KIDS LIVE SAFE: A Family Safety Blog

Why Teal Pumpkins Are a New Halloween Tradition


Have you ever thought about what children who have severe food allergies do on Halloween? According to Margareth Delacruz of Vallejo, California, her daughter Kendall’s severe food allergies made Halloween a difficult time for the 6-year-old. “Her allergies started when she was really young and we carry an EpiPen everywhere. During Halloween, she would still go trick-or-treating with other kids but she was never allowed to eat any of the candy.” With over 5.6 million American children under the age of 18 having a life-threatening food allergy, the Teal Pumpkin Project aims to make Halloween a little more inclusive.

What exactly is the Teal Pumpkin Project? In 2012, Becky Basalone of Tennessee wanted to make Halloween safer for her two sons; one of which has a life-threatening food allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, cow’s milk, apple, and cinnamon – some of the most common ingredients in Halloween candy and treats. What started off as an idea that became a viral post on Facebook has now become a worldwide movement backed by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization to raise awareness and promote inclusivity during this holiday.

You may be wondering, why teal? Teal has been the color used to raise awareness for severe food allergies for over 20 years. To participate, all you need to do is place a teal pumpkin outside of your house or put up a Teal Pumpkin Project poster and provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. The FARE website has a helpful list of safe and inexpensive items to pass out on Halloween such as:

  • Glow sticks
  • Pencils, crayons, or markers
  • Stickers

Having traditional candy available for children without allergies is more than welcome, but make sure to keep the non-food items and candy in separate bowls to prevent possible contamination. You can also add your address to the Teal Pumpkin Project Map to show your support for the cause, as well as connect with other families who want to safely trick-or-treat with their children.


Aside from food allergy awareness, Margareth thinks that the Teal Pumpkin Project will also have positive implications overall. “I think that everyone will benefit from the project too. I see it as a healthier alternative to trick-or-treating. It’s not the healthiest thing to introduce massive amounts of sugar to kids at such a young age, and we all know that sugar is very addictive.” She also mentions that children without allergies but have dietary restrictions will benefit as well. “For kids with ADHD or diabetes that have special diets, this project will be a great alternative too.”

For more information, visit the FARE website to see how your family can participate this year and help kids all over the world have a safe and fun Halloween!


You Won’t Believe What This New Alabama Bill Wants Sex Offenders to Do

jail prison cell and bars

Alabama – America is in the midst of voting for a law that would require some sex offenders to undergo chemical castration before they can be released from prison. Alabama’s state legislature passed a bill to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for signature. The legislation put forward by state GOP Rep. Steve Hurst, states, “criminals convicted for a sexual offense involving anyone under the age of 13 would be required to undergo chemical castration treatment in addition to any other penalty or condition prescribed by law.”

The law, which was sent to Gov. Ivey’s desk over the weekend, also states that ” it would require the criminal to foot the bill for the procedure, but also prohibit a person from being denied parole because of inability to pay.”

This bill has certainly sparked some debate: Is Chemical Castration Inhumane?

Whether you think this bill is a good thing and you would vote for it, or you are adamantly opposed to it, we here at KidsLiveSafe would like to hear your opinion. Take the poll below:

Today Is National Missing Children’s Day

Today is the 36th National Missing Children’s Day. Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. To celebrate, we’ve created some tips on teaching your children about interacting with strangers.


9-Tips to help teach your children about interacting with strangers:

  • Start with basic body safety. To start the conversation about strangers, discuss general safety with 2- and 3-year-olds. When you go out, ask them to stay close. Also, kids this age are not too young to learn the correct terms for their genitals and that it’s not okay for most people to touch them there.
  • Discuss the concept of strangers. Kids are usually ready for this discussion around age 4. Starting by asking your child, “Do you know what a stranger is?”
  • Point out adults that kids can trust. Besides Grandpa and Auntie, give a few examples of adults a child can go to for help – another trusted parent, teacher, or school counselor.
  • Go over do’s and don’ts. Define some rules about how to deal with strangers.
  • Establish Internet do’s and don’ts. Place any computer or phone your child uses in a common area, so you can monitor what he’s doing. Children this age shouldn’t be on social media or in chat forums.
  • Establish guidelines for using public bathrooms. By age 6, most children are ready to use a public restroom on their own. But be vigilant: Stand outside the door and tell your child to call if she needs you.
  • Prep older children for being home alone. Teach them that if someone comes to the door, they shouldn’t open it but should say, “Mom can’t come to the door right now.”
  • Role-play to teach, not to scare. “What if?” questions are an opportunity to practice – just be sure to stay positive and not frighten your child.
  • Avoid scary statements. To drive the message home, you may be tempted to issue warnings like “A stranger might take you away from me!” or “I might never see you again!” But that will frighten your child unnecessarily. “The conversation needs to be not what you’re afraid of but what empowers your child.


