Back-to-School Food Safety Tips

tipsThe following back-to-school  food safety tips are shared by Marianne Gravely, Food Safety Technical Information Specialist, Food Safety and Inspection Service, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

These tips can make all the difference in keeping foods safe from the time they leave your home until your child eats them in school. Following these tips will prevent foodborne illnesses.

Back to school, back to the books, back in the saddle or back in the car for all the parents. The new school year means its back to packing lunches and after-school snacks for students, scouts, athletes, dancers, and all the other children who carry these items to and from home. One ‘back’ you do not want to reacquaint children with, however, is Bacteria.

Bacteria that cause foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In just two hours, these microorganisms can multiply to dangerous levels, which can cause foodborne illness. To make sure lunches and snacks are safe for those you pack for, you should follow the USDA’s four steps to food safety: Clean – Separate – Cook – and Chill.

Packing Tips

  • If the lunch/snack contains perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs, cheese, or yogurt, make sure to pack it with at least two cold sources.  Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly so perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long.
  • Frozen juice boxes or water can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze these items overnight and use with at least one other freezer pack. By lunchtime, the liquids should be thawed and ready to drink.
  • Pack lunches containing perishable food in an insulated lunchbox or soft-sided lunch bag. Perishable food can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in a paper bag.
  • If packing a hot lunch, like soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Tell children to keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot – 140 °F or above.
  • If packing a child’s lunch the night before, parents should leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The meal will stay cold longer because everything will be refrigerator temperature when it is placed in the lunchbox.
  • If you’re responsible for packing snack for the team, troop, or group, keep perishable foods in a cooler with ice or cold packs until snack time. Pack snacks in individual bags or containers, rather than having children share food from one serving dish.

Storage Tips

  • If possible, a child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator or cooler with ice upon arrival. Leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open in the fridge so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.

Eating and Disposal Tips

  • Pack disposable wipes for washing hands before and after eating.
  • After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.

 


Walking Safety Tips

Safe Kids USA asks you to follow the tips below to make sure you keep your children safe while they are walking to and from school. Reviewing these tips regularly with your children can play an important role in keeping them safe.

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Tips for Walkers

  • Developmentally, most kids can’t judge speeds and distances until at least age 10, so younger kids need to cross the street with an adult
  • Did you know most walking injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections? Whenever possible, cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and keep looking and listening while crossing
  • Walk, don’t run, when crossing the street
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths, but if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible
  • Remove headphones when crossing the street
  • If you need to use your phone, stop walking
  • Distraction among drivers is at an all-time high today, so try to make eye contact with the driver before you step into the road

 For more road safety and walking tips go to www.safekids.org

Our National Parks

The first national park was Yellowstone in Wyoming created by President Grant in 1872. Some 30 years later, President Theodore Roosevelt would create an additional 5 national parks, 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon; set aside 51 federal bird sanctuaries, four national game refuges, and more than 100 million acres’ worth of national forests.

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President Theodore Roosevelt at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, California, 1903

Here is your country,” President Theodore Roosevelt once said. “Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children.”

These protected and preserved parks, trails and areas contain natural wonders, like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Niagara Falls on the border between New York and Canada.

Some of the parks are historical, and tell the story of America.

Fort McHenry near Baltimore, Maryland, which held out during the War of 1812 against British cannons overnight and provided the inspiration for our national anthem.

Ellis Island in New York harbor is preserved and houses an impressive museum detailing the stories of over 22 million people who came to America in pursuit of their American Dream.

The National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania allows visitors to walk the preserved battlefield of what was a major turning point in the American Civil War. The battle served as the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address.”

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Hiking and walking outdoors, participating in a natural science or historical learning activity, touring a museum, taking a boat ride, or just having a picnic lunch, these are all just a few of the things you can do at a national park.

With over 400 trails, areas, preserves and parks across the country there is bound to be one near you.

parksThe National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) works to safeguard our national parks—to protect, cherish and celebrate these great American places.

National Parks Conservation Association:

http://www.npca.org/?referrer=https://www.facebook.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NationalParks?fref=ts

If you are a veteran, or are currently serving in the armed forces of America, please take a moment to answer a few questions about your relationship with the national parks of America.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/npca_DM

To find a national park near you:

http://www.npca.org/exploring-our-parks/parks/

To learn more about our national parks, you can visit the PBS site: “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (A PBS-Ken Burns documentary)

http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/

If you don’t happen to live near a national park, there are still many other state and city parks to enjoy.

To find the parks near you, visit Discover the Forest at http://www.discovertheforest.org/

 

Article by: Ned M Campbell is the head coach of James Madison High School’s wrestling team in Brooklyn, NY, and is a USA Wrestling nationally certified coach. He is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches history at James Madison teamHigh School.  Prior to teaching, Ned M Campbell worked with children and adults with disabilities during summer programs with IAHD and Southeast Consortium,  and volunteered time supporting a therapeutic horseback riding program for youth and adults with disabilities.

