10 Worst States for Lead Poisoning in Children – Are Your Children in Danger?

For most people, lead poisoning is something we hear about in the news and then forget about the next day. But in a recent study, more than 350,000 children in the US were afflicted with lead poisoning in just one year alone–many without their parents knowing until it’s far too late. What level of exposure are your children facing and what can you do about it? Learn about the symptoms and long-term effects of lead poisoning in children and how you can best protect those you love.

See our full study to find out exactly where your state lies in the mix: 351,454 Children Lead Poisoned Across America

worst water

 

*New Your City is not included within New York’s data due to a lack of reported data.

**All other states not listed above did not have sufficient data to complete state summaries.

5 Things Foster Parents Should Know About Navigating The Court System

The important role foster parents have in a child’s life expands significantly when they go to court.
To make decisions in a child’s best interest, judges need good information, and foster parents ideally can provide that. Thus, foster parents having a complete understanding of how to participate in court goes a long way toward ensuring a safe, loving home for the child.
Here is a priority list foster parents should know in advance of a court appearance.
  • Be prepared. Foster parents are the voice for the child and must do everything they can to ensure that the child is heard in court. Do not come to court unprepared. The more information you bring, the better.
The judge largely depends on the foster parents’ testimony to decide what’s in the child’s best interest. The idea is to have enough information so you can answer the judge’s questions in a clear and beneficial way. To prevent being overwhelmed with documents days before court or scrambling for information, the best way to prepare is to begin keeping a journal well in advance. Taking notes about what happens in your foster child’s life creates an organized record, showing progress, behavior patterns and how they express themselves in different situations. Include school records and doctor’s appointments as well as notes about interactions between the child and their birth parents. Include highpoints, lowpoints, and milestones in the child’s development while in your care.
  • Know your rights as a foster parent. Foster parents should receive notices of all hearings. If you are not getting them, contact your social worker and/or a juvenile department clerk.
Foster parents also have a legal right to attend review hearings, usually held every six months, until the foster child receives permanency or the case is closed. They also have a right to attend permanency hearings and post-termination of parental rights (TPR) hearings. Permanency hearings have to be held before a child reaches one year in foster care, then every six months. Post-TPR hearings are held every six months until the child is in a permanent home.
  • Should you bring the child to court? This decision is often left up to the social worker. What’s most important is what’s in the best interest of the child. If the child is uncomfortable going to court, it’s worth considering having he or she write a letter to the judge.
  • Educate yourself on common questions. There’s a list of questions judges commonly ask of foster parents; some of those questions can be found on websites under “foster care hearings.” Examples: How long have you been a foster parent? How long have you known this child? What changes have you noticed in the child’s behavior or emotional state since being in your home? How is the child doing in school? Let your social worker or attorney guide you and ask them any questions you may have, including what the objective is of the specific hearing you’re attending.
  • Speak respectfully and concisely. Don’t get emotional in your discourse with the judge, and don’t throw the birth parents under the bus. The court listens best to foster parents who have tried to work well with birth families and who aren’t on their own agenda, such as getting the child to stay permanently in their home. Speak up and speak clearly, and refer to the judge as “Your honor.” Be as clear and complete as possible so the judge will have sufficient information to make a decision.
One of the most important duties for a foster parent is to act as an advocate for the child in their care. That requires the foster parent to be able to tell the court all they know to help the court decide the child’s future.
Jennifer Lynch, author of the children’s book Livi and Grace (www.jenniferlynchbooks.com), is an educator and child advocate who serves as a guardian ad litem, a person appointed to represent a child’s interests in a court case. She has worked as a special education teacher for an elementary school and as a preschool teacher. In addition, Lynch created the You Are Good brand of T-shirts and other products for sale and for donations. Thousands of the shirts have been donated to children and teenagers in the system. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University. 

Top 4 Reasons Your Teen May Be under Stress

Youth is a free pass to have fun and enjoy. But alongside this “folly” are physical, social, mental, and emotional changes that every teenager goes through to cross the bridge to adulthood.

