Texting And Driving: 4 Apps That Will Keep Your Teen Safe On The Road


Guest Blogger, Meghan Belnap
Without any doubt, texting while driving is dangerous. Distracted driving is a leading cause of auto accidents and texting is a dangerous distraction. Car accident attorneys in Toledo know all about the sticky problems texting while driving can cause on a person and their vehicle record going forth. Texting while driving is dangerous for anyone, but for teenagers who are dedicated to texting friends night and day under any circumstances, the danger is even higher. Fortunately, in our app-filled world, there are smartphone apps that can protect teenage drivers who want to text while driving in spite of the danger.

1. Textecution

Take a firm hand to teen’s texting while driving with this app. It locks the phone while the car is running. Parents can receive an alert if the app is disabled, such as in case of accident or if the car is parked. Parents are also told if the app is removed from the phone. The app can also be used to disable Internet access and email. For iPhone, Android, and Windows phone. This app is $29.99.

2. Sprint Drive First                      

Sprint Drive First is a free app with big benefits. This app prevents teenagers from texting while driving by blocking texts and email while a vehicle is traveling at more than 10 miles per hour. Even while texts and emails are blocked, GPS and music will continue to function. This prevents teens from getting distracted while the car is moving, and the app is free and offered by Sprint.

3. Drivesafe.ly Pro

This app allows someone to operate their cell phone in hands-free mode. With Drivesafe.ly Pro, a teenager can send and receive texts, as well as email, using just their voice. Even if this may still distract a teen driver to an extent, it is still far safer than having the teen use his or her hands for texting. The app is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry at a cost of $13.95 per year or $3.99 per month.

4. Drivescribe 

Drivescribe is like having a driving coach traveling with your teenager. This app watches over your teen’s driving and issues awards for safe driving, and points at the end of the trip. Teens who save the points can trade them in at Amazon and for gift cards. Best of all, this award winning app is free. The app is also available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

These are not the only apps designed for this purpose. Go to Google and search for “apps to stop teen texting while driving.” There are quite a few apps to fit the purpose, but these apps are proven effective and you can count on them. There is no need for a teenager to text while driving, even if they would insist that there is. Driving is dangerous enough all by itself even without texting. The texting-while-driving habit in teens can be broken and these apps can help to do that.

How to Help Kids Overcome Water Trauma

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Guest Blogger, Lizzy Bullock

In ten years of teaching swimming lessons, I’ve worked with students all across the fear spectrum. Though some students jump in the pool without hesitation, others cry at the thought of getting in the water and face episodes of anxiety when asked to perform new skills. This overwhelming dread creates a psychological barrier for kids learning to swim, but overcoming their fears is a necessary prerequisite to swimming lessons. A survey by the USA Swimming Foundation concluded that one of the most significant setbacks for children learning to swim is “fear of injury or drowning”. If your child panics at the thought of going to swim class, try these tips for working through their anxiety.

Why is My Kid So Scared?

A traumatic pool experience can be devastating for a child’s psyche. Falling in unexpectedly, being pushed or thrown in, or even hearing about the near-death experience of another person can cause emotional stress for a child. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) notes that post-traumatic stress can last months or years. As PTSD symptoms begin to emerge, your child will likely experience difficulty in learning to swim. Jeff Krieger, director of Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias (SOAP), quantifies the symptoms of aquaphobia as “[causing] increased heart rate, excessive sweating and dry mouth, trembling, nausea, fainting, severe headaches, [and] difficulty in breathing”. Beyond these, I’ve seen children sob to the point of throwing up, cling to me with their fingernails deeply entrenched in my arms, and even lose control of their bowels. There’s no shame in recognizing your child’s fears. It’s the first step to helping kids conquer anxiety and learn to swim successfully.

Talk About It

After a child experiences a traumatic event, AACAP recommends addressing the problem as soon as possible. Try to emphasize feelings of safety and support. Another tactic advocated by Krieger is to ask the child to talk, draw, or write about the situation. Ignoring the incident or avoiding conversation about it only serves to remind the child that it was a scary event that shouldn’t be relived.

I have had students who fell into the pool and had to be rescued. Though they all experienced some level of post-traumatic stress, kids who spoke openly about the experience with their parents seemed to have a better handle on their fears while those who lacked understanding of the event weren’t able to address their emotions as easily. Make a point of opening conversation about their experience and allow them to ask questions and express feelings about their trauma, rather than downplaying the experience or pretending like nothing ever happened.

Don’t Force It

A scared child is already facing enough emotional hardship. They don’t need to see, hear or feel your disappointment or frustration. They need you to remain steadily supportive and encouraging. When they push past a boundary or try a new skill during lessons, give them verbal praise, applaud for them and offer physical comfort when they get out. In my experience, children who receive positive reinforcement will strive harder, even if they’re scared. Children who feel like they are disappointing you will shut down and stop trying. Worse yet, if your child feels forced to participate in activities that scare them, their fears may deepen and trust in you may be questioned.

How Do I Know if Their Fear is Real?

When your child reacts to lessons with crying or screaming, try moving out of sight during their lesson. If they calm down and begin to work with the instructor, odds are they were crying to get their way. If their distress remains steady or increases, your child probably has a real fear of the water. Keep in mind there won’t be an immediate change of heart. Give your child at least 10 minutes alone with the instructor before your return to the deck. A conversation with your instructor will also help to determine if the fear is authentic or unfounded.

Remember, there is a difference between true fear of water and understanding the reality of water’s danger. It’s okay to talk to your kids about drowning. In fact, they’re better off knowing that it could happen. Students who know the consequences of getting into the pool without knowing how to swim are cautious, not terrified. But, children who suffer from a true phobia need steady support from Mom and Dad if you expect them to overcome their anxiety.

Author Bio: Lizzy Bullock is a Red Cross certified swimming instructor (WSI) with a decade of experience helping children overcome fear and swim independently. Lizzy currently works as a swimming instructor and staff writer for AquaGear, a swim school and online swim shop.

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How to pack a children’s emergency go bag

If you take care of kids, than you already know that at some point in their lives you will more than likely end up in the emergency department. It is bound to happen. Kids are more prone to injury and accidents and they can become very sick when your pediatrician’s office is closed.

So what can we do as parents and caregivers to be ready for this?


Pack a Go Bag

The bag should have stuff that would help make the experience at the emergency department a little less stressful. This is a bag that can be left in your car or in a closet at home.

Items for the Go Bag:

  • Extra Clothes for Baby/Child- Sweats, pajamas, socks, underwear, diapers (anything that will be comfy).
  • Extra Clothes for Parents- T-Shirt or Sweats (Having a shirt full of blood or vomit isn’t too comfortable).
  • Blanket, stuffed animal, pacifier- something that is soft to cuddle up with or to help self soothe
  • Current Medical Record- Your pediatrician can print out your child’s vaccinations, height/weight, allergies and current medications.
  • Current Insurance Information
  • Extra cell phone charger
  • Note pad and pen- great to write down questions, concerns and information from the medical