Archives for February 2015

After School Safety

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After School SafetyAfter-School Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

Parents, with school in full swing it’s important that you not forget the importance of reviewing basic safety tips for kids who walk, ride a bike, or bus to and from school.

Those tips, of course, are:

  • Walk with a buddy
  • Always stay on the sidewalk unless walking in a crosswalk
  • Stay in well-lit areas
  • Avoid high traffic streets when possible
  • Never accept a ride with strangers
  • Once home, lock the door and don’t let anyone in
  • However, Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, urges you not to overestimate your kids’ safety smarts. Kids under 10, for example, may not grasp the concept of crossing a street safely, she says.

    She suggests teaching them: “Stop. Left. Right. Left.” Meaning that children should, “stop at the curb, look left, right, then left again before crossing, and keep looking as they cross.”

    Another thing kids need to know, says Borba, is how to ask for help. Have kids practice saying, “I need help,” out loud and instruct them to “find a uniformed employee, a police officer or a woman, preferably with a child,” when they need assistance, she says.

    Once home, kids will likely use the Internet, so be sure to discuss digital safety too.

    Staying Safe Online

    Internet safety advocate Sue Scheff, author of Wit’s End and Google Bomb, says that, “we need to put parental controls/security measures on computers and cell phones. Unfortunately, these aren’t guarantees, so having a cyber-smart child is your best defense.”

    Teach kids about the dangers of sharing personal information, such as their home address and phone number, online. And about using social media responsibly.

    While online, it’s best for kids – and adults – to converse and connect only with people they truly know and trust, to keep their social accounts private and to still be cautious even then. After all, photos and information that go online today will still be there years later, when kids apply for college scholarships and jobs.

    Above all, stay involved in your kids’ digital lives. Let them know you’re there for them, always – to talk, not to judge or punish, says Scheff. “Many kids fear having their Internet removed if they tell their parents they are being bullied online,” she says.

    So keep the lines of communication open to help keep everyone safe, both in and outside of your home.

    Seven Shopping Strategies For New Car Buyers

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    Buying the Right CarNew car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience stressful and tedious. Either way, there’s a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent).

    Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you’re turned on or turned off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, “expert” reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely pays to approach car buying strategically.

    So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just keep these 7 strategies, in mind:

    1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?
    2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
    3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a “cash buyer” gives you an advantage when you do finally meet with the dealership’s financing person.
    4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you’ll drive every day.
    5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help you negotiate the best deal.
    6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales tax.
    7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you’ve ordered are included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle’s total cost.

    Wise car buyers know to shop around for insurance and find out how costs compare. They also know to visit an independent insurance agency – like CityScape Insurance. We can check with several companies to find the best combination of coverage and price.