 

Indeed, transition and turmoil characterize adolescence. And your teenage son or daughter may have trouble coping with how things are. Your child may be dropping signs and hints of stress. It’s time to pay close attention to what’s been eating up your teenager and how you can help.

 

Your Teen May Be Stressed, but Why?

 

You think you’ve given your child everything—attention and material things that they need to grow up responsible and decent. You may think that they have it easy. But young people nowadays experience far too many things that can quickly put a strain on them and their relationships with other people.

 

1. Social Media

 

Your child may be among the millions of people across ages plagued by social media obsession. This modern-day condition has been linked to causing depression, anxiety, and loneliness, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Another study in 2017 reveals the correlation between the use of social media as evidence in the ownership of smartphones and the rise of levels of depressive symptoms among surveyed 8th to 12th graders.

 

2. Control (or Lack of) over Their Lives

 

Teens spend most of their life at school, where everything has been prearranged for them. They are expected to meet their teachers’ and parents’ expectations, or they’ll get failing marks and scolding afterward. If they express disdain toward authority, they’ll be branded as rebels. This whole situation is a stress factor for your child as they have to keep up with everyone’s approval to be good and to do good at school all the time.

 

3. Self versus Group Identity

 

Friends are a source of joy and stress for teenagers. Running parallel to hanging out with friends is figuring out one’s identity. It’s a balancing act: the desire to stand out versus the fear of being cast aside for being different. Your teenager is probably worrying about this issue, spending more time alone and becoming more quiet than usual.

 

4. The Age of Curiosity

 

Adolescents have a lot of exploring to do, and their curiosity will likely lead them to uncharted and sometimes dangerous territory like drugs, alcohol, sex, and whatnot. Your child may be using drugs to relieve stress, fit in with their peers, or just want to experiment. Or it could be that their drug use and the fear of discovery by you are causing them stress.

 

A Word to Parents

 

Your job as a parent is commendable, working round-the-clock to ensure your family is well and happy. While having a teenager is a tough chapter in any parenting book, you or other parents can still catch up with your children to be on the same page.

 

Drug use, for instance, can still be curbed. There’s only one way to confirm if your child is using drugs like ecstasy: conduct an MDMA test with this kit at home. This test is foolproof and is widely used for preemployment exams.

 

You can always speak with your child about school and life in general. Opening up with you about teenage stress may be hard at first, but assuring him or her regularly that you will listen without judgment is a good start.

Saving Your Sanity: Tips For Flying With Children

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Most parents would agree that traveling with young children is stressful. Children, as a rule, do not like to be enclosed in limited spaces for long periods of time. This, in addition to the other discomforts of air travel (such as airplane turbulence and ear-aches), tend to make them irritable passengers.

Helpful tips for planning airplane trips with children before the flight

Book reasonable flights

A long-haul flight is not a great idea for toddlers or younger children. Rather than booking a long direct flight, it is advisable to break the journey with connecting flights. Stopovers can be a great opportunity for parents to relax and the kids to stretch their legs and get excited about the airports and duty-free shopping.

Choose good seats

It is important to book the flight early so you can have a choice of great seats. Seats on the aisle rows are usually best for people traveling with children. Also, look out for seats with wider leg room and close proximity to the airplane restrooms.

Parking

If you’re parking at the airport, you can avoid expensive parking charges by reserving a parking spot close to the airport. This can ensure a smooth transition during departure and arrival. Got Parking is a great site where you can search, compare and reserve parking near the airport. You will also have 24/7 shuttle service and security cameras to keep things safe while you are away. 

Pack effectively

It’s usually helpful to make a list of items that should be present in the carry-on bag. By writing a list, you make sure that important things are not left behind. Important items within the carry on should include:

  • Food and snacks such as sandwiches, fruit, and crackers
  • Any prescription medication that your child needs
  • Diapers for younger children
  • Change of clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Favorite games, books, coloring books, and crayons
  • Favorite small toys and puzzles
  • Earplugs

On the day of the flight

  • Leave early enough

It is important to arrive at the airport early because of the waits at the security gates. For early morning flights, ensure that the kids go to bed early on the day before the flight so they can wake up refreshed and excited for the trip.

