The consequences of leaving kids or pets in hot cars, even for a minute, can be deadly. Each year, AAA along with Safe Kids works to prevent children and pets being left in hot cars by educating the public of the dangers.
According to data collected by Dr. Jan Null of San Francisco State University, 32 children died last year after being left in a car. 52 percent of those who died were left not on purpose, but by mistake.
“Many times we think we can run into a store and be out in 10 minutes with no problem, but in 10 minutes in the heat of the summer, your car’s interior temperature can rise 19 degrees above that of the outside air,” said Danial Karnes, AAA Oklahoma spokesman.
AAA urges parents and caregivers to put these simple tips to use to make sure no child is left in a vehicle this summer.
- Never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, even if the windows are tinted or down. The same recommendation applies to pets and the elderly.
- Don’t allow children to play in an unlocked, parked vehicle and never leave car keys where children have access to them.
- Keep doors locked and windows closed at all times, even when the vehicle is in the garage or on a driveway.
- Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Be certain no one is inadvertently left behind.
- When you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of the car, also open the glove compartment door, flip down the passenger side visor or put a purse in the back seat. These actions can serve as visual reminders that a child is in the back seat. Even better, place your cell phone on the back seat, too.
- If you see a child alone in a locked, parked car, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 365,000 members across Oklahoma with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 45 retail branches, regional operations center and the Internet at www.AAA.com.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
Thinking about taking a family vacation this summer? Choosing and planning can be half the fun.
There are many short, fun, exciting, family-oriented and inexpensive vacation destinations within Oklahoma – and AAA Oklahoma is the first to point them out in AAA’s Oklahoma TourBook travel guide – but sometimes families want options. Planning a trip the whole family will enjoy is easier when you let AAA’s travel professionals help point the way with expert recommendations.
To select their top picks for key family travel destinations, AAA editors became kids again. With an eye toward finding options for kids from tots to teens, they visited and played at countless attractions touted as kid-friendly — many designated as AAA GEMs, offering a Great Experience for Members — along with notable restaurants and events. This family-friendly content is available in AAA’s popular digital and printed travel guides for select destinations.
The key to a successful family vacation is planning activities that are fun and exciting for every member of your group, recognizing that what’s exciting to a 6-year-old can differ from what appeals to teens. Recommendations from AAA’s travel editors help make these distinctions, ensuring easier travel planning and memorable vacation experiences.
AAA’s Top Picks for Kids are currently available for 19 U.S. cities coast to coast, including New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Selections are separated into categories that include options for kids under 13, teens, and kids of all ages.
AAA editors’ Top Picks for Kids can be found in the AAA.com Travel Guides, the downloadable AAA eTourBook guides available at AAA.com/ebooks and the printed AAA TourBook guides available to members free at full-service AAA Oklahoma offices.
FOR EXAMPLE: AAA Editors’ Top Picks for Kids – MIAMI
Miami Seaquarium: At this AAA GEM attraction, kids enjoy the antics of Salty the sea lion, Flipper the dolphin and Lolita the killer whale. Between-show activities include saltwater exhibits with sea turtles and reef fish. There’s even a pirate ship playground with water guns and a spiral slide.
Monkey Jungle: What could be more fun than a whole park filled with monkeys? A fenced-in path through this subtropical forest keeps humans and monkeys safely separate while allowing visitors to get really close to these wonderful animals.
Duck Tours South Beach: If you want to tour South Beach and get a taste of its rich Art Deco legacy without hearing choruses of “I’m bored,” hop on an amphibious vehicle. The entertaining and educational 90-minute excursion concludes with a big splash into Biscayne Bay.
La Carreta Restaurant: Enjoy a delicious introduction to home-style Cuban cuisine, a big part of the Miami experience, at this local institution on Little Havana’s Calle Ocho (8th Street). Sample charbroiled meats and chicken-and-rice dishes, and snap a family photo with the giant metal chicken outside.
Beaches: You’re in Florida after all. Miami Beach is the obvious choice, particularly if you are staying there. There is also nearby Key Biscayne with its two public beaches: Crandon Park – a 2-mile stretch of sand noted for its calm waters and rental cabanas – and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, with its postcard-worthy historic lighthouse.
