Keep Your Trick or Treater Safe with These Tips

I received items at no cost from Oriental Trading to help facilitate this post. No other compensation has been received. Any opinions expressed are my own. 

My two oldest boys are teens. They are at the stage where they’re too cool to go trick or treating with mom and dad but still want to go trick or treating. This year, as they have the past couple years, they’re going trick or treating with groups of friends.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still worry about them.

My husband and I will be taking our 2 youngest children and my 3 nieces trick or treating with us.  Keeping an eye on 5 little ones in the dark always has be in hyper helicopter mom mode too. So how do I keep my kids safe and help hubby and I keep track of 5 little ones? Here’s my tips:

 

For the teens:

  1.  Know who they will be trick or treating with and where
  2.  Have them check in via cell phone.  Send a picture of where they are at when they check in.
  3.  Identify a pick up spot and time.
  4.  If not wearing light colored costumes have reflective or glow-in-the dark accessories like these from Oriental Trading:


5.  Give them a flashlight like the mini one from Oriental Trading above. They can wear it around their neck to help them on poorly lit steps, sidewalks, and road ways.

6.  Review safety rules like only going to familiar areas, avoid places they are not comfortable with, stay with the group.  Remind them about checking candy before eating. If anything is open or looks tampered with throw it away.  Any strange looking candies show to an adult first.

 

For the Little ones:

  1.  Have them wear glow-in-the dark or reflective accessories that match such a glow in the dark bracelet on the right arm in the same color.  It helps just to keep track of 5 glowing orange bracelets when there are a cluster of kids climbing up steps to get candy.
  2.  Wait for each member of the party. Make sure after each house if you have 7 in your party you still have 7. It’s easy for little ones to get disoriented with so many costumes, unfamiliar faces, and houses.
  3.  When it’s my husband and I one of us usually stay at the front of the group while the other stays behind the group to make sure if little ones are slowing down or getting tired they don’t get separated.
  4.   When you get home, check candies and throw out any that look opened or tampered with.
  5.   Remove any candies that might not be safe for toddlers, small children, or if your child has allergies. Things such as gum, jaw breakers, and hard candies, can be a safety hazard for little ones.

If you’re handing out treats consider having a teal pumpkin stash.  If you’re not familiar with the idea of the teal pumpkin, it’s a worth while to find out.  Displaying a teal pumpkin on your porch lets people know that you have Halloween handout that are safe for kids with allergies.  This can be things like toys, stickers,  bottled water, pencils, etc.  People will either paint a pumpkin teal or even just hang a paper with a picture of a teal pumpkin letting people know they have allergen free treats.

I got these super cute glow in the dark skeleton crawlers. You throw them against a door or wall and they slowly crawl they’re way down the door.

What tips do you have for a safe trick or treat?


CUJO Business-Level Internet Security for Your Home

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

We are definitely a connected family.  All the kids have their own Kindle, 4 of the 6 of us have smart phones, laptop, desktop, xbox live,  you name it.   One of the reasons I chose Kindles for my my kids was the ability to set limits, block certain things, etc.  But with my older boys and their smart phones it’s a little harder.

CUJO is a firewall that offers business-level security for your home.  It works on all devices in your home. It’s a cute and compact little device.

 

If you visit the CUJO site there is a video explaining set up.  If you have just a modem you only have to plug the ethernet cable it comes with right into the modem.  If you have a modem and a router or other device you do, what they call, a bridge set up. We had to set ours up in bridge set up.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to set it up around 11:00 pm at night.  I ran into trouble and the CUJO customer service was not available at that time.  After messing with it for over an hour I decided to discount and set thing up the way they were and try during the day again the next day when I could get customer service. The problem with that is it changes setting in your DNS server so when I removed it and hooked everything back up the way it was, none of our wifi devices would connect to the internet. Between my husband and I and another hour later we got it set up.  That was around 1:15 am lol.

Once it was set up though, there really wasn’t much to do.  CUJO automatically started locating devices with the CUJO app.  It quickly found my laptop, our phones, kindles, and the router.  It take up to 48 hours to find all the devices. It also located the xbox live.

The app let’s you know when someone tried to access a site that is either blocked or is known to contain malware or viruses.  You can choose whether you want to continue blocking the site or unblock it.  I had set my kids kindles so they couldn’t access “adult” sites to include gambling.  My hubby got frustrated because he couldn’t access his draft kings site for his fantasy football team so I unblocked that site lol.

– parental controls for all devices

                  – internet filter

                  – time limits

                  – social media monitoring

                  – pause internet

                  – alerts and reporting

                  – remote administration

                  – user profiles and settings

When you purchase the CUJO firewall device from Best Buy you also get the firewall subscription for as long as you have the device!

 


Let’s Move Pittsburgh “Make Playtime Count” Free Lecture at Phipps Conservatory July 13, 2017

Let’s Move Pittsburgh is an initiative of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with support from UPMC Health Plan. It’s inspired by Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

Photo credit: Sara F

The 5-2-1-0 series continues with “Make Playtime Count” that includes a lecture from Dr Roberta Schomberg of Carlow University. It stresses the importance of including play in a child’s schedule. This lecture is beneficial for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals. Free childcare will be available during the lecture with limited space available.

Light refreshments will be available before and after the lecture.  View poster presentations from Let’s Move Pittsburgh Champion Schools.  Coaches from UPMC Health and representatives from Pittsburgh Playful Collaborative  and other community partners will be available to help you find and build healthy active play habits.

