Improving School Safety Through Construction

SEC is thrilled to be working with Rockford Construction to pioneer the future of security-integrated construction. Together, we can to build educational centers that are designed with security and emergency preparedness in mind.

Our CEO Jason Russell participated in this blog with Rockford Construction. Check it out to learn more about the motivation behind our partnership: Improving School Safety Through Construction

How to Pick the Safest Child Care Provider

One of the most important decisions parents will ever make is choosing a child care provider. After all, if your kids can’t be with you, you owe it to them – and to yourself – to choose a safe, secure, loving, engaging and encouraging environment.

Note that “safe” and “secure” come first in our list of criteria – and they should in yours, too. But all too often, parents focus on other factors such as location, convenience, hours and costs. While these are important factors, parents are not asking enough questions when it comes to safety and security.

Don’t know where to start? These eight questions should help you as you begin to select the safest child care provider:

  • How do you access the center? This is the most basic of questions – and one of the most telling. The best methods involve some sort of individual code or biometric, such as a fingerprint. While some centers do have a coded entry, parents don’t realize that everyone has the same code – even parents who have not had a child attending for years.
  • What is the emergency plan? May I see it? You want to make sure the center has taken some steps to actually do some preparation. Most centers do have an emergency plan, but many times they can’t even find it. Even the step of asking for it allows you to see what their level of preparation is like.
  • How secure are the classrooms? When you are touring, pay attention to the classroom doors. Do they lock? If not, are they able to be barricaded? Many child cares don’t have the ability to lock or barricade classroom doors, which puts children and the teachers at risk if an intruder comes in.
  • What are your emergency supplies? Where are they located? A first aid kit is the beginning – but it’s not enough. SEC kits include food, water, face masks in the event of a chemical attack, air horns, whistles, traffic-crossing vests, evacuation ropes with handholds, a portable toilet, pediatric tourniquet and more.
  • What kind of training do you provide? How often? By whom? A lot of child cares tout security, but what they are really touting is security cameras that no one is watching. Instead, make sure to ask about CPR, first aid and fire training, as well as training for other emergencies. Be sure to ask who does the training – and make sure it is someone with the right experience.
  • Have you had any violations? All child care centers must be licensed by the state where they operate. Checking the state’s licensing records to see if the center has had any violations – and, if so, how many violations and for what types of incidents?
  • Do you have an AED? While automatic external defibrillators are increasingly common at elementary and high schools, not many child cares have invested in them. A center should have an adult version of the AED, which will automatically adjust the voltage based on the weight.
  • Why isn’t the center full? You might think it’s your lucky day to find a center with immediately open spots. But you should ask probing questions if a center is not full. You will be better off on a waiting list at a qualified center than in a troubled center that has immediate openings.

Safety is not something you should ever compromise on. You would not take your child to a quack just because you couldn’t get a quick appointment with your pediatrician. A child care provider not focused on safety is a ticking time bomb. Don’t rush to make an unsafe choice.

Seven Deadly Domestic Hazards

You walk through the front door, juggling grocery bags, your purse and toddler. You barely have the door closed when the phone rings; you quickly put everything down and scramble to answer it. While you’re distracted you didn’t noticed your son digging into your purse and popping the blood pressure pills that look just like candy.

That single moment could turn into your worst nightmare.

Yet we all get distracted — and we all assume that home is the safest place for our families, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Statistically, it is more likely for children to be injured at home than anywhere else.

But that doesn’t need to be the case. With a little extra precaution, it can be home-sweet-home for you and your kids. Here are seven common hazards that parents should take steps to prevent:

Choking: Food that isn’t cut into age-appropriate bites for babies and children is a prime hazard. But so are other household items, such as electrical cords, balloons or items from mom’s purse. Remove any temptations by picking them up or placing them out of sight and out of reach. Learn basic first aid practices ways to alleviate choking in case of an emergency.

Falling:  A child’s fearlessness can be terrifying for parents. It’s important to utilize safeguards like safety gates or adding soft surfaces underneath play equipment to avoid injury. It’s a balancing act to teach your kids about their mobility limitations without cocooning them in bubble wrap. Prime targets for falls include: shopping carts, slides, countertops, household furniture and shelving.

Poisoning: Kids are curious; anything used by a parent intrigues them. Whether you’re scrubbing the tub, washing the windows or using perfume, they want to do it, too. Make sure to lock up the cabinets that house the colorful laundry soap pods, any cleaning agents, perfumes or hand sanitizers. Take this moment and finally save the Poison Control Center’s number into your phone, 1.800.222.1222.

Drowning: Children love playing in the water, whether it’s in the bathtub, your dog’s water dish or in an unattended bucket. Water is an attractive nuisance when kids are around. Should a child fall into the bucket or be left unattended in the tub, it can take only five to ten seconds for them to drown. Avoid the risk and never leave them alone and be sure to empty any buckets after use.

Burns: Items a parent drink,holds or touches are the very items your child wants desperately. They want to mimic mom and dad. To the best of your abilities, keep hot cups of coffee or tea and dangling cords from curling or flat irons out of sight and out of reach. Make it common practice to use the back burners on your stove to protect your little one from accidentally reaching up to grab a pot handle or touching a scalding hot surface.

Home appliances: Limit access to potential threats with the use of safety gates as well as keeping appliances closed so that your child doesn’t accidently get trapped and suffocate. Prime areas of concern include washing machines, dryers and refrigerators. Close the dishwasher every time. Leaving the door down leaves sharp utensils, like knives and forks, exposed. Remove stovetop knobs or keep children out of the kitchen to avoid them accidently turning on the gas, which could lead to a possible fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Take away the car keys. Should your child accidentally use the remote start in a closed garage, it’s a prime candidate for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Exercise equipment: Unplug and secure exercise equipment whenever not in use. Children left unattended on treadmills may not just fall but could be strangled by a dangling cord. Stationary bikes and free weights left out often lead to stuck, smashed or pinched fingers.