Everglades National Park: Drive down to South Florida’s wilderness jewel, a AAA GEM attraction. This endangered “River of Grass” is a haven for birds as well as alligators, snakes, turtles and manatees. Drive the 38 miles from the entrance to the Flamingo Visitor Center and enjoy the views from your car. Trailheads radiate out from the road at several spots, inviting short hikes. A thrilling high-speed way to explore the park is by airboat ride, offered at Everglades Alligator Farm and Everglades Safari Park.
There are lessons to be learned. No matter how much you try to school them, regardless the advance warning, despite all the “when I was your age” comments, young people have to learn for themselves.
And when the time comes during their teen years that they have to make decisions that can cost them money, they learn just how costly those decisions can be.
A family I know well enough to be related to (and am) is about to get a double dose of the money game. Two teenage daughters, with two months difference in their ages (they’re stepsisters) are entering into the world of higher learning.
It can be a great time, it can be a tough time. It all depends upon the decisions you have to make and how you do so.
Their dad has set them up to learn, with a little room to fail. They get an allowance, a decent one. OK, very decent. Each receives 40 times what I got at the best level I ever had. I won’t deny that times were much different and items much cheaper. It’s all relative.
Now comes the adjustment.
Until now, others have made many of their purchases for them. Food on the run, cosmetics, trinkets, or whatever usually has been more of a “gift” from others. They’ve been told that now that those expenses will be their responsibility. But the biggest change will be in transportation.
Now, they will both have a driver’s license. Their dad bought them a car to share, fixed it up with some nice added features and got them both a set of keys.
But he told them they would be responsible for handling the cost of fuel with their allowances. I suspect there will be a steady decline of some other purchases, beginning pretty soon.
So what comes next? A little exercise in budgeting, he says. They’re going to have to learn how to budget their money, because he added a stipulation when he set up their allowances: don’t ask anyone for money; you have your own, until it runs out.
I also suspect there will be some employment considerations, along with a push for an additional vehicle.
The lessons are just beginning.
Check the resources in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA to help you with your personal finances. There’s some pretty sound advice there, no matter your age.
A recently released analysis found a 1.9 percent decrease in total fatalities since 2010, officials of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
Any decrease is good new. Any drop is progress.
But the same analysis found some bad news. There was an 8.7 percent increase in cyclist fatalities and a 3 percent rise in pedestrian deaths in 2011. That is substantial.
“We are still concerned about the numbers of cyclists and pedestrians at risk on our roadways,” said Paul Oberhauser, Traffic Safety Coalition co-chairman. “As the holiday season approaches, we must obey basic traffic safety laws to ensure the safety of those inside and outside of a vehicle.”
The issue is personal to Oberhauser. His daughter, Sarah, was killed in 2002 when a driver ran a red light and crashed into her car.
The numbers in the report show a need for increased education relating to the shift in the types of transportation the public is now using, highway safety officials said. They say it is important to continue to keep overall traffic fatalities down and educate the public on driver distraction, red light running and speed in our intersections.
“The latest numbers show how the tireless work of our safety agencies and partners, coupled with significant advances in technology and continued public education, can really make a difference on our roadways,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a release from NHTSA.
“As we look to the future, it will be more important than ever to build on this progress by continuing to tackle head-on issues like seat belt use, drunk driving, and driver distraction.”
So, to keep roads safer for those traveling this season, the Traffic Safety Coalition is encouraging drivers to take its holiday pledge (http://www.trafficsafetycoalition.com/holidaypledge) to commit to safe driving behavior. The pledge reads:
“During this holiday season and every day throughout the year,
• I pledge to buckle up when driving and as a passenger.
• I pledge to obey traffic signals and always stop on red.
• I pledge to obey the speed limit.
• I pledge to never text and drive.
• I pledge to never drink and drive.”
The TSC works with more than 250 partners nationwide, including local chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Safe Kids USA and other local community organizations throughout the country.
It’s an effort we all can join.
It almost makes a fellow feel cheap, but I’m sure it certainly is something to look at.
A longtime colleague called the other day to chit-chat for a bit. As we have done for years, we wanted to get caught up on what’s been happening in each other’s life, and with our families.
We also wanted to send each other best wishes for the holiday season.
