Preparedness Playlist 2

As you know, part of the mission of the Red Cross is preparedness. Most people immediately think of getting ready for natural disasters, disaster relief, etc. But what about being prepared for a medical emergency? Would you know what to do if one of your loved ones stopped breathing? I recently had to renew my CPR certification as part of my job at a daycare and realized that it is so important that everyone have some kind of training in this life saving skill. You never know if you could end up saving the life of a stranger or a close friend. Maybe even become a hero to someone and their family. So, check out and enroll yourself (and friends) in a CPR class. It could be something fun you do together. While you’re at it, check out the songs that inspired this blog post:

  1. How to Save a Life-The Fray
  2. Savin’ Me-Nickelback
  3. Save You-Simple Plan
  4. Someone Saved My Life Tonight-Elton John
  5. Hold On-Good Charlotte
  6. Bring Me to Life-Evanescence
  7. My Hero– Foo Fighters
  8. Your Guardian Angel-Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  9. Hero-Superchick
  10. Stayin’ Alive-Bee Gees (Bonus: You can keep beat to this song as you do chest compressions.)
  11. I Will Survive -Gloria Gaynor
  12. Hero Heroine-Boys Like Girls
  13. Just Breathe-Pearl Jam

Hey SoCal, Are You Ready?

Are you ready for any disaster? And I’m talking completely prepared for anything Mother Nature decides to throw at you. According to, only 6% of households in L.A. are truly prepared. So chances are you need a little help getting your family ready for a disaster. Well, lucky for you, the Red Cross is here to help you out. The Red Cross, partnered with Edison International, has created this incredibly informative website called Prepare SoCal. Yes, the one I mentioned above-a little foreshadowing anyone?

This site breaks down getting prepared into 3 steps:
1. Get a Kit : Maybe you are thinking where do I start? This website offers tips on what to include for whatever your needs are-from mini-kits and basic kits to the ultimate preparedness kit. If you don’t have the time or energy to put together your own kit, the Red Cross has got you covered there, too. Their online store offers kits in different sizes and levels-from basic 1 person to deluxe family kits.

2. Make a Plan: Knowing exaclty what to do in the event of a disaster can take the panic out of a situation, not to mention potentially save lives. Your family disaster plan should include a communication plan, disaster supplies kit, and an evacuation plan. Only four steps to a disaster ready plan:

  • Find out what could happen to you
  • Make a disaster plan
  • Complete the checklist (click the link and scroll down to see it)
  • Practice your plan

3. Be Informed: From earthquakes and wildfires to pandemic and terrorism, whatever it is, this site has got you covered. Use this resource to learn what disasters can affect you. Topics covered include how to prepare, what to do during a disaster and other related information. There are even first-aid tips on common injuries that may happen during that particular disaster.

Not a fan of reading? No problem. This site also has PrepareTV-short videos on different topics related to preparedness. So you can watch and inform yourself that way. (Psst… It’s a great tool if you’re teaching your kids about preparedness.)

Wanna go the extra mile and take a class? A little CPR training perhaps? You can find out more about that on this website, too.

Child and Safety Protection Month 4

So here is the final installment of my Child Safety and Protection month saga. This final piece will include miscellaneous tips that I found that didn’t fit into the other categories (disaster preparedness, play safety, accident avoidance).

  • Use walkie-talkie (if you don’t have cell phones). I read this tip from a mother who used walkie talkies when her children were biking in their neighborhood. That way they could still contact her easily from wherever they were and she did not have to worry. Bonus: the kids will totally love them.
  • Check out the FBI website, They have great resources and info.
    • Know who lives in your neighborhood. You can check the Sex Offender Registry to find out if there are any sex offenders in your area.
    • They also have a great Kids Safety Tips section. It’s formatted especially for children, with crosswords and colorful graphics. It includes topics like gun safety, stranger danger, and other child safety topics. Plus, it’s from people who know what they are talking about.
  • Talk to your kids about being safe online. The Federal Trade Commission has a whole booklet dedicated to safe online practices for your kids and setting the proper parental controls. Check it out by clicking here. They also have a number of other great child-geared tools available.
  • Visit This is a great resource for parents, children, and teens (with specific tabs for each). It has information on nearly every topic that may come up when dealing with children. Plus they have printable safety guides available for a quick reference (great to have around the house, or for teaching your kids).

Hope you enjoyed reading and learned a lot. You can also check out for more info.

Child Safety and Protection Month 3

This week I am continuing with part 3 of my 4 part installment of “Child Safety and Protection”. My last 2 posts have centered on topics of disaster preparedness for children and safety during play; this week’s is about preventing accidents. Did you know that accidents are the number 1 cause of death for children? I didn’t until I started researching for these posts and was shocked. Arming yourself with the right information can help you prevent accidents or respond better to them, which is the purpose of this post.

