Autumn Tips to Help Keep Your  Kids Safe and Healthy

Kids are going back to school, the weather is getting  cooler, and the leaves are beginning to change  color.

Autumn is on its way! Greet the fall with  ways to help keep you and your family safe and  healthy.

Be active.

As the weather cools, resist the urge to hibernate!  Make fall yard work fun. Have kids come up with  different ways to pick up leaves or pine cones (i.e.  squatting, bending, leaning, stretching, or balancing  on one foot). Provide kids with rakes and other  tools that are kid­sized for comfort and safety. For indoor fun, play board games and computer games that encourage physical activity. Have a song­anddance talent show. Draw, color and explore with  health in mind. Remember that children and  adolescents should be active for at least one hour a  day, and adults should be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and  insect repellent to protect you and your family from  the sun, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Be prepared for school.

Safety should be on every student’s back to school  list. Whether it is by car, bus, bike, or foot, the  minute a child leaves their home, safety becomes a  concern. Go over your child’s transportation plan  and discuss things your child can do to stay safe on  the way to and from school. Also, make sure your child’s school has updated and accurate contact  information for you and others in case of an  emergency.

Stay healthy.

The single best way to protect against the flu is to  get vaccinated each year. October through  December is the best time to get vaccinated. Free or low­cost vaccinations may be available through  your doctor, nurse, job, health department, clinic,  grocery store, or nursing home. Practice good  health habits. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol­based cleaners are also effective. Stay home if you get sick.

Be prepared for cold weather.

Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outdoors, can cause serious or life­threatening  health problems. Infants and the elderly are  particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected.  Know how to prevent cold weather­related health  problems and what to do if a cold­weather health  emergency arises. Remember that using space heaters and fireplaces can increase the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, take time out to test and replace batteries in  you smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Have a safe and healthy Halloween. For many families, Halloween is a fun time to dress up in costumes, go trick­or­treating, and eat yummy  treats. Halloween can also be an opportunity to  provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and  focus on safety. Make sure kids stay safe by  wearing well­fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to  avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. Trick­ortreaters should carry a flashlight to help them see and help others see them. Adults should examine  all treats for choking hazards and tampering before  children eat them.