. Common side effects or reactions. Interactions with other medicines your child takes. What happens if your child misses a dose? Safe storage, out of reach and sight. Use medicine containers with safety caps to keep them out of the reach and sight of children. Remember that safety caps are child resistant but not fully child proof. Store medicine including over the counter medicines in their original packaging, in a locked cabinet or containers. 

Safety latches that automatically lock when you close a cabinet door can help keep children away from dangerous products. But they can fail or break. Put medicine back in a safe storage right after using them. Never leave children alone with medicines. If you’re giving or taking medicine, and you must do something else such as answering the phone, take the medicine with you. 

Remind babysitters, grandparents, and anyone else who visits your home to keep purses, bags, or jackets that may have medicine in them where the children cannot reach them. Join our campaign Start Strong PA, advocate for affordable high-quality child care. Pre-K for PA, advocacy for increasing access to high-quality pre-k. Childhood Begins at Home, advocacy for evidence-based home visiting. Support our public policy agenda, receive advocacy alerts right into your inbox. More resources from Trying Together. Allegheny Child Care, Early Learning Resource Center 5, The Homewood Early Learning hub and Family Center, Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series. Thank you for your time today.


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Parenting Together Pathway

The Parenting Together Pathway is a video-based learning series to provide high-quality information on early childhood development to parents and caregivers in Allegheny County and surrounding areas.

Learn more about the series.



Image: An early learning professional works with a young student to put together a puzzle of a young boy.
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