Friday, October 29, 2010

New Bumper Sticker Can Save Lives:

When your teenager turns that magical age that they can receive their drivers license, most teens are celebrating as the parents start stressing.

It doesn't have to be stressful, though being a parent that is part of the terrority, if you are prepared and have taken the time to educate your teen about the driving safely, always being alert, putting the phone on silent or better yet, in the glove box, seatbelt at all times - not only for themselves, but for every passenger in the car.  In Florida it is the law - Click It or Ticket, simple as that.

A new group called, is hitting the pavement and creating an awareness and accountability to drive responsibly.  It is simply a bumper sticker that is literally saving lives.

The goal of the program: to protect teenage drivers and promote safe driving habits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Drivers aged 16 to 19 years of age have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates of any other age group." In addition, "16-year-olds are 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers."

The GoTellMom program is designed to protect your child, while correcting & preventing bad driving habits early, helping to reduce accidents and injury to your child and others.

GoTellMom also covers Florida.  If you click on their Report a Driving Incident, Florida is listed among all the United States.

In a recent press release by Go TellMom:

With the program, parents register online and receive a "How's My Teen's Driving?" bumper sticker with a unique privacy protected identification number. If a fellow driver or witness observes unsafe driving habits by the teen, they can call or visit to report the incident using the 4 digit code on the bumper sticker. will then send a detailed email report notifying the parents.

Studies show that commercial vehicles utilizing "How's My Driving" stickers reported a20% decrease in accidents and traffic violations.
By placing the sticker on a teen's car, parents have taken a proactive step towards preventing bad driving habits, ultimately keeping their teens safe.

Whether it is speeding, texting while driving, a taillight out or just careless teen driving - the community can call or report to, and the teen's parent will instantly be notified. If teen drivers know that the community is watching and at any time a report can be made, then safe driving will become a priority.

Launched in 2010, is a proactive way for parents and the community to monitor teen drivers and moreover help correct bad driving habits early. For more information, please visit

Monday, October 25, 2010

Six Tips for a Healthy and Safe Holiday Season with Your Family

Seriously, holiday season?

Yes, the holiday season is upon us and before you know it, or actually it is a reality, there are Christmas decorations in stores already - and your kids haven't even unwrapped one piece of Halloween candy yet!
It is never too early to discuss safety and health when it comes to your family.  Living healthy all year round should be a priority, but we all will let things slide at the holidays, it is just part of reality.  (Maybe there are a few of you that are good all year round, congrats to you!)  Especially for parents, it can be extremely difficult to get our teens eat healthy as well as learn the importance of being an offensive driver.

Many recognize that during the holidays there will be in increase in drunk driving accidents and deaths from these accidents.  Whether you are 16 years-old or 60 years-old - drive safelyPut those cell phones away.
Here are six basic reminders for healthy living, especially during the holidays:
  1. Wash your hands often.  There's lots of food being exchanged during the holidays.  Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important (and easy) steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.  Wash your hands vigorously with soap and water, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Get checkups and vaccinations. Don't let the holidays get in the way of important exams and screenings. If young children are scheduled to receive routine vaccinations, stay on schedule and don't put these off until after the holidays. Talk to your doctor about flu shots for you and your family.
  3. Manage stress. Remember, it's the holidays, and they are supposed to be fun. Keep a check on over-committing yourself. Plan quality time just for you and your family. Try to avoid overspending, which can cause unneeded stress during and after the festivities. Need help? Don't be afraid to ask others to pitch in!
  4. Eat healthy and be active. With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting and not-so-healthy foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music.
  5. Travel safely. Don't drink and drive, and be sure to keep a watchful eye on guests to ensure they're not driving after drinking.  If you are out and have had too much to drink, call 1-800-AAA-HELP and AAA's Tow-to-Go service will provide you a free tow and ride home. (Nov. 24-Jan. 2)
  6. Handle and prepare food safely. Avoid food-related illness by washing hands and work surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature and refrigerate promptly.
Source: Going Places AAA
In Broward County, AAA has a location in Pembroke Pines.  You can get your holiday attraction tickets and membership information there.  Especially if you have a teen driver in the house, getting them an AAA Membership is an excellent gift (probably more for you, but it is worth the sense of relief when they break down and need a tow).  A tow alone can sometimes cost up to $400.00.  With AAA, you get three free tows a year and much more.  Look into it today!