These 9-tips will help teach your children proper ways to recognize stranger-danger in any given situation.

Every year for National Missing Children’s Day, the U.S. Department of Justice organized by OJJDP, recognizes organizations, individuals, and agencies who have made a difference in recovering missing, exploited, or abducted children. OJJDP invites fifth graders each year to participate in a Missing Children’s Day poster contest. Madison Dozier, from Reiley Elementary School in Alexandria, Kentucky was this years winner. Fifth graders from 33 states submitted artwork to this annual poster contest.


2019 National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest Winner: is Madison Dozier, Reiley Elementary School in Alexandria, Kentucky.

We think that Madison’s picture sends an important message. What are you doing for National Missing Children’s Day?


merlin_153031185_0281a8be-60e5-401b-af8b-f546f28f4457-superJumboTimmothy Pitzen, pictured before his 2011 disappearance.

A 6-year-old boy who went missing in 2011 after his mother committed suicide, has now resurfaced–possibly. 

Timmothy James Pitzen, from Aurora, Illinois, disappeared mysteriously on May 12, 2011, when his mother took him out of an elementary school early and drove him to a Wisconsin water park, never to be seen again. 

Her body was discovered on May 14, 2011, inside a motel room in Rockford, Illinois, following the apparent suicide. Left behind, was an ominous note saying that her son, Timmothy, was now safe with people who loved him and that “You will never find him.” And nobody has–until just recently. 

In the town of Sharonville Ohio, police were asked by dispatchers to check a local Red Roof Inn Motel Wednesday morning after receiving a call from a 14-year-old claiming he had just escaped from two kidnappers who had been holding him hostage for several years. 

The Sharonville police searched the Red Roof Inn but found nothing–prompting them to call other nearby law enforcement agencies to assist in the search. That’s when a teen who said his name was Timmothy Pitzen was spotted by bystanders sprinting across a bridge into Newport, Ky. They initially thought he might be trying to steal a car, but as they approached, they saw lacerations and bruises on his face. The boy asked for help, describing his kidnappers as two white, males with a Ford S.U.V. and Wisconsin license plates, according to the police report.

The police have not yet verified whether the alleged boy is really Timmothy Pitzen. Federal investigators plan to use DNA tests and other methods to determine his identity on Thursday evening. “We still have no confirmation of the identity of the person located but hope to have something later this afternoon or early this evening,” according to a statement made by the Aurora police on Facebook. 

As authorities investigate the teen’s claims, Timmothy’s grandmother told the Associated Press that she was trying not “to panic or be overly excited.” The Anderson family has endured multiple false alarms about his return, so they have learned to keep their expectations low until claims have been confirmed. 

If the teen is Timmothy Pitzen, it could be a symbol of hope for the parents of other missing children, providing a prime example that missing children do return home, even after long periods of time. 






Keeping Your Child Safe Walking Home From School or A Friend’s House

There was a time when kids safely walked to a friend’s house or school. This was also the time when kids played outside until the streetlights turned on – the ‘signal’ that it was time for dinner and homework. However, now children walking alone are not nearly as safe, what was once a predictably safe childhood journey –  walking to a friend’s house – is infinitely more dangerous. This elevated risk requires parents to teach children how to participate in keeping themselves safe.

So, at what age should a child be permitted to walk alone to a nearby friend or school?

What the experts say…

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to wait until their child is around ten years old before allowing them to walk alone, without an adult. While walking is healthy for the mind and body, it is also potentially dangerous. Younger kids require extra supervision because they tend to be more impulsive – having no concept of impending danger. It is suggested, however, that younger children – those under the age of ten be taught traffic laws, traffic signals, and general safety protocols when walking with an adult until they are ready to walk alone.

Teaching your Child to Recognize Danger

The principal concept – the increasing need for protecting a child in the 21st century– requires parents to proactively teach their child that danger exists in many different forms. Dangers include an unleashed dog who can potentially bite a frightened child. A broken footpath is quite dangerous because the neglected repair can lead to a serious sidewalk injury. Strangers, either walking or following by car, represent a serious potential danger for children, especially for those who have not been taught about stranger danger. Your objective as a parent is to ensure that your child understands just what danger might look like to them.