Campbell is a published writer, and a contributing writer to the “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in “Can Do” Street programs.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Coach Campbell’s co-article for kids, on this subject, featured on the “Can Do” Kids blog at http://candostreet.com/blog-kids/

 

What’s the Deal with Summer Sniffles?

Summer colds are so annoying! What causes them? The National Institutes of Health sheds light on summer colds, what causes them and what, if anything, can be done about them.

summerMost everyone looks forward to summer—time to get away, get outside and have some fun. So what could be more unfair than catching a cold when it’s warm? How can cold symptoms arise when it’s not cold and flu season? Is there any way to dodge the summer sniffles?

Cold symptoms can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. Each can bring the sneezing, scratchy throat and runny nose that can be the first signs of a cold. The colds we catch in winter are usually triggered by the most common viral infections in humans, a group of germs called rhinoviruses. Rhinoviruses and a few other cold-causing viruses seem to survive best in cooler weather. Their numbers surge in September and begin to dwindle in May.

During summer months, the viral landscape begins to shift. “Generally speaking, summer and winter colds are caused by different viruses,” says Dr. Michael Pichichero, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute in New York. “When you talk about summer colds, you’re probably talking about a non-polio enterovirus infection.”

Enteroviruses can infect the tissues in your nose and throat, eyes, digestive system and elsewhere. A few enteroviruses can cause polio, but vaccines have mostly eliminated these viruses from Western countries. Far more widespread are more than 60 types of non-polio enteroviruses. They’re the second most common type of virus—after rhinovirus—that infects humans. About half of people with enterovirus infections don’t get sick at all. But nationwide, enteroviruses cause an estimated 10 million to 15 million illnesses each year, usually between June and October.

Enteroviruses can cause a fever that comes on suddenly. Body temperatures may range from 101 to 104 °F. Enteroviruses can also cause mild respiratory symptoms, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues like nausea or vomiting.

“All age groups can be affected, but like most viral infections, enterovirus infections predominate in childhood,” says Pichichero. Adults may be protected from enterovirus infections if they’ve developed antibodies from previous exposures. But adults can still get sick if they encounter a new type of enterovirus.

Less common enteroviruses can cause other symptoms. Some can lead to conjunctivitis, or pinkeye—a swelling of the outer layer of the eye and eyelid. Others can cause an illness with rash. In rare cases, enteroviruses can affect the heart or brain.

To prevent enterovirus infections, says Pichichero, “it’s all about blocking viral transmission.” The viruses travel in respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus, or in the stool of an infected person. You can become infected by direct contact. Or you might pick up the virus by touching contaminated surfaces or objects, such as a telephone, doorknob or baby’s diaper. “Frequent hand washing and avoiding exposure to people who are sick with fever can help prevent the spread of infection,” says Pichichero.

The summer colds caused by enteroviruses generally clear up without treatment within a few days or even a week. But see a health care provider if you have concerning symptoms, like a high fever or a rash.

What to Do About Your Child’s Snoring

I never thought about children snoring until I heard a public service announcement on the radio the other day.

I did  some research on the subject and want to share what I found out as it might be an area of concern if you have a young child who snores. My research sourceThe National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

According to NSF, children, three years old or older tend to snore during the deeper stages of sleep. Primary snoring is defined as snoring that is not associated with more serious problems such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), frequent waking from sleep, or inability of the lungs to breathe in sufficient oxygen.

Statistics show that about 10% of children experience episodes of snoring at some point during the night. Snoring occurs during sleep when your child is breathing and there is some blockage of air passing through the back of the mouth. The opening and closing of your child’s air passage causes a vibration of the tissues in the throat and the loudness of the snore is impacted by how much air passes through and how fast the throat tissue is vibrating.

About one to three percent of children not only snore, but also suffer from breathing problems during their sleep.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for snoring and that a diagnosis be conducted to determine if a child is experiencing normal primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Loud and regular nightly snoring is often abnormal in otherwise healthy children and could be a sign of a respiratory infection, a stuffy nose or allergy; other times it may be a symptom of sleep apnea.

In children, the most common physical problem associated with sleep apnea is large tonsils. Young children’s tonsils are quite large in comparison to the throat, peaking at five to seven years of age. Swollen tonsils can block the airway, making it difficult to breathe and could signify apnea.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 263,000 children in the U.S. have tonsillectomies each year and sleep apnea is a major reason.

A child suffering from sleep apnea may experience the following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring on a regular basis
  • Have pauses, gasps, and snorts and actually stop breathing. The snorts or gasps may waken them and disrupt their sleep.
  • Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions with their head in unusual positions.
  • Sweat heavily during sleep.

The daytime effects of sleep apnea in children may manifest themselves in ways such as:

  • Experiencing behavioral, school and social problems
  • Being difficult to wake up
  • The child suffering headaches during the day, but especially in the morning
  • Your child being irritable, agitated, aggressive, and cranky
  • Being so tired during the day that they fall asleep or daydream
  • Speaking with a nasal voice and breathe regularly through the mouth

If your child has any of the above symptoms, the National Sleep Foundation suggests speaking with your child’s physician.