On a personal note, thankfully my son had his AAA card last weekend - when he lost his car keys!  Between the locksmith and the tow, it didn't cost me anything (thanks to our AAA Membership).

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens!

Read more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ten Tips for Teen Drivers and their Parents

The day has come, one that many parents dread, and teens celebrate - getting their driver's license.  Prior this day, it is a parents responsibility to educate their teen on the major responsibility that comes with driving a vehicle.  It is not just about their life, it is the lives of thousands of people on the road.

Preparing for this day should be a priority.  Reading educational books, watching video's and taking driving classes can all be part of getting ready to turn that key.

In 2009, 153 teens died in traffic crashes, according to Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) statistics. Teenagers who are 15 to 19 years old have the highest crash rates, and teens are twice as likely to crash as their parents, according to the FHP. offers 10 tips to help protect your teen driver from an accident.

1. Practice, practice, practice. During the first 500 miles of driving, teen drivers are 10 times more likely to be in auto crashes than any other age group. Driving requires mental and physical skills that can only be honed with time on the road. That's why it's essential for teen drivers to get professional training and why more states are issuing graduated licenses that require teens to drive with their parents for an extended length of time before being eligible to drive on their own.
2. Create a safe driving contract. Parents should consider creating a safe-driving contract with new drivers to build safe driving habits. Have clear, consistent consequences when your teens do something inappropriate while driving so they understand their boundaries as drivers. The focus of such a contract should be on removing distractions, such as cell phones or eating in the car, which may divert a teen driver's attention from the road, and keeping teen drivers off the roads at particularly risky times of the day (after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m.).
3. No cell phones. Texting while driving is banned in 26 states and D.C., and an additional eight states prohibit text messaging by minor drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Six states prohibit all drivers from using handheld phones while driving. Make sure you and your teen driver are familiar with your state's laws on mobile devices and driving.
4. Seatbelts. Fifty-five percent of teens killed in automobile accidents in 2008 were not wearing seatbelts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wearing a seatbelt is not only a good idea, in a growing number of states, it's the law - 31 states have primary seat belt laws and 18 have secondary laws, according to
5. Passenger restriction. Parents should try to limit the number of passengers in their teen's car, especially those younger than 18. Some states even have laws that do not allow minor passengers to be in the vehicle for the first six months after a new teen driver receives his or her license.
6. Curfew. Teens can be more distracted at night. A study done by NHTSA finds that nighttime, especially after 10 p.m., is one of the riskiest times of the day to drive for teens. Check state and local city laws regarding curfews as some states impose curfews on teen driving.
7. No drinking and driving. On average, a drunk driver kills someone every 45 minutes, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Help your teen find other solutions to drinking and driving, especially responding to peer pressure to drink. Lead by example and show your kids it's never okay to drink and drive.
8. Make sure your teen gets sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most teens need at least nine hours of sleep. Sleep deprived teens can drive like someone who is impaired by a blood alcohol content of .08 percent. Don't let your teen drive if they are feeling drowsy. Offer to drive them or let them sleep more before driving. Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 car crashes each year.
9. Train teens for poor weather conditions.
Your teen will never know what challenges he will face on the road. Make sure he is able to handle snow, wind, and rain. Ride along with her during a storm before she has to face this challenge alone.
10. Make an accident kit. You never know what tools you will need after an accident, and it's better to always be prepared. Some ideas for your accident kit: a disposable camera, flashlight, glowstick, pen and personal info sheet to list all of your insurance information and personal details. You may also include info cards and witness cards to collect license plate numbers, insurance details, and other information from all cars, drivers and witnesses involved in an accident.

To learn about the law and for more information about a parent's liability with their teen drivers, visit
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Common Ways Your ID Can Be Stolen: Talk to your Teens Today

How many people and especially teens don't believe that bad things can happen to them?  You hear about robberies, car accidents, even other people who get STD's, but all this bad stuff - it won't happen to you. Many teenagers believe they are immune to these sorts of terrible things in life.  However the truth is - bad things can happen to good people.

Well, identity theft is a horrible situation, not as deadly as an auto accident, but emotionally and financially can be devastating.