  • One way to prevent fatal accidents, and to be prepared to respond to one, is to learn CPR and first aid. Lucky for you, the Red Cross offers these classes, including one for pediatric CPR/first aid. Check out for classes in your area. (I had to take a class on this as part of my job working with kids.)
    • If your kids are old enough, consider taking a class where they can join you. I took one as a kid with my scout troop and loved it! Bonus: your child can learn how to save lives, too!
  • Learn how to help a choking victim. This is usually taught in CPR classes as well-even more insentive to take one (hint, hint). In the mean time, be wary of the top 12 most common choking foods for children under 5:
    • 1. Popcorn
    • 2. Hot dogs
    • 3. Chunks of meat
    • 4. Raisins
    • 5. Ice cubes
    • 6. Chunky peanut butter
    • 7. Nuts of any kind
    • 8. Hard candy
    • 9. Grapes
    • 10. Raw carrots
    • 11. Chips
    • 12. Popcorn
  • Be aware of any open containers of water-kiddie pool, bucket, etc. Small children can drown in mearly inches of water.
  • Get in the mind set of looking for possible safety hazards-which I have to do for work all the time. You can also take a class (at your local Red Cross) focused on preventative health and safety for children!
  • Last, but not least, check that your child’s car seat or booster seat is properly installed and age appropriate.

Check back next week for part 4! Can’t wait? Check out


Child Safety and Protection Month 2

I work for a day care with children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Having worked there for over 2 years, I am trained to be on the look out for the safety of little ones. Since I watch the younglings mostly in a play environment, I will share some tips I have learned to make sure their play area, and their play time, is safe.

  • Give their toys a check-up. When a toy is broken it can present choking hazards or sharp edges. Sometimes the toy may be repaired, but in most cases they need to be thrown out.
    • You can even make it into a game-your little one can help you find the ‘sick’ toys. Tell them that if any of their toys are ‘sick’ in the future, to bring it to your attention.
  • Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( for any recalls on toys. If it’s dangerous you definitely don’t want it near your children.
    • You can also check that any equipment your children use, like baby swings, are up to date and follow new federal regulations. CPSC has information on this, as well.
  • Take a gander at your backyard play structures, if you have any. It should be sturdy, with nothing loose or broken.
  • Give their bikes, and similar equipment, an inspection to ensure they are still in tip-top shape. Check steering, brakes, and for any loose bolts or screws.
    • You can make this into a game also-play mechanic and check the ‘car’ for any ‘needed repairs’. (This is a great game because it teaches them to check their own bikes; once they know what to look for, they can tell you when there is a problem.)
  • Make sure their helmets still fit properly. And most importantly-make sure they wear one!

Check back next week for a new post on keeping your kids safe and protected. Still want more? Visit, or last week’s post.

National Child Safety and Protection Month 1

November brings fall, Thanksgiving, and National Child Safety and Protection month. While it is always important to keep the safety of little ones in mind, this month serves as a reminder to do a sort of “spring cleaning”, if you will, for all things related to your kids. Each week this month, I will post something related to child safety, so stay tuned!

First, and we would not be the Red Cross if we did not start here, every family needs to be prepared for a disaster. Disasters are always stressful and being unprepared makes it even more so. So follow these tips to make sure everyone in your family is safe, relatively calm, and have everything they need in the face of any catastrophe.

  • Make sure all disaster plans are up to date and that everyone in your family knows them. If your family does not have one, now is a great time to plan.  Have a practice run to ensure everything will run smoothly when the real thing happens.
  • Update your emergency bag. Include things your children require, or use, on a daily basis; for example, diapers, pacifier, baby formula. This bag should be changed periodically to make sure it meets your child’s current needs (and that food/medication is not expired). Don’t forget:
    • Extra water
    • Non-perishable snacks and food that your child likes
    • Toys or a stuffed animal
    • Spare clothing
    • Blankets
    • Toiletries
    • Any medications (like an inhaler)
    • A flashlight for your child to use
    • A copy of important documents: birth certificates, immunization records, insurance cards, etc.

Hopefully that was enough to whet your appetite. If you’re still hungry for more, wait for the next post, or check out

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Gosh, that’s a mouthful! But as a dog owner and general animal lover, this topic is very important to me (even if they slobber all over your keyboard while you’re trying to write a blog post). Though we’re nearing the end of April, it’s never too late to prepare for our four-legged family members.

Did you know that, along with our courses in CPR, First Aid, lifeguarding, and babysitting, the American Red Cross offers Pet First Aid? In fact, it’s one of the more popular classes in Orange County (I like to think it’s because we’re so pet-friendly). You can even order the companion book complete with DVD for cats or dogs.

It’s also very important to know how to help our pets during a disaster. Beforehand, while you’re putting together your emergency kit, make one for your pet as well. Include things like a pet first aid kit, medications and medical records (including vaccinations), and pet supplies (leashes, carriers, food, etc.). We even have this handy checklist to help you. And you can visit the Pet and Disaster Safety section of our website for more info.

But what about our other furry/feathered/scaly/shelled friends? I wouldn’t want to leave my horse/parrot/lizard/turtle out in the cold. Visit the Humane Society website for disaster preparedness resources for other animals and take their quiz to find out if you’re ready. While you’re at it, stop by our buddies at RedCrossDog or follow them on Twitter for great tips on how to prepare for and respond to pet emergencies.

When planning for disasters, remember: pets are people, too!