Rules and regulations regarding the issue of ‘how to old a child must be to walk alone’ are defined at state and local levels.

Try the buddy system…

The buddy system is a strategy where two children operate as a single entity; simultaneously reaching for the same objective. The strategy is primarily used to reduce risk; each buddy has a separate job to do to be successful.

Slowly introduce your particular safety rules to your child before they begin walking alone. Most parents use the following steps (or similar ones) to begin. Over time you can modify the rules to be more age appropriate:

  1. Select a safe route to follow, walk it many times with them
  2. Point out landmarks or homes of family and friends, quiz your child’s knowledge while walking the route
  3. Always use crosswalks and sidewalks
  4. Look both ways when crossing a street
  5. Always follow traffic signals
  6. Follow the rules of Stranger Danger
  7. If your child has a mobile phone, teach him or her how to place an emergency call for help (Type in your name and contact information in your child’s phone)

Raising Awareness

Our website is dedicated to helping parents keep their children safe using a remarkable amount of resources consolidated on one website. The website has conveniently designed extensive search modes that access sexual predator information in real time – from the FBI and other governmental agency databases. One cannot identify a sex offender by simply observing their behavior or the way they look. The Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) provides a few sobering statistics to consider regarding the matter:

  • 80% of sex offenders are adults, 20% are juveniles
  • Family members represent 30% of all sexual offenders
  • 23% of sexual perpetrators are minors
  • Sexual assaults account for 1% of all arrests
  • By the time they attain adulthood, 1 in 7 boys and 1 in 5 girls will be a victim of sexual abuse

Handy Digital Tools…

The digital revolution has created a number of apps that are remarkably helpful for those who wish to monitor their child’s location and motion. For those who have not tried these apps, give them a try and experience the peace of mind they offer. Here are a few to consider designed to meet the many safety needs of our children:

Life 360– This app locates family members, you can set up alerts when family members get to their favorite spots, see locations and get easy access to messaging, check-in requests and more from your home screen.

Footprints– the Footprints app monitors and tracks your child’s location in real time. The app follows your child’s movement every day, all day. The child safety app allows parents to personalize the ‘boundaries’ their child stay within. If they are crossed, the app alerts the parents of this fact.

Bark –the Bark app is designed to monitor the many digital channels a child can hook up to the Internet with. This includes more than 20 social application networks, emails, and YouTube usage.

The Takeaway

The truth is that only a parent can really know the maturity of their preteen kid. Use your intuition and experience to determine if your child is mature enough to walk to school alone. Some ten-year-olds will understand the need to be cautious while walking alone, however, some ten-year-olds might not. If, as a parent you are uncertain, take the cautious route and wait until your child exhibits behavior that warrants the responsibility.

Halloween is a fun and memorable time of the year for families, and to help you have a fun and safe Halloween we have 10 quick tips for you and your family.

1. Accompany your children & family on their trick-or-treating journey. Adult supervision is always recommended for children 12 & under.

2. Always use crosswalks and do not cut across streets. 

3. Wait until you get home to open any treats or candy. A quick inspection of the candy and packaging can let you know if it has been tampered with.

4. Only visit homes that have a porch light turned on & never enter a stranger’s home for treats.

5. Use the buddy system. Trick-or-treat with a group of friends or family members for maximum fun and enjoyment.

6. Carry a flashlight and/or glow sticks to help with nighttime visibility.

7. Wear properly-fitting costumes and masks. Over-sized costumes and attire can present a trip-hazard.

8. Plan your trip ahead of time. Let your trick-or-treating group know what directions to take so everyone stays together as the night progresses.

9. Light up your house and arm the security system while you’re out trick-or-treating.

10. Avoid decorative eye contacts. Wearing “one size fits all” contacts without a prescription can cause irritation, pain, and possible infections.

BONUS TIP: Check your neighborhood for potentially dangerous homes by searching your ZIP Code for registered sex offenders and criminals. Tools such as KidsLiveSafe can help you map out the areas of your neighborhood that should be avoided while trick-or-treating.

Search Free Today.

Olympic Gold medalist McKayla Maroney spoke out for the first time since coming forward as a victim of sexual abuse at a luncheon for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC). Read More