Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween Safety

Every Halloween night, a chill fills the air as little ghouls and ghosts take to the streets for a night of Trick-or-Treating. Halloween is a time for frights and fun, but is also a time when parents and children should focus on safety.

Tips for a safe Halloween

Remember to follow these safety tips to help ensure you and your “Trick-or-Treaters” have a safe and enjoyable experience this year:

  • Wear bright clothing or reflective gear; Carry a flashlight if out after dark;
  • Know the route that your children will be taking if you aren’t going with them;
  • Younger children should go with adults: at least a 4:1 ratio is preferable;
  • If possible, give your kids a cell phone and check in with them at specified intervals;
  • Have an understood time for everyone to be home;
  • Explain the difference between a “trick” and “vandalism.” This is also another good opportunity to discuss peer pressure. More often than not, kids participate in acts that they know are wrong because a “friend” led the way.

Changes to the Maryland Driver's Handbook


From the MVA website:
Beginning October 2011, the knowledge test you must pass to get a non-commercial Class C learner’s permit will be based on information in the new Maryland Driver’s Manual. The new Manual includes basic knowledge on driver safety for new drivers, including: traffic laws of this State; highway signs regulating, warning & directing traffic; and safe driving practices.  The improved graphics, full-color design, and brief paragraphs provide an easy read of only 39 pages – packed with core driver safety facts.

I have updated the links (on the column to the right) to include the New Driver’s Handbook in English, Spanish and an audio version. Paper copies are available in MVA offices.

There is now one booklet instead of two. The yellow booklet that contains the information on who needs a driver’s license and who does not, which I have given out to be kept in the car, will probably not be available after September.

What to keep in the car for proof now?
I have obtained a copy of the Maryland Law regarding International Drivers. The information is copied directly from a booklet which all police officers have in their squad car. The idea is that it shows them where to look up the law and once they compare your paper to that section of their booklet, they should realize that au pairs are allowed to drive on their country license (for up to one year.) Sometimes, they will still choose to write you the ticket for not having a Maryland license. If that happens, don’t worry. You can go to court and the judge should drop the ticket, as long as you are in your first year and have a valid license from your home country in your possession.

I have uploaded this document on Google Docs. You may access it HERE and print a copy for each car the au pair drives.

October is Fire Prevention Month

FiremanOctober is Fire Prevention Month and the American Red Cross is encouraging people to take steps to lessen the risk of a fire in their home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are between 350,000 and 400,000 house fires in the United States every year. Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to families in this country, above floods and hurricanes.

That’s why the American Red Cross is encouraging people to remember two key fire safety steps: installing smoke alarms and developing a fire escape plan.

“The Red Cross responded to more than 62,960 home fires in fiscal year 2011,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Fires strike suddenly and spread quickly. It’s important to take simple steps now to protect the members of your household. During a fire, every second counts and being prepared can greatly reduce the effects of these devastating disasters.”

It is recommended that people check each smoke alarm in their home by pushing the test button at least once a month and replacing batteries every year, or as needed. Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes from every room in the home and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from the home. Practice the escape plan at least twice a year and revise as necessary. Families are encouraged to pay particular attention to developing and regularly practicing escape plans for children and older adults.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Keep matches and lighters away from and out of reach of children.
  • Don’t leave the kitchen, and don’t leave the home while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.

During Fire Prevention Month, visit for more steps people can take to lessen the chance of a fire in their home.