During the free children’s session “P is for Play” kids can explore their own world of play and experiment with homemade toys and games.  The speaker session and children’s session if free but requires advanced registration.  For more details visit: phipps.conservatory.org/lets-move-pittsburgh

Photo Credit: Sara F

I’m seriously considering this session. I think it would benefit me as a mom of 4 and as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Of course my children would ultimately benefit from it as well.  Will you be attending?

Act 48 credits will be available

 


Mother of All Baby Showers is Coming to Pittsburgh, PA and You’re Invited!

I will be receiving complimentary admission and swag for this post. No other compensation has been received. Any opinions expressed are my own

The nation’s largest adult-only night out for new and expecting parents is coming to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh!   The Mother of All Baby Showers (MOABS) will take place Thursday July 27, 2017 from 6 pm – 9 pm at the UPMC Club Level at Heinz Field!

This event is about pregnancy, parenting, and growing a family. With information for expecting parents up to parents of preschoolers.  I myself am not expecting but I am the parent of a preschooler.  I’ve never been to an MOABS event before but it sounds like an awesome time.

Things to do at MOABS:

 

  1. Meet other local parents
  2. Attend parenting education session that cover: prenatal & postnatal care, car seat safety, baby gear, nursery design, and more.
  3. “Try It Before You Buy It” area: interact for local and national maternity, juvenile, and family focused brands. 
  4.  Enjoy Tasty Treats from Local Vendors
  5. Enjoy mini-spa sessions
  6. Giveaways valued at over $20,000

The Mother of All Baby Showers is expected to attract over 500 attendees.  It will feature more than 50 local and national companies include: Baby K’tan, Chicco, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Britax, Babies R’ Us, Pediatric Alliance, Lark Adventurewear, and so many others.

2017 is the FIRST year MOABS is coming to Pittsburgh!  Get your tickets now and join us for the Mother Of All Baby Showers on July 27, 2017 at the UPMC Club Level at Heinz Field from 6 PM – 9 PM.

General Admission tickets are $15 and VIP admission is $60. VIP admission is limited to 150 people.  VIP admission includes a Baby K’tan diaper bag, MOABS swag bag, and early admission at 6:00 PM. BUT did you see the banner in this post?  Luv Saving Money readers can get FREE general admission tickets or 50% off VIP tickets with the code in the banner!  You must still go through the link and reserve your general admission tickets.  Deal expires July 10, 2017 so get them while you can!

 Get your tickets for MOABS here!

My husband and I will be there!  I’d love to meet some Luv Saving Money readers!

Once you’ve grabbed your tickets RSVP to the event on the MOABS facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/events/246009919182067  and invite your friends!


WARNING to Parents: Check Your Kids’ Phone For the After School App

New apps are popping up all the time.  This is why monitoring your child’s phone, apps, and activities is so important.  The newest app I have a personal experience with is called After School.  My son called me upset because horribly things were being said about his girlfriend, sexual things. I’m thinking, what kind of app is he using and what is it supposed to be for? My first thought is that maybe it was a tutor or homework help or maybe a meet up app and he could just report the posts as being inappropriate. Turns out it’s an app where people can be anonymous and say, pretty much whatever they want to say about their peers.

I visited the After School app website. It claims to be ”

“After School fosters fun and creative online and offline experiences for America’s teens, in a positive environment with zero tolerance for cyberbullying, threats, or content that threatens the safety of our online community.”

But that is far from what it is. In fact, it’s a breeding ground for everything listed and then some.  I downloaded the app myself to see first hand how easy it was to use and get into.  It’s a free app to start so the barrier of paying for it is already eliminated. It requires you to turn on location service to “locate your school” so you can find your school.  There is no way to use the app without turning location service on.
As soon as the app turns on you are greeted with this picture:

Inappropriate for what is supposed to be a “positive kids app”.  Once in your presented with a list of school from the location service which are pretty accurate and your child must select a school.

It goes on to have you choose an anonymous picture.  Really anyone can sign up for this app. It also asks to access your contacts “so you can find other people that go to your school”. Um wouldn’t a child already know most of the people he/she would want to communicate with??   Then there are filters for sexual, profanity, and drugs. In order to have these taken off they want you to scan your id into the app to “prove” you are 17 yrs of age+.  How scary is that?!!  It also requires the user to link their facebook account so I don’t know how it could be anonymous.

Once on, Kids can use gifs along with their posts. Quite a few inappropriate for kids with one that pulled up almost immediately with a girl half dressed shaking her butt.  Kids asking questions like “Would you have sex with Dyllan at school?” and kids talking about having 3 ways. Yes there are innocent ones like kids admitting they have a crush on someone or if they would kiss so and so but it’s maybe only 50% of the posts. Most are sexual related and I didn’t even turn off the filters because there was no way I was scanning any ID!!  Some kids are actually using their actual pictures and I know some of these kids!!  They have to link their facebook accounts to join so it’s not truly anonymous.

I can also not find a way to easily remove yourself from the app.  Here are just a couple things I found in the 5 min I was on there but there were plenty more.

 

This app with location services and the way kids talk would be a pediphiles dream.  I can’t tell you how to parent but I recognized plenty of kids on there that my son knows. Kids I never thought would say those things.  Check your kids phones.  Don’t assume your kid wouldn’t do that. I never thought my son would fall for an app like this but he did!

There are stories of kids being contacted by people that don’t even go to their school.  When I searched more about it I found an article about in on the Washington Post as well.