During the flight

There are several activities that can be planned to keep children occupied and entertained during the flight. Some popular activities include:

Magnetic games

These are affordable travel games made of magnetic game pieces that stick to the game board. With a variety of board games like chess, checkers, and bingo, kids can be kept occupied for hours.

Books

Older kids can choose the books they want to bring along during the flight. For younger kids, reading a favorite book can keep them entertained and on their seats.

Coloring books and crayons

Coloring books and crayons are important items that can keep children entertained during air travel. Some airlines may also provide coloring books or crayons for their children passengers.

Toys

Surprise kids during the flight with a new toy or small stuffed animal. This small and inexpensive surprise can be delightful to children.

Playing Cards

Bring along a deck of cards and play fun family games such as Go Fish, Uno or Monopoly.

Guess Who

This fun guessing game can be accomplished with Post It notes. You can make everyone write the names of 3 people on different post-it notes. All the notes are then put into a hat and each person takes turns pasting the note on their forehead. The person wearing the note can then ask up to 20 guessing questions to find out the person written on their forehead.

Portable DVD player, favorite movies and video games

If iPads or other electronic devices are allowed during the flight, downloading your kid’s favorite video games will keep them entertained for hours on end. And, as always, they will love to watch their favorite movies on the DVD player.

In-flight entertainment

Most airplanes usually have in-flight entertainment for children. Check the kid’s section for their selection of kid-friendly movies, music and video games that can be enjoyed in the air.

Check with the airline

Always ensure to call the airline ahead for any special requests. For children with food allergies, it’s important to inform the airline so they can make special food provisions.

For parents planning airplane travel in the upcoming holiday period, a combination of these age-appropriate strategies can be used to make airplane travel a delightful experience for the entire family.

Preparing Children for Upcoming Airplane Travel

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Planning a family trip can seem overwhelming enough to most parents, but planning on surviving the trip with children may seem impossible. With proper preparation, any parent can survive taking a trip on a plane with their children, no matter how old they are. It’s helpful to prepare yourself and your children ahead of time for the upcoming trip and always plan for the worst-case scenarios just in case.

Prioritize Safety

Safety needs to be your number one priority at the airport and on the plane. Airports are busy places and when parents are busy worrying about their luggage and boarding on time, children need to remain close by the entire time. As any parent knows, children can wander away rather quickly, so remain vigilant in keeping your children under control by giving them something to do or allowing them to help out. On the plane, try to keep children out of aisle seats. Ear pressure and pain are common in children on planes, so ensure you purchase appropriate ear protection. You can get padded child-size noise-attenuating earphones from this online pilot store prior to your trip.

Get Them Excited About The Destination

Children love to have something to look forward to, so spend some time getting them excited about where you are taking a trip to. Whether it’s a trip to Disneyland or a family vacation to explore a new place and learn about a culture like Mexico, tell your children about all the cool adventures in store for them. If you are going somewhere where the culture is very different than what your children are used to, teach them about it so they know what to expect. You can help them prepare by watching travel videos and reading books about your destination.

Leave Early and Plan Accordingly

Make sure you arrive at the airport super early, because you never know what will happen that could potentially set you back and make you late. Don’t rush to be the first ones on the airplane. It’s good to wait until the crowd has already gotten on the plane. Try to plan your trip on the least traveled days like Tuesday through Thursday. Late afternoon and evening flights might be hard for young children to handle, so try to plan morning or early afternoon trips if possible.

Plan Activities to Keep Them Entertained

One of the most important things you can do to survive a plane trip with children is to find ways to keep them entertained. Pack a fun bag for them filled with things they’ll enjoy for the duration of the trip. Make sure to learn the rules for what you can and cannot carry on the plane first before packing a bag. Some items you can pack include:

·  Books

·  Coloring books

·  Drinks and snacks

·  Stickers

·  Magna-doodle

·  Portable DVD player

·  Music player with headphones

·  Handheld video games

·  Small stuffed animals

·  Cards

Older children will be able to tell you what they want to bring, but you can encourage them to bring items like books, brain teaser games, and crossword puzzles. Get the little ones involved by letting them help pack their carry-on bags.