Starting Sunday October 17th - 23rd is the 3rd Annual Protect Your Identity Week and hopefully you will take the time to secure your private information.

Knowing how these thieves can steal your identity can help you to use precautions.
According to Federal Trade Commission, here are some common methods that thieves use:
  1. Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
  2. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  3. Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
  4. Hacking. They hack into databases or steal business records to get customer PII.
  5. "Old-Fashioned" Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
Learn more at Protect Your Identity Now.

Read more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Share with care: Teach your teens about privacy online

It is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).  Most teens and even children are more sophisticated online than their parents.  That means parents need to take the time to catch up!

Parenting usually includes teaching our children to share.  However when it comes to cyberspace, we need to understand that sharing is not always the best policy. (Watch video).

What you post online could have an impact on people in the real world.

As you know, the Internet offers students a wealth of opportunities to communicate, socialize and explore the world.  But these benefits come with risks.  Problems like cyberbullying, sexting and over-sharing on social networking sites affect students, schools and communities across the country.

OnGuard Online, Stop - Think - Click is a program designed and provided by The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) to help keep our teens and children safe in space.  The are offering free booklets and a toolkit to help you become a better informed parent, teacher and person when it comes to online safety.

The toolkit materials are free and in the public domain.  They encourage teachers, parents and others who care for kids to use this resource during a classroom presentation, community gathering or PTA meeting, and to spread the word by using the information in a newsletter or on your website, ordering free copies of Net Cetera and Heads Up for your neighborhood school from, or sharing the toolkit with colleagues and community leaders.

During NCSAM, and all year round, learn as much as you can about cybersafety and cybersecurity.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Teen Relationships: Is your teen in a healthy relationship?

School is open and in full swing.  Many relationships are forming, some are going to be best friends forever and some are not.

Relationships are an essential part of life; without them, we would all wither and die of loneliness. However, there are times when relationships are the cause of immense suffering – when they’re abusive, one-sided or unhealthy, they tend to take more out of you than they give in return. It’s hard enough for adults to tackle relationships maturely, so when you know your teenager is interested in the opposite sex and has started to date, it’s only natural that your parental and protective instincts soar high. As long as your child is happy and cheerful for the most part, you don’t worry – you’re the indulgent parent watching your child grow into an adult. But when you sense that something is not right, when your gut feel tells you that the relationship your child is in is not healthy, you must do something to prevent them from getting into trouble or getting hurt.
  • Some teens get into relationships that are abusive – their partner is physically violent or verbally abusive. If you see your child with bruises and cuts that they cannot explain properly or if you notice them crying or upset after a phone call or a text message or when they’re back from a date, it’s time to probe for more information and help them out.
  • If your teen is a relationship that is proving to be distractive and detrimental to everything else in their life, you must do something to make them see sense. You don’t want your child to end up being a parent before they’ve gone to college and seen something of life, so even if you end up being labeled the villain, you must talk to them and make them understand that marriage straight out of high school is not an option even if they’ve found the love of their lives. It will be hard to make them understand your point of view, but you must try your best because you love your child and want the best for them.
  • In worst case scenarios, your teen could also be involved with a much older person who could be married too – it’s not unheard of for girls to be swayed by the attention of older men who shower them with gifts and take advantage of them or for boys to get seduced by older women. If your child is hiding their significant other from you and acting weirdly, it’s time to get to the bottom of things. I don’t mean that you must pry into their lives, just that you must be careful to ensure that they don’t get trapped by older adults who take advantage of their gullibility.
Talking to your teen is not the easiest of things to do because they tend to guard their privacy fiercely and will resent you “butting in”. However, you must persist because your child’s emotional wellbeing is at stake. Be understanding yet firm in your desire to help; continue to offer to talk and be there for them when the dam breaks and they finally feel they’ve had enough. Don’t despair that your child has undergone a bad experience – they come out better because of it and avoid making the same mistake again.

Source and contributed by: Rachel Davis 

Women in Distress in Broward County for Teens offers a hotline, resources and valuable information for both parents and teens.

Be and educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bullying Prevention Resources: The Trevor Project and more

Many celebrities are known by one name.  Whether it is Cher, Madonna or Ellen - we know exactly who they are and what they do.  They are recognizable.

