How to Organize a ‘Trunk-or-Treat’ Event

by Jennifer Sonntag on 

There’s a new way to trick-or-treat that’s been gaining momentum in communities over the past few years. It’s called Trunk-or-Treat. Specific organizations or businesses partner with one another to offer a less-spooky alternative to the typical nighttime trick-or-treating Halloween event. It’s great for younger children and offers a shorter, friendlier Halloween experience.

All you need is a large parking lot, participating vehicles decorated for Halloween, and attendees to enjoy the fun. Here are some tips to help you plan a trunk or treat event:

  1. Location: The parking lot should be a decent size (a school parking lot or business parking lot is great). The location will also determine how many participants you can invite to the event. For example, if it’s at a school, will it be just for the school or can other community members and children attend? You’ll want to have enough room.
  2. Date: While it’s an alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating, it’s recommended that you stay away from the actual Halloween holiday. Typically the weekend before Halloween is a good idea or a different day leading up to the holiday will work. Check to see when your community plans to hold trick-or-treating and try to schedule your event a different day.
  3. Cost: Will you charge participants a fee to enjoy the Trunk-or-Treat? Or will the event serve as a fundraiser with donations going to a specific organization or cause?
  4. Find your trunks: If you’re hosting the event at a school, see if the PTO or teachers want to participate. Or, recruit local businesses to participate. Just make sure you allow trunk participants enough time to come up with an idea, decorate their trunk and purchase candy or treats to pass out.
  5. Safety First: On the day of the event, make sure trunk participants arrive at least an hour prior to the event start time. Have them set up, decorate their trunk and get ready for the children. If possible, it’s also a good idea to make sure families can park in a separate area away from the kids walking through the event space.

Think you’re ready to take on a trunk-or-treat event? Hopefully this list of tips will help you get started. And for other ways to make sure your Halloween is as safe as it is happy, check out these tips from Eriesense blog:

Halloween Safety Checklist
4 Lesser-Known Halloween Safety Tips
How to Prepare Your House for Trick or Treaters

Original Article

Boarding the Bus

by Erie Insurance on 

When the big yellow bus swings around the corner and nears the corner bus stop, it can be an exciting moment for both kids and parents. It marks the real start of the new school year.

Every year, U.S. school buses carry 25 million children to and from school, according to the American School Bus Council. School buses also boast an impressive safety record: School-bus involved crashes amount to less than one percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, the NHTSA says that the bigger risk to student safety isn’t riding the bus, but getting on and off the bus. Before the exciting day arrives, do a quick review of bus safety tips with your children.

Be aware of cars. Aside from your kids heading off to school, morning is a busy time of day in the neighborhood, with grownups racing out the door to work. Teach kids to stay on the sidewalk and never cross an intersection until the car is stopped, they make eye contact with the driver and no other cars are approaching.

Safe waiting. While waiting for the bus, kids should stay at least three giant steps back from the curb. Because of the bus stop’s proximity to the street, discourage kids from horseplay and running games too close to the street.

Don’t cut it short. When young kids are running late, they can quickly forget the safety rules and run right into the street without looking for cars. Get kids into the habit of leaving five minutes before the bus’s scheduled arrival. In fact, during the first week of school, it doesn’t hurt to give them a bigger cushion of time because schedules can vary until the driver gets the route down.

Boarding safely: Everyone loves to grab their favorite seat. But it’s more important to board the bus safely. The safest way to do this is to stay back on the curb and not approach the bus until it comes to a complete halt and the door swings open.

For additional family/business safety, visit Scott Lynch Agency

Keep kids safe with these 5 tips to prevent heatstroke in cars

JUL 31, 2017 | BY ROSALIE L. DONLONDENNY JACOB

Summer is a favorite time of the year for many with warm, sunny days. But it’s important to remember extremely hot summer temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly.

During periods of elevated temperature, your body must work more intensely to maintain its internal temperature of 98.6 degrees, leading to the threat of dehydration, among other things. Beyond the risks to people, extreme heat increases a number of exposures. For example, vehicles can break down if there aren’t enough fluids to keep the car cool and functional as it reacts to the increased heat.

Of the numerous risks that can occur with increased heat, a heatstroke is often overlooked. Children, especially those under a year old, are at risk because their body’s temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s, and they’re often too young to alert others for help.