Airplane rides can be a fun and exciting experience for adults and children. With careful planning and preparing your children ahead of time, your trip can end up going smoothly. Get your children involved as much as possible and have them excited about the destination. Keep reminding them of all the fun they’re going to have once you arrive so they have something to look forward to.

 

A Guide To The Very Best Ways To Save On Travel

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There’s something extremely exciting about visiting new places and learning about other cultures. The only problem with travelling is the cost – vacations rarely come cheap. While you might find a deal on your accommodation, for example, your flight tickets may end up costing you an arm and a leg. Travel can be a lot of fun, but if you’re not smart about it, it can leave you with an empty wallet and a drained bank account.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you the earth to travel abroad. If you know all the best tips and tricks for saving money on travel, it can actually be relatively affordable. To make travel a little more budget-friendly, we’ve compiled a list of all the very best money-saving travel tips. From booking your flights to choosing where to stay, we’ve got you covered. For everything that you need to know to cut the cost of travel, keep reading.

Avoid peak time travel

The price of flights varies significantly depending on the day and time that you choose to fly. If you want to save on the cost of plane tickets, the best thing to do is avoid booking for peak times. A peak time ticket can cost up to three times the amount as an off-peak one, so it’s worth being choosy about when you travel.

Try out a few different dates and times and see what the price difference is between flights. You’ll often find that on weekdays, daytime flights are the most affordable. While on weekends, flights late at night and in the early hours always tend to cost less. If you take the time to compare the best times to travel, you can significantly reduce the cost of your trip.

Use travel comparison sites

It’s not just about the time you travel at, but also who you choose to fly with. There are plenty of online comparison sites that allow you to not only compare the cost of flights but also show you what the cheapest airline is. Don’t be put off using budget airlines just because they’re seen as being cheap. They work just the same as standard airlines but they charge around half the price.

Of course, it’s not just flights that travel comparison sites can help you to save money on. They can also help you to save on the cost of accommodation, by showing you the best low-cost accommodation options. Take the time to use comparison sites and you can ensure that when it comes to the cost of your trip, you keep it as budget-friendly as possible. One of the best travel comparison sites is Skyscanner.net, so take a look and see if you could save.

Collect air miles and travel points

Have you ever heard your fellow travellers talking about their air miles and how they cut the cost of their trip? Air miles can be a great way to cut the cost of your travel, as they can be put towards the cost of your plane ticket. If you have enough air miles, they may even completely cover the cost of it. The question is, how do you build up air miles?

 

The easiest way to gain a lot of air miles quickly is to sign up to a credit card that comes with a big incentives scheme. Some credit card companies offer up to 100,000 travel points to new sign ups, so applying for a credit card is definitely worth considering. To find out more about the best credit cards for saving money on travel, check out Upgradedpoints.com and have a browse. There’s plenty of information on here to help you make an informed decision about the best card for you and your travel needs.

Obviously, you also earn points every time that you fly. You can also earn points by shopping in certain stores and using specific websites to order products online. Even buying your weekly food shop could give you air miles, if you shop in the right place, that is. Some hotels offer a travel points scheme as well, so before you book, it’s worth finding out about this. Want to save on the cost of travel – make air miles your best friend.

Book early or last minute
You might have already heard this one, but it’s definitely worth repeating. One of the best ways to save on the cost of travel is by booking your flights, accommodation and transfers either early or late. The best option is to book early so that you have plenty of choice over what you select. Booking late may save you money, but it won’t give you much choice.

If you’re going to book last minute, you need to be decisive. As well as using last minute booking websites, it’s also worth looking on the websites of your flight company or hotel of choice. Sometimes, the cheapest deals are on the company’s direct website, so it’s always worth starting there. You can find out more about last minute deals by visiting Nerdwallet.com.
Book tickets to attractions in advance

When it comes to keeping the cost of travelling low, it’s not just about how you travel and where you stay. The expense that comes with getting out and about while on vacation can be high. However, if you opt to book tickets to sights and attractions in advance, often you can save on them.

