KIDS LIVE SAFE: A Family Safety Blog

Back to School 2020: A Physician’s Guide

Children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

Children return to school with face masks after Summer Covid-19 quarantine and lockdowns.

The decision for schools to return to in-person attendance has been looming in the back of parents, teachers and administrator’s minds over each summer month that has ticked by. With the states and countries that have reopened, they have seen almost immediate setbacks and infection rates arise. With those that have removed the decision completely from parents to send their kids back or not, they have received much backlash from their enrollees. The tug-a-war of information and lack of consistency amongst these crucial decisions are enough to make any parent, confident or concerned, worried of what will happen in this upcoming school year. As we cope with the enormous list of pros and cons of our children’s return to school, let’s take a moment to revert to the absolute basics and the decisions we know we can control regardless of what is being ruled for us.

Meet Dr. Geeta Nayyar, M.D., M.B.A., an overly qualified and nationally respected physician that has lead the largest corporations in the Health sector and multinational companies, like Salesforce and AT&T, to bridge the gap between medical information systems and it’s relation to hospital operations and improved patient care. She knows her stuff, and she has three recommendations for you to keep in mind to rest assure you are making the best decision for your own family’s unique situation.

  1. Local and State Vital Check

Take a high-level pulse check of how your local and state governments are handling the infection rates and executing operations to decrease them. How is testing in your area? How is the hospital bed availability? Is the contact tracing programs robust and accurate? If your location is struggling with high infection rates and all of the major criteria to decrease them listed above, then your kid’s individual school will struggle with it too. Try not to think of you children’s learning space as an exception and keep your little ones home until the area around you is controlling contagion up to your comfortability.

  1. School Protocol and Screening

Look and ask beyond your school’s increased public relation campaigns to reassure you and every other parent that they are clean and prepared. Dive into the nitty gritty and paint the picture of their overall dedication to fighting the spread of this infection with screening protocols, cleaning frequencies, and ventilation systems. Are they using hybrid-learning models this Fall? What are your main objectives that they are either meeting or not for you to feel comfortable enough to return your child to in-person learning.

  1. Your Unique Household Security

Is your household equipped with resources to take on the potential risks of someone getting infected with Covid? There is always a chance of your child bringing the virus home, and the health of the entire household needs to be taken into consideration as you decide to send your child back. Do you live with senior citizens or with someone with health restrictions?  How is your health coverage and access to health care? What is covered and what is not? Covering every base with those outside of the school system is necessary to ensure matters do not exceed beyond the worry of exposing your child in large populations again.

If you have justified this check list and do feel comfortable enough to send your children back with the others, the next important step is to communicate well and communicate frequently with your youngsters about healthy habits and hygiene. Talk and continue to reinstate the high importance of social distancing to the best of their ability, washing hands, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching their faces and wearing a mask when returning to their classmates! We will all benefit from thinking through our decisions and being consciously aware of what may result of them during this unusual and tricky time, and this will only influence your children to do the same. Every effort counts, and we are truly all in this together.

Homeschooling Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

While the uncertainty of this pandemic may be overwhelming, there may be comfort in knowing that every single person in the world is going through the same thing right now. While we may be forced into isolation, we are not alone in experiencing this unprecedented event. Even your favorite celebrities are juggling how to raise their families and maintain their careers when suddenly forced with the new responsibility of being a teacher and babysitter.

Some celebrities are not coping as well as others. Just see what some celebrities had to say about their new jobs:

Shonda Rhimesshonda

“Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.”


Jennifer Lopezlopez

“Have you seen the math that they make the kids do now? It’s a new math. It’s crazy. And so half the time I’m like, ‘Ok. Yes, let’s look up that word. What does that mean?’ It’s been an experience for sure.”

lauren-conrad-main-insta-810x610Lauren Conrad

“Self-isolation with tiny people is no joke. Only a few days in and we are quickly running out of activities.”

Justin Timberlake1280jtsilas

“We’re mostly commiserating over the fact that just 24-hour parenting is just not human.”


While we can all agree that adding teacher to our list of responsibilities is not easy, some celebrity parents have seen the silver lining and gave some advice to those who are having trouble navigating this new normal:


Angelina Jolie angelina-jolie-brad-pitt-kids

“It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect. They just want you honest. And doing your best. In fact, the more room they have to be great where you are weak, the stronger they may become. They love you. They want to help you. So in the end, it’s the team you build. And in a way, they are raising you up too. You grow together.”

Goldie Hawngoldie-hawn-kids

“Listen, our children are our greatest teachers. And you should be, as a parent, available to learn, because you don’t know everything.”

Drew Barrymore drew-barrymore-kids-1553710114

“It was the messiest plate I’ve ever held in my life to be the teacher, the parent, the disciplinarian, the caretaker…  I didn’t think I needed to respect and appreciate teachers any more than I did. I don’t know if there are good days and bad days. I think there are good hours and bad hours… I march in the army of optimism and I’m looking for recruits.”

