Keeping Kids Safe as They Walk to School

With the fall semester back in session, kids are out walking to and from school. To ensure safe journeys, it’s key that children and teens eliminate distractions, a CHOC community educator tells CHOC Radio.

In podcast No. 35, Amy Frias reminds parents that children should not play with phones or video games while walking to school, and also covers some other safety tips:

  • How to cross streets safely
  • When children can cross streets alone
  • Reminders for drivers

CHOC Radio theme music by Pat Jacobs.

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CHOC Walk in the Park: Insider Tips for Event Day

The 25th annual CHOC “Walk in the Park” is around the corner. With 15,000 Walkers expected at this year’s Walk, here are some tips to help teams and individual walkers have a fun morning.

Parking & Meeting Up

  • The Mickey and Friends Parking Structure will open the morning of the Walk at 5 a.m. Parking is free for registered CHOC Walk participants, even if you will be staying at the Disneyland Resort for the entire day.
  • The tram does not run to and from the parking structure the morning of the Walk, so allow time to walk from the structure to Disneyland’s main entrance.
  • Talk to your team about a designated place where you will meet at the structure, in Downtown Disney or in the esplanade between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

Entering Disneyland

  • Because all participants will be arriving for the Walk at the same time, it is important to allow for extra time to get through the turnstiles and onto Main Street U.S.A. for the Walk’s opening ceremony at 6:15 a.m. You will want to budget even more time if you will be stopping in Downtown Disney for coffee or a snack.
  • Animals (except service dogs), roller skates, bicycles, scooters and skateboards are not allowed.

What to Bring

  • Because breakfast is limited in Downtown Disney before the Walk and food is not sold in the parks during the Walk, walkers should bring light snacks and drinks, especially for young children. Keep in mind that glass bottles and containers are not allowed, except for baby food jars and baby bottles.
  • Don’t forget your camera because there will be Disney magic, characters and surprises throughout the Walk. Selfie sticks are not allowed in Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.
  • Disneyland stroller and wheelchair rentals are not available the morning of the CHOC Walk, so be sure to bring what you will need with you.
  • Wagons are not allowed inside Disneyland or Disney California Adventure during regular park hours, but are allowed in the parks during the CHOC Walk. If you will be heading into the parks after the Walk, be sure to switch out your wagon for a stroller back at your car afterward.

CHOC Walk in the Park

Team Spirit

  • An exciting addition to this year’s CHOC Walk weekend is the Ambassador’s Luau on Saturday, Oct. 10 in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel. The Luau is a festive and exotic Polynesian-themed event perfect for team building the afternoon before the Walk. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
  • Have fun with your team! Don’t forget, you can dress in school colors, wear matching t-shirts to support your loved one, or make signs to thank your supporters and help your team stand out in the crowd.
  • After the Walk, head over to the team photo area at the Downtown Disney Stage and get a team picture with Choco and the 2015 Honda Miracle Odyssey.

Downtown Disney CHOC Walk Festival

  • The fun doesn’t end when you cross the finish line. The CHOC Walk Festival will feature tons of great giveaways from CHOC sponsors, a DJ spinning great music, and the chance to purchase the 25th anniversary CHOC Walk in the Park hoodie, shopping bag, CHOC Kids Cards, CHOC Walk commemorative lapel pins and lanyards.
  • Don’t miss the CHOC Walk Selfie Squad who will be out throughout the festival and team photo area with CHOC Walk selfie signs and a helping hand for those big group pictures
  • Special discounts are available at many Downtown Disney stores and restaurants after the Walk. For a full list of businesses opening early for breakfast and discounts available the day of the Walk, click here.

More Fun In the Parks

  • Present your CHOC “Walk In the Park” wristband at a Disneyland Resort ticket booth to purchase special CHOCtober Disneyland Resort tickets. Purchase a 1-Day 1-Park ticket for $51 or a 1-Day Park Hopper ticket for $81 to use for admission back into the park on the day of the CHOC Walk or for your next trip to the Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Tickets are valid from Oct. 11, 2015 through Nov. 6, 2015 and do not have block out dates. A maximum of 5 tickets may be purchased per wristband.

You can learn more about CHOC “Walk in the Park or register to participate by clicking here. For real-time event information follow CHOC Walk on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also follow along with the fun by tagging your CHOC Walk photos online with #CHOCWalk.

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August is Heatstroke Awareness Month – 5 Tips You Must Know

It’s Heatstroke Awareness Month and CHOC would like to remind everyone never to leave a child alone in a car. Sadly, there have been 11 vehicular heatstroke deaths in the United States, this year alone.

Heatstroke occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Symptoms can quickly progress to seizures, organ failure and even death. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. More importantly, these injuries are completely preventable.

Keep your little ones safe with these tips:

  1. Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. No exceptions.
  2. Teach kids not to play in cars. Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own. Remind kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play.
  3. Create reminders by putting something in the backseat of your car next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse or cell phone that is needed at your final destination.
  4. Go a step further – create extra reminders. Develop a plan with your daycare so that if your child is late, you’ll be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off children at daycare.
  5. Take action. If you notice a child alone in a car, call 911. If your child is missing, get help and check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. If your child is locked in a car, get him out as quickly as possible and call 911 immediately.