Ellen, who makes people laugh everyday on her television talk show, is using her voice and her celebrity to help spread the word about bullying prevention.  There is nothing funny about bullying and she is dedicated to helping those that are being harassed, teased and viciously attacked.

Her website recently launched a resource page for bullying prevention.

Unfortunately, South Florida is no stranger to bullying and school violence.

The following organizations listed on Ellen's website are all devoted to ending bullying. You can learn more at their websites about the resources each organization provides.
  • The Trevor Project runs the Trevor Lifeline, a 24-hour, national crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for gay and questioning teens. The number is 1-866-4-U-Trevor. You can learn more about The Trevor Project and the other great program they have at their website:
  • The National Center for Bullying Prevention is helping to promote awareness and teach effective ways to respond to bullying. You can learn more about them at:
  • STOMP Out Bullying is focused on reducing bullying and cyberbullying. Find out more on their website:
  • The Matthew Shepard Foundation runs Matthew's Place, an online community and resource center for LGBTQ youth. The website is:
  • GLSEN is also a great organization that is working to eradicate bullying and bias in schools. Their website is:
  • The Human Rights Campaign's Welcoming Schools Guide is an approach to addressing family diversity, gender stereotyping, and name-calling in K-5th grades. The guide helps administrators, educators, and parents or caring adults make sure that their elementary schools welcome all students and families. You can learn more at
  • PFLAG and GLSEN have partnered with the Department of Civil Rights to create the Claim Your Rights program, to help everyone understand that they have the right to safer schools. This resource helps students, parents and teachers report incidences of bullying, particularly when schools deny that bullying exists. You can find out more about this vital resource at:
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has several chapters located in Broward County.  For the one nearest your, click here.
Be an educated parent, and remember, teach tolerance and lead by example!  Your kids are watching!

Watch video and read more.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Let South Florida be a wave of BLUE SHIRTS on October 4th.  After making national headlines for having some of the most horrific bullying attacks, (Michael Brewer, doused in alcohol and set on fire by bullies and Josie Ratley nearly beaten to death by another teen), it is time to take back South Florida in a positive direction.

October 3rd thru the 9th is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week and STOMP Out Bullying is asking everyone to make October 4th the day that bullying and cyberbullying prevention is heard around the world by wearing a BLUE SHIRT in solidarity to STOMP Out Bullying™!

Whether you are in Broward, Dade or Palm Beach County, get your schools, neighborhoods and communities involved!  Let our country and the world know we are not taking it anymore.

Since 1999, Love Our Children USA™ has been the national nonprofit leader in fighting all forms of violence against children. STOMP Out Bullying™ is a signature program of our organization.

Florida has made the news again recently.  James Jones defended his disabled daughter after she was taunted and bullied on a public school bus, as another Florida mother, April Newcomb, encouraged her daughter to fight!  The video says it all and it is appalling.

The father, James Jones, quickly recognized his wrong doing, and apologized to the the kids on the bus while April Newcomb was arrested and now being charged with child abuse.

Isn't it time Florida is seen on national television in a positive light?  Get your BLUE SHIRTS today and on Saturday, October 4th, let your voice be heard!

Here are more ways you can help STOMP Out Bullying:
  • Visit their website and Click the “Click Me” box and join the almost 100,000 who have made a commitment to STOMP Out Bullying™
  • Make October 4th the day that bullying and cyberbullying prevention is heard around the world by wearing a BLUE SHIRT in solidarity to STOMP Out Bullying™! You can order BLUE SHIRTS from STOMP Out Bullying™ or wear your own!
  • Raise awareness and educate on the issue of bullying and its effects
  • Educators can invite students to join in an open discussion on how to STOMP Out Bullying™
  • Spread the word and spur others to take action via Facebook, Twitter STOMP Out Bullying, Twitter Love Our Children USA, Blog it, Text it, E-mail it
  • Sign the petition which tells President Obama and Congress that we must STOMP Out Bullying™
  • Create events to raise awareness of the issue
  • Tell us why it’s important to you to STOMP Out Bullying™ on their web site
  • Create art, dance, music and theater projects about why and how we can STOMP Out Bullying™
  • Plan a STOMP Out Bullying™ walk and raise awareness
  • Create posters to STOMP Out Bullying™
  • Create your own way to STOMP Out Bullying™ in your community
Watch video and learn more! Read more.