Monthly Archives: May 2019

By: Samantha Antenucci

After a long winter and wet spring, summer is now ready for its closeup! Sun and warmth usher in your kids’ favorite outdoor activities, but there’s danger afoot: Sunburn, bug bites, and water mishaps could ruin your vacation. Whether you’re home, on the road, or out camping, keep our stay-safe tips in mind.

Sun Safety

Melanoma rates are on the rise, so make sunscreen a part of your family’s everyday get-ready routine. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, children’s skin is particularly sensitive and prone to burning; plus, having a severe sunburn as a child is a risk factor for a serious skin cancer later in life. And if you think people with darker skin is and/or those who “tan easily” are less at risk, think again; this is a huge misconception. The risk is real for everyone. A few reminders:

-Never forget sunscreen! Choose a product with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 to 30—minimum. Whenever you’re out enjoying the weather, use it on all exposed skin.

-Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving the house, and reapply it every two hours. Also reapply after coming out of the water.

-Don’t drop your guard just because it’s a cloudy day. The sun’s UV rays can burn right through the clouds. Slather it on!

-Loose-fitting and brightly colored clothes can help keep you and your kids cool in the heat. Beach day? Make your own shade with umbrellas.

-Keep water nearby and drink it—even if you’re not feeling thirsty. You can easily become dehydrated in warm weather.

Water Safety

Being around water is a great way to cool down, but be aware of your surroundings. More than 800 children drown each year, according to CDC estimates. The Red Cross has many tips for water safety:

-Enroll in swim classes! Learning to swim is not only fun but also gives you the confidence to safely enjoy the pool or beach.

-Always swim with a buddy, but do not trust a child’s life to another child. It is vital that an adult or lifeguard be present when children swim.

-Teach your children to ask for permission to go near water.

-Life jackets can save the lives of novice and experienced swimmers, but they have to be worn! A boat must have one life jacket for each person aboard.

-Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children. A child’s life jacket should fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.

Bites and Stings

Ticks and insects can be a nuisance—or an outright health threat. Pennsylvania, a hotspot for the deer ticks that carry Lyme disease, leads the nation in cases of Lyme—already the most common tick-borne illness in both North America and Europe. A few tips:

-Stung by a bee? Do not pull the stinger out with your fingers or tweezers. Doing this can push the venom back into your skin. Instead, take a credit card or I.D. card and scrape downward. This should remove the stinger without injecting the venom back into the person’s body.

-Be aware of your allergies! If you have an EpiPen, keep it nearby. If you’re bitten or stung and feel itching and have difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately.

-Insect repellents containing DEET are effective, but be sure to read the label and avoid products with a DEET concentration higher than 30 percent. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that DEET not be used on infants.

-DEET should only be used on exposed skin that is free of cuts and open wounds. Do not spray insect repellent directly onto the face; first spray it on your hands and rub the repellant on the face.

-Ticks often lurk in tall grass, so tuck your pant legs into your boots and socks, and wear long-sleeved shirts. Do a “tick check” at the end of the day.

-To remove a tick, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Make sure to disinfect the area and keep a close eye out for any telltale rashes or signs of infection.

By Kathy Huston

May is National Barbecue Month, and as you compile your patio playlist (“Summertime,” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince is always a must), make sure you’re putting grilling safety on the front burner. Here are a few tips.

  • Think about where you grill—that is, well away from your house or other structures. While this advice may seem obvious, some never got that memo: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that an average of 10,200 home fires are started by grills each year, causing millions in property damage. Even more alarming: 19,000 people a year seek ER treatment because of injuries involving grills, including 9,300 thermal burns.
  • If you grill with gas, regularly check the hose and connections for cracks and leaks. (Use the “soapy bubble test”: Brush on a soap-and-water solution, turn on the gas, and look for the telltale bubbles.) This is especially important after a grill has been in storage.
  • Never leave the grill unsupervised, and keep kids and pets at a safe distance. The NFPA reports that between 2012 and 2016, children under age 5 accounted for about a third of contact burns requiring emergency room treatment.
  • After every grilling session, turn the tank off, let everything cool down, and then clean the grates of fat and food remnants for next time. The NFPA notes that one out of every five grill fires are caused by starting up a dirty grill.
  • If you’re using a charcoal, never squirt additional lighter fluid onto coals that are already burning. Dispose of spent coals properly and safely in a metal container.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer. According to, the correct internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

With safety on your side, have a fun and flavorful Barbecue Month and beyond!

Sidebar: BBQ by the Numbers

  • Seven in 10 U.S. adults own a grill or smoker
  • Gas is the most popular grill type (64%), followed by charcoal (44%) and electric (9%).
  • Memorial Day and July 4 remain top grilling days.

Source: State of the Barbecue Industry Survey

By: Sophie Kluthe

It was high fives all around on Tuesday as a group of about 75 first grade students from New Foundations Charter School visited the Red Cross House in Philadelphia bearing gifts. 

The Red Cross House is a disaster recovery center that provides housing and ongoing support to help local and regional victims of home fires and other unforeseen disasters. Some of the residents arrive with little more than the clothes they were wearing when they were forced out of their home.

That’s why the students’ donations of hygiene kits, blankets, and cloth dolls brought smiles to the faces of the families who graciously accepted them. The New Foundations students also presented hand-made cards bursting with bright colors and well-wishes.

As part of the visit, the students got to meet the Red Cross mascot, Fred Cross, take a tour of the Red Cross House and learn about all the things the organization does to support the community. Before heading back to school, each student was given a disaster preparedness activity book to take home. Hopefully each student will pass along a meaningful lesson about planning and preparedness to their families. The partnership is extra special because this trip has become an annual tradition for first graders at this school.

Thank you New Foundations Charter School for your generous donations and for giving us the opportunity to show you the Red Cross House!