Download this important tip sheet.

Check out this video for more information.

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Five Ways to Help Children Build Good Body Images

The concept of body image refers to what a person thinks and feels when they look at themselves in the mirror. Children – both boys and girls – begin forming their sense of body image at age 5.

Parents and other adults can have a hand in helping to shape these attitudes and feelings. Carmen Namenek, manager of community education at CHOC, offers five things parents, and all adults, can do to help children build and maintain good body images.

body image

  1. Praise qualities about your children that go beyond appearance

Teach kids to value other characteristics that have nothing to do with their looks, Carmen says. Focus on character traits when offering praise: For example, say “I’m so proud of how kind and caring you are” or “Great job at working so hard at your homework.”

Related, Carmen recommends children keep a list of those character-related compliments. The next time they’re feeling down, they can refer to it and think about all their great qualities.

  1. Be a great role model for having a healthy body image

Because kids are so influenced by their parents’ actions and behaviors, it’s important that adults model a healthy body image. Parents shouldn’t let children hear them disparage their own looks or lament a physical characteristic. Kids learn by watching and hearing others, Carmen says.

“We need to make positive comments about ourselves,” she says. “It’s OK to dislike a body part but you can’t let that turn into hate.”

And if the disliked physical characteristic is something that can be changed, use that as an opportunity to bond with a child, Carmen recommends. For example, if a parent would like to lose weight, initiate evening walks with a child. Parents might drop a few pounds, but, even more valuable, they will bond closer with their child.

  1. Use the media to discuss body image and the definition of beauty.

Television shows, movies, cartoons, magazines and the Internet play a significant role in shaping children’s body image. Studies show that a person sees an estimated 5,260 “attractiveness messages” each year through just commercials.

Blocking children from media is unrealistic, but parents can use these channels to educate and bolster better body image, Carmen says.

Ask a child questions such as “Do you think images on television and movies are real?” or “Do the media portray all types of bodies or beauty?” Share facts with children to help them maintain proper perspective. For example, models weigh on average 23 percent less than non-models.

“These facts help children understand that bodies in the real world are more diverse and unique than those in the media,” Carmen says.

  1. Teach children that health and appearance are different

Carmen recommends that adults focus on making daily healthy choices and changing feelings, rather than on weight and size.

Children can also benefit from a basic genetics lesson: Teach them that some things can be changed, and others cannot, she says.

  1. Nurture their inner selves

Body image is linked to self-esteem, so help children feel good about themselves in all arenas, Carmen recommends.

Build self-esteem by participating in activities that help them feel good about themselves and others. This will help children feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Finally, Carmen cautions that if a child is obsessing over their appearance or taking extreme measures such as radical dieting or skipping meals, parents should consult with a pediatrician immediately. These children need emotional and physical help.

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Wearing the Right Helmets the Right Way

girl on a bikeMost serious head injuries to kids can be prevented if they wear a helmet, but it’s important for children to wear the right kind of helmet, and to wear it correctly.

Before you get there, however, parents have to make sure their kids will actually wear a helmet.

Michelle Lubahn, CHOC’s community education coordinator, says parents should insist upon it from Day One – no exceptions.

“Starting this habit from the very beginning is your easiest route. For older kids, let them pick out something they like,” she says, adding, “Take the scooter or bike away if they don’t wear their helmet.”

If children balk at wearing a helmet, ask them why. They may fear they will look like a “geek,” or that their helmet will be ugly or uncomfortable. Talking about it and letting them pick out their helmet or decorate it will help, says Lubahn. Also explain to your child that it’s the law. In California, anyone under the age of 17 must wear a helmet approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission while riding a bike, scooter, skateboard, roller skates and inline skates.

The correct way to wear a helmet. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Pictured: the correct way to wear a helmet. It should have a snug but comfortable fit on the rider’s head. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Tips for buying and fitting a helmet:

  • The helmet should fit snugly and not slide around on the child’s head. Place two fingers above the child’s eyebrows and measure the circumference of the head there. Take that number with you when you go buy the helmet. When your child tries one on, place those two fingers above his eyebrow and the helmet should be resting there.
  • By law, the chinstrap must be buckled. If it’s not buckled, it’s likely to fly off. One of the child’s fingers should fit between the chinstrap and the chin.
  • If the helmet is on correctly, the straps should form a letter “V” below the ears.
  • Make sure the helmet meets federal guidelines set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If it’s approved, it should say so on the helmet.
  • Generally, most helmets shouldn’t be used again after a major impact or if the helmet gets cracked. If cracked, it should be replaced. Helmets also should not be tampered with for comfort or any reason.

Finally: all helmets were not designed for the same purpose. Your child needs to wear a helmet designed for the activity he or she is doing. For example, a child should not wear a bike helmet to play football or a hockey helmet for bike riding. “You want to use the right helmet for the right activity,” says Dr. Sharief Taraman, a CHOC pediatric neurologist.

To learn more about helmet safety, go to

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