He was telling me about his family and mentioned that his daughter, another veteran journalist, had been working on a feature story about people who make a living putting up Christmas lights for others.
In particular, she told him, she had interviewed a guy who handled the decorative lights for a man who owned a major entertainment company in California. She told her dad the job paid well. Very well. Putting the lights on that one house brought a $50,000 contract.
I haven’t seen pictures, but I know without looking that’s a little more than I spent on my lights this year. OK, more than a little.
I’ve seen some pretty nice displays in my day. Big ones. Expensive ones. Just about anything Christmas-related you can think of, I’ve seen it.
My family likes to view the displays, those at individual homes, as well as the big municipal presentations, such as those in cities and towns throughout Oklahoma. Some of them are nothing short of incredible, from those you tune in to a spot on your radio dial to hear accompanying music, to those with live characters.
You can check on NewsOK and on wimgo.com for community displays to visit. They’re well worth visiting, in my opinion.
And there are even those who piggyback on a nearby display. I saw one recently where a house was awash in lights, from the rooftop all the way to the curb. Lots of blinking, twinkling lights, moving characters and music.
Next door, the house had a smaller display, but a sign in the front yard that caught my eye and added a little humor.
The sign, of good size and circled in bright lights, pointed to the big display and said: “Ditto.”
I visited a couple of call centers in the metro and began to see an awkward pattern of hairy men. EWWW. I finally drew up the confidence to ask one of them if I was going crazy or not and he informed me that I wasn’t. THANK GOD
So, he told me that he was participating in No Shave November. He could not give me a clear explanation on the purpose of the tradition but all he could say was that it supported a good cause and he wanted to take part.
I decided to do my own research and come to find out this is HUGE. There are many suspected origins as to the original purpose but millions of people; even celebrities participate in No Shave November annually.
I am highly intrigued in the subject so I thought it would be cool to share what I have learned. First off there are ladies that also participate by not shaving their legs or armpits for the WHOLE month of November; personally I couldn’t imagine.
Some sites state that November happens to be the busiest month of the year, so the no shaving tradition came about pretty much giving them the okay to be lazy. Some sites state that it is a tradition in which men don’t shave in order to raise awareness for men’s prostate health.
This specific purpose is said to have started out as Movember which joins the two words mustache and November. One of the other purposes was said to have started from philosopher Plato, who believed that in order for a man to be educated properly, he must imitate those who are highly educated, which were bearded men at that time.
Either way, I find this to be amazing and even went and liked the page on fb. For more information, simply Google No Shave November. FYI there are actual charities attached to this tradition so participation is definitely encouraged because just like the man I spoke with, we all love to support good causes.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
It’s been 35 years since Tennessee passed the first-in-the-nation child safety seat law. Now all states, including Oklahoma, have them, to one degree or another.
A recent AAA survey showed that a majority of parents look to state law for guidance on how to restrain their children in a motor vehicle – but frankly, Oklahoma’s law needs work.
It says kids under six must be in a child passenger restraint system. And it says children ages six through 12 must be in a child passenger restraint or a seat belt.
Ah, there’s the rub. That part that says “or a seat belt.”
Kids ages six and seven are too small for the vehicle’s seat belt. In the event of a crash, the belt tends to do more harm than good. Children those ages are just too short.
The answer is booster seats for that age group, or any child weighing from about 40 to 80 pounds or more. But the law doesn’t specifically mention booster seats, so many parents don’t think to use them.
Child car seats are complicated and there are lots of do’s and don’ts. For the latest information, visit http://exchange.AAA.com/safety/child-safety.
What was supposed to have been an enjoyable ride on the rail between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth became anything but, and answers are needed.
“Heartland Flyer passengers endured nearly eight hours of delays Saturday night in a series of weather difficulties caused by heavy rain, a downed tree on the track and a lightning strike, which disabled one of the engines,” Business Writer Jennifer Palmer reported Tuesday on the front page of The Oklahoman.
The ride from Fort Worth began on time (5:25 p.m., Jennifer reported) but was 16 miles behind schedule when it reached its first stop in Gainesville, Texas. Amtrak, which operates the flyer, said that was due to heavy rain and flash flooding.