Cameron Diaz158bdd88e28f23719eb0d9d9c99d1b29

“None of us know what’s going to happen, when this is going to end, [or] what the new start is. I’ve thought of a million things: ‘Are we going to move away? Where do we raise our child?’ All those things you think about. The best thing to do is to stay in the moment, just take care. Until there’s a vaccination we don’t know anything.”

Hilary Duff


“It’s exhausting. It’s so exhausting. You know, I have my days where I’m like, ‘Oh, I moved mountains and I deserve a medal.’ And then there are other days where I’m like, ‘How can I complain?’ We’re all healthy and we have a backyard and we have a pool. You know, it’s hard. I know a lot of people are getting judgments for complaining. You know, people that have what they need. I feel extremely appreciative.”

Whether you can find the silver lining in this situation or not, remember that we’re all in this together.

Is Social Distancing Traumatizing Our Kids?


As families across the world get accustomed to remote working and schooling, the effect of social distancing on children is uncertain. Parents around the world are sharing how their children are adjusting to this new change in their lives, and it seems to follow the same trend. Take a look at what some parents have observed:

Separation anxiety affects children, even through virtual connections:

One parent puts it into perspective:

These observations bring up an important conversation about how our children will develop their behavioral and social skills during this unprecedented time. Toddlerhood is the most physically aggressive stage and marks the start of their ability to create peer relationships. At around the age of 5, they start developing close friendships that help children embody strong self-esteem and cultivate better relationships overall. Hindering this kind of development has scientifically been proven to lead to low self-esteem and poor mental health.

Is social distancing traumatizing our children? Only time can tell, but there are ways to combat the negative effects of isolation in children. Genuinely engaging with your children, encouraging them to be physically active outside, and continuing to cultivate their friendships over virtual means can ease the anxieties your child may be feeling. Read our blog post called “How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus” to see how to appropriately discuss this pandemic with your child. As long as children are continued to be supported, heard, and empathized with, you can continue to improve their developmental health.

Easter Isn’t Canceled!


Easter will be a little different this year due to social distancing. However, people have gotten creative with ways to keep the spirit of the holiday without sacrificing our favorite traditions. Atlanta mom Brooke Peck has come up with a way to continue the Easter egg hunt. According to Peck, “I thought doing a spring egg hunt would be special because I knew that traditional egg hunts would be canceled due to social distancing measures. The continued canceling of social events makes our family sad so I was hoping this non-traditional egg hunt would bring excitement and joy to us and others in the community.”

Her rules are simple:

  1. Create an egg.
  2. Hang it outside.
  3. Go hunt for eggs in your community, making sure to continue to social distance.

You can visit her Instagram page more inspiration. Many communities across the country have organized their own social distancing egg hunts such as the Iowa Egg Council, who has provided their own printable egg template that you can color and hang outside of your home. You can make the eggs out of paper, cardboard, or you can even decorate your front yard with real decorated eggs like the ones below:

There are endless ways to get creative with this egg hunt. Coordinate with your neighborhood or town on Facebook, Nextdoor, or however you prefer to contact those who live around you. You can take it a step further and make it a competition with your friends by taking a picture of each one, and count how many you find! Just because we can’t gather together in person doesn’t mean that we can’t stay connected and celebrate our favorite holidays.

If you need more fun Easter ideas, make sure to visit our Facebook page at Have a happy and safe Easter!

How To Talk To Your Kids About the Coronavirus


There are over 100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US so far, so your children must have heard of it by now either through the news or from other kids at school. However, it’s important that you have a conversation about it with them so you can ease their anxieties and make sure they aren’t misinformed. The New York Times has set up a guide that will help you discuss this topic with your children, getting advice from licensed professionals from all over the country. If you need help with how to approach the topic of the coronavirus with your child, check out these tips below:

1. Process your own fears and anxieties first

Abi Gerwirtz, Ph. D. suggests that you talk to a friend, partner, or therapist before talking to your child in order to calm yourself down. Dr. Gerwitz is a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Minnesota who is also the author of the book, “When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids.” Approaching your child with a worried demeanor can make your child’s anxiety worse, so you want to be as calm as possible before having this conversation with them.

2. Assess what your child already knows

If your child is under 6-years-old and has not heard about the virus yet, you may be better off not mentioning it all to avoid unnecessary anxiety. If your child is a bit older and has heard about it through the news or through friends at school, ask exactly how much they know about the virus before diving into the topic. Understanding what they already know will give you a better idea of what you should and should not discuss.

3. Talk to them in language they’ll understand

Discuss the topic in an age-appropriate manner. Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, M.D., an attending physician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago says you can say something like, “This illness is different than a cold because it’s new, but people are trying really hard to make sure it doesn’t spread, and they treat people who are sick. If you ever have questions, talk to me.” 

