KIDS LIVE SAFE: A Family Safety Blog

Why Teal Pumpkins Are a New Halloween Tradition

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

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