A little past Gene Autry, in southern Oklahoma, the train had to stop because there was a tree on the track. It was apparently at that stop that lightning struck the track or the locomotive, disabling it. This required freight locomotives to be summoned to remove the stricken power source.
The train was able to make its stop in Purcell nearly seven hours late. Passengers were warned at the next stop, in Norman, that there was a possibility of more delays. Several people took the opportunity to get off.
Those factors alone made this trip much less than pleasurable. But there was more. After the Flyer was able to move on, and just past Norman it shut down again.
It seems the crew had completed 12 hours, “the maximum time allowed, Amtrak said.” So “two miles from the station, crossing a live track on foot and navigating a ditch in the dark to find another way home, … ” the passengers were allowed to exit the train.
Eventually, a backup crew arrived to finish the journey. The train arrived in Oklahoma City at 5:34 a.m.
“We want people to know this wasn’t a satisfactory trip for us either,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Jennifer. “We’re looking at ways we could have handled this differently.”
Here’s a suggestion: look hard. Look very, very hard. This is where contingency plans should come into play.
Unexpected problems, such as weather or mechanical failures, can make things rough. Having an idea of how to handle them avoids an inconvenience to paying customers and an embarrassment. It can help you avoid what, in many circles, is known as a “public relations nightmare.”
How this incident affects future ridership will show how the public feels about it. Here’s hoping the Flyer can get back on track.
There was a day when you couldn’t get me to say the word “retire.” I had too much going to even give it a thought. From the time I shut off the alarm and got out of bed until the time I turned out the lights at night, my life was set on “go.”
Through the years, there have been a few changes. Actually, there have been many. Some days, it feels like my get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went, as they say. Other days, I”m still going strong. Or at least, I really want it to be that way.
I recently took a class on retirement, just to see how I stood and what I might out to do to prepare for that day when I would be able to leave the fulltime job and shift at least some of my efforts from things I HAVE TO do to things I WANT TO do. Well, at least that’s’ the intention.
It was during that class that I realized I’m certainly not at that point yet. In fact, I’m not certain when I will be there. But at least now I have an idea as to what it will take to get me there. I also know there are many things to consider before I can make it happen.
I have to look at such things as …
* Finance — Where will it come from and how much will we have? Will my retirement account and our investments sustain us?
* Health — Will we able to get around well enough to remain independent?
* Insurance — What can we afford and what will it cover? Health, home and vehicle insurance are only part of that picture.
* Home — Can we maintain our home? There are always areas that need attention, from cleaning to repairs.
* Transportation — What are our options? Will we still be able to drive ourselves, or will we need assistance?
* Activity — A key point for most any retiree. It’s not just keeping the body active. You need to keep the mind sharp as long as possible.
These were just some of the key concerns. There are many more. Each individual’s situation is different.
Take a look at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/RETIREMENT-OKLAHOMA to see areas a person looking ahead should be aware of before taking that plunge. Don’t forget also to look at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA for more ideas on what you can do to prepare.
These and other topics in our “know it” library might be just what you need.
Several public and non-profit organizations have come together in grassroots fashion to help educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving. The organization’s namesake is Drive Aware Oklahoma (DAO) and its mission paraphrased is to educate the public in lieu of legislation.
The organization’s first objective is to educate about texting while driving. Just because there are no specific laws in place does not make this the thing to do. It is the number one distracted driving cause of accidents.
To boost education the DAO group has adopted the Ad Council’s STOP THE TEXTS.STOP THE WRECKS campaign which you can find yourself at www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org
The DAO group has spoken to TV and radio stations in both OKC and Tulsa as well as Lamar billboard company to run the ad campaign the week before Halloween. The group is in hopes that awareness will be raised before kiddos are out Trick or Treating.
School Zones are a particularly vulnerable area as well for distracted drivers and a few campaigns already have pointed towards them with distracted driving education. Some states have at least “no phone zones” in school crossings but OK is not one of them.
Drivers should be careful and turn off their phones when they get in the car. That way they are not curious when that “sound” occurs meaning a new text is in. And to go a step further drivers should consider a recording on cellphones that tells callers they will not accept calls while driving. The recording can say that the call will be returned when the driver is in a safe place and no longer moving.
Keep it safe and Drive Aware Oklahoma!