 

Many places offer a 10 percent discount for booking online, as well as group deals. So if you’re part of a big travel group, it could be worth booking everyone’s tickets together. By ordering your tickets in advance for each sight and attraction, over the course of your break, you could save a lot. So this is definitely something that’s worth looking into.

Save on food with deals apps

To save on the cost of food – restaurants can be expensive, use deals apps. There are plenty of apps that not only work at home but also abroad too. So before your trip research the best ones for where you’re going and download them. You can then get an idea of the types of deals on offer and which are the best places to eat and drink.

There you have it, all the best tips and tricks for saving on travel. It’s no secret that going abroad can be expensive, so any way that you can save is worth thinking about.

Summer Road Trip Essentials

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Are you channeling Thelma and Louise this summer? If you’re gearing up for the road trip of a lifetime, here are some essentials to pack in your trunk.

Clothing

A summer road trip is all about sun, sea and sand. Pack your swimwear and some light layers for evenings. Choose a mixture of laid-back daytime outfits, beach attire and a couple of smarter looks for going out. Try and pack light, as you may have limited space.

Sat nav

The films often show glamorous starts wrestling with paper maps with the wind blowing in their hair, but the reality is that sat nav is a lot easier. Plug in motel postcodes and landmark sites to navigate your way without any stress or arguments with your co-pilot. Take a map with you just in case the road layout has changed, or your sat nav stops working.

In-car charger

If you’re planning to spend long periods of time in the car, it’s wise to pack an in-car charger. You may need to make calls and you’ll undoubtedly need your phone to stop off and take some snaps.

First aid kit

You never know when accidents could happen, and it’s always best to be prepared. Bring a first aid kit with you to treat any scrapes and scratches you pick up along the way.

Sunglasses

Don’t forget your shades, the ultimate road trip accessory. Not only will your glasses give you that retro road trip look, but they’ll also enable you to enjoy the views without squinting.

Beach accessories

Load up your trunk with beach chairs, a Frisbee and a bat and ball for endless hours of playing around and lazing in the sun.

Sun cream

Even the most beautifully golden sun-kissed skin can burn, so take care to protect your skin. Apply lotion before you sit out and avoid the powerful midday sun. You will need to be particularly careful if you have fair skin, or you burn easily. Wear a sun hat, use a high factor and stay hydrated throughout the day.

Drinks and snacks

There’s nothing worse that trying to drive when all you can think about is feeling hungry and thirsty. Stock up on bottles of water and some snacks to keep you going on long drives. You never know when you may hit traffic or puncture a tyre, so it’s best to be prepared.

Camera

If you’re a keen photographer, or you want to keep a photo diary of your trip, a camera is a must. Don’t forget to bring a charger and a spare battery.

ID

If you’re crossing borders, you’ll need the relevant identification documents with you. Check what you need before you go. In some cases, you may need a tourist visa. Always make sure your passport is in date before you make any travel plans. It’s also highly beneficial to take out travel insurance if you are planning to travel to a different country.

If you’re looking forward to a summer on the roads, follow these simple packing guidelines to avoid any hassle and have an incredible time!

Taking Time to be a Dad Today @fatherhood.gov #fatherhood

The more involved a dad is, the more successful his children are. A father’s influence can determine a child’s social life, academic achievement, and future achievements.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance’s National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) and the Ad Council in an effort to inspire and support men in their commitment to responsible fatherhood.

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Eighty-six percent of dads spend more time with their children today than their own fathers did with them, but a majority of dads (7 out of 10) also reported that they could use tips on how to be a better parent, according to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

DreamWorks Animation donated their time, talent and resources for the campaign, which features footage and characters from the Kung Fu Panda 3 film. In the upcoming film, Po, the franchise protagonist, reunites with his long-lost birth father. The story highlights the special relationship between father and son and shows the unique challenges that Po is able to overcome with the love and support of his father.

Visit www.fatherhood.gov and http://www.adcouncil.org/ to learn more about the fatherhood movement.