In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees — enough to kill a child left alone in a vehicle. On July 31, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will tweet every 15 minutes for 24 hours to raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke. You can follow the conversation through NHTSA’s Twitter page and participate using the hashtag #HeatstrokeKills.

The risks of vehicular heatstroke

Vehicular heatstroke happens when a child is left or trapped inside a car or truck. As NHTSA explains, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise high enough to kill a child—even when it doesn’t feel that hot outside. Understanding how and why these tragedies happen is the key to protecting our children. In 54% of cases, the child was forgotten by the caregiver. In 28% of cases, children got into the vehicle on their own.

High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death. It begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.

Regardless of the temperature, heatstrokes pose a risk at any given time; they can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Heatstroke fatalities have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas and when the air temperature was 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less — rolling down a window does little keep a vehicle cool.

The warning signs of a heatstroke can vary, but may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; a throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; being grouchy or acting strangely.

Follow these five tips from NHTSA to keep children safe from vehicular heatstroke:

Look before you lock

Get into the routine of always checking the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away. It sounds unthinkable that you’d forget your child in the back seat, but if the child is asleep and you’re distracted or in a rush to get somewhere, it does happen.

Have a gentle reminder

Keep a stuffed animal or another memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place your phone, briefcase or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.

Do a routine check

If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely. Set a reminder on your phone to call and check in.

Keep track of your car keys

Keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.

If you have a newer model car that has a keyless entry, check with the vehicle’s manufacturer on ways to keep children from getting into the car unsupervised.

Act to save a life

You should act if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Call law enforcement immediately, and free the child from the vehicle to protect that child’s life. Don’t be afraid to break a window if necessary.

Original Article

How to Get Your Kids to Play Outside

Playing outside used to be kids’ main form of entertainment. As a kid, I only went inside for food, water and much-needed sunblock.

These days, the explosion of personal cell phones, tablets and gaming devices means it’s harder to get your kids to play outside. And that’s unfortunate since playing outside gives children a chance to get physical activity and socialize with friends.

If you’re a parent, chances are you’re having a hard time peeling your kids away from TVs and touch screens. The next time your kids play the “there’s nothing to do outside” card, combat it with these ideas.

Good old-fashioned fun

Here are classic outdoor activities that most kids simply can’t turn down.

  • Host a water balloon fight: Water balloons are a cheap and easy way to cool off under the sun and get everyone outside. Have your child invite some friends over with a change of clothes and a towel. If you’d rather not deal with a mess, letting them run through the sprinkler is an equally fun alternative.
  • Create an obstacle course: On your mark, get set, go! See who can reach the swing set first after spinning around five times, hula hooping ten times and hopping over an outdoor cushion. The more creative you get, the more they’ll enjoy it.
  • Camp out in the backyard: Pitch a tent under the stars. Get the whole family involved by having a cookout or outdoor fire beforehand. Just make sure to put it out before heading to bed!

Try an app or two

Having an especially hard time getting your kids to step away from their favorite devices? Fear not, because there are ways to use the enemy to get your kids to play outside. Try one of these tactics and they’ll soon be heading out the door.

  • Catch ’em all with Pokemon Go: The popular new game allows players to digitally immerse themselves in the world of “pocket monsters” with just a smartphone. Since you have to actually move to find items, the kids’ll be off the couch pronto. See how many Pokemon they can catch around the neighborhood, just remind them to be aware of their surroundings!
  • Send them on a scavenger hunt: Give kids a list of items that can be found around the yard or, if they’re older, around the neighborhood. Instruct them to use their phones to take a picture of the item as proof they’ve found it.
  • Go geocaching: Geocaching involves finding a collection of hidden items. Make one out of an old Tupperware container with your child and then pick a place to hide it. The Android and iOS compatible Geocaching app helps users find caches and keep track of ones they’ve already found. This is an excellent activity for the whole family to take part in.
  • Do a little stargazing: There are numerous cell phone apps that help you identify constellations in the sky during different times of the year. Two that are compatible with both iOS and Android are Night Sky Light and Star Chart.