4. Don’t downplay their fears

Dr. Gerwitz suggests that you don’t simply say “You’ll be fine” when your child expresses their anxieties. Address any fears that they have and let them know that what they are feeling is valid, while also sticking to the facts. You don’t want to downplay the virus as something to not worry about, but you also don’t want to blow it out of proportion. Simply listening to and acknowledging their fears will ease their anxiety.

5. Revisit hand washing techniques and emphasize good hygiene

Washing your hands is the number 1 weapon we have to avoid this virus. Teach your children to thoroughly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after meals, or after touching anything dirty. Singing “Happy Birthday” twice is a good benchmark for how long you should wash your hands, but you can also take this opportunity to learn a catchy song or make handwashing a fun game that will encourage them to make handwashing a habit. The video below is one of the many videos on Youtube that makes handwashing fun:

Remember that hand sanitizer is NOT an alternative to hand washing! It’s useful for when you can’t access water and soap, but it does not effectively remove grime which harbors bacteria or kills certain pathogens. In order for hand sanitizer to be effective, you need to rub it into your skin for 20 seconds and make sure it dries – which is not as easy to do with children who are usually too impatient. 

Emphasize to your children not to touch their eyes, nose, or ears – the main places bacteria can enter your body. Get them into the habit of being aware when they rub their eyes or nose, and to have them wash their hands immediately when they do so they don’t spread their own bacteria to everyone else. 

6. Frame school closures as a good thing

Having their routine disrupted by having schools close can be very alarming. Try to frame it as positively as possible for your child. Saying something like “This means more time for games!” instead of something scary. Make sure to keep a routine to keep a sense of normalcy, such as making sure they get enough exercise to stay as healthy as possible. Most importantly, enjoy the extra time as much as you can with your child and spend quality time together.

Overall, being on the same page as your child and making sure they know the proper way to stay clean will ease anxieties for everyone in your family.

Big Things Come In Small Packages | Black History Month

February is Black History Month! While we celebrate those who have made significant contributions to the African-American community in the past, there are a few pint-sized powerhouses that deserve to be recognized for the contributions to our society that they are making right now.

Mari Copeny 


Also known as “Little Miss Flint,” Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny is a youth activist from Flint, Michigan. At the age of 8, she wrote a letter to President Obama in order to draw attention to the Flint Water Crisis that was being overlooked in her hometown. President Obama responded to her and said that “letters from kids like you are what makes me so optimistic about the future.” In turn, he visited Flint and consequently declared a federal state of emergency in January 2016 and authorized $100 million to fix the crisis. She currently still advocates for the town of Flint and its water crisis, as well as participates in many different initiatives such as community fundraising for underprivileged families and organizing anti-bullying programs in her local schools. She also started a GoFundMe campaign which raised more than $16,000 to provide hundreds of low-income children the opportunity to see the Black Panther movie, with the intent to provide the majority audience of Black children with aspirations and a positive self-image.

Asean Johnson

asean_caro_original_39429When he found out that his school was planning to be shut down, 9-year-old Asean gave an impassioned speech during protests regarding the closing of 54 Chicago public schools. In his speech he mentions, “You should be investing in these schools, not closing them. You should be supporting these schools, not closing them … We shall not be moved today. We’re going to city hall … We are not going down without a fight.” He continues to fight for the children of Chicago, as well as children all over the country. He also has spoken in Washington D.C. against gun violence and racial inequality and was even part of Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Asean is currently still in high school, but President of the Chicago Teacher’s Union Karen Lewis endorses him for mayor in 2025 – when he turns 21-years-old.

Marley Dias

marleyMarley set out to diversify the kind of books in her school library because she felt that she couldn’t relate to any of them. She felt that her school only had “a bunch of books about white boys and their dogs.” At just 11-years-old, she started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign with the goal to collect and donate 1,000 books that feature black girls as the main character. She has collected over 9,000 books thus far, but became frustrated when she saw just how few books there were featuring black girls. In 2018, she wrote and published her own book titled, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! at the age of 13. She won Smithsonian Magazine’s American Ingenuity Award in the Youth category, as well as became’s youngest editor.

Elijah Precciely

ElijahPreccielyAt just 11 years old, Elijah became the youngest person to receive a full scholarship to Southern University in Louisiana. He is a Physics and Mechanical Engineering double major at this historically Black university, and is currently in his second year of school. Not only is he a full-time student, but he is also a published author and has applied for five patents for his inventions. As of 2020, 12-year-old Elijah is set to appear in and help produce Cartoon Network’s new Drawn To series, a show that was developed to inspire young adults to help others by identifying and committing to different fields of study that they are drawn to. He is also set to publish his second book this year titled, A Prodigy, My Story at Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, Year One.

Marsai Martin

MarsaiMarsai was cast in the ABC comedy Series Black-ish at the age of 10, and has since been a highly awarded actress. At the age of 13, she was cast the lead role in the feature film comedy Little. She was made executive producer of the film in 2019, making her the youngest person in Hollywood to ever produce a movie. She founded her production company Genius Productions, making her the youngest person to get a production deal with a major studio when she signed a first-look deal with Universal in 2019.

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.