With a little creativity and a little planning, you really can get your kids to play outside this summer.

by Alex Buczynski on June 4, 2014

Original Article

Learning to Thrive to Honor Our Parents’ Memory

New: James lost both parents. His story shows the incredible power of having some life insurance, or none at all.

Self-defense Can Be Costly – Make Sure your Assets are Protected

Self-defense Can Be Costly – Make Sure your Assets are Protected by Nancy Daniel on 4/14/2017

Too often we see stories in the news of innocent people being thrown into scary situations through no fault of their own. Whether it’s a robbery or burglary, home invasion or carjacking, sometimes people are forced into a life-threatening scenario.

Your first priority is protecting your family. Ours is protecting you.  That’s why ERIE introduced a new coverage to help with the expense of defending yourself in court should something unthinkable like this ever happen.

But first, let’s talk about what happens if you’re put in a situation where you have to defend yourself, your family or your property. While you should always put your personal safety first, it’s important to know the law too. Be prepared by knowing your state laws, especially if you own a firearm or have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

What are the laws?*

In the United States, intentionally causing physical harm to another person can result in criminal or civil legal liability. In many instances a person could be liable for causing harm even if the other person had threatened or attacked first.1  Many states, however, have passed laws providing that in certain situations an individual has no duty to retreat before using force in self-defense. These are referred to as “stand your ground” laws. This article from the National Conference of State Legislatures provides state-by-state information so you can be informed.

What happens after the incident?

If you’ve had to defend yourself or your property, what happens next? Typically, after the 911 call to report the incident, you will likely go through the following steps2:

  • First responders arrive.
  • Law enforcement personnel and possibly the assistant district attorney begin the investigation.
  • You may or may not be taken into custody.  Questioning takes place – be sure to ask for your attorney as soon as possible.
  • If you were taken into custody, you may or may not be released, asked to post bond or held in jail.
  • Law enforcement may or may not file charges against you.
  • If charges are filed, the prosecutor may support or disagree with charges filed by the police.
  • At your first appearance in court you enter a plea. (Your attorney will be your advocate advising you on your plea and guiding you through the legal system.)
  • The trial process takes place.
  • The outcome is determined by a judge in a bench trial or by a jury of peers in a jury trial.
  • If found “Not Guilty”, you are acquitted. (This is where our ErieSecure Homeâ policy comes in – see below.)

Naturally, all of this can be frightening, which is why it is essential to find and retain good legal representation. And even if you’re found innocent of any wrongdoing, the legal costs can be in the thousands of dollars. ERIE can protect you by covering some of those legal costs after charges have been dropped, you’re found not guilty or you have been exonerated.

 

There’s insurance for that

Our ErieSecure Home® policy with the Select bundle now includes criminal defense cost reimbursement3. Your local ERIE agent can explain how it works and give you a quote for adding the Select bundle to an ErieSecure Home policy in order to have the coverage.

Specifically, the Select bundle includes $25,000 of coverage for defense and legal expenses incurred to defend a criminal charge arising from reasonable acts to protect people and property, when the insured is found not guilty of the charges. Examples of legal fees covered include reasonable attorney fees, bonds and actual loss of earnings.

If you’re already an ErieSecure Home customer with the Select bundle, this new coverage is automatically included. You don’t need to do anything. If you have ErieSecure Homeâ insurance but do not have additional coverage through a bundle (or have the Advantage or Plus bundle instead), talk to your ERIE agent for a quote on the Select bundle.

Helping people deal with the alarming reality of today’s news stories is just another way Erie Insurance takes good care of its customers. We believe in treating people right and this is one more way we can do that.

Original Article

*Nothing in this article is or should be considered to be legal advice.  Readers are encouraged to find and consult qualified legal advisors regarding this subject.

1 http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/using-a-gun-self-defense-laws-and-consequences.htm

2 http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/20/step-by-step-here-is-what-will-happen-after-a-defensive-shooting/

3 The information provided here is a summary and does not include all coverages and benefits available through an ErieSecure Home® policy or apply to all states. Coverages, benefits, limits and deductibles will vary. Conditions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Refer to our disclaimer for more information. Talk to an ERIE agent for state specific policy information.

Do you think stay-at-home moms don’t need life insurance?

Do you think stay-at-home moms don’t need life insurance? Teresa and her family’s story may change your mind. Watch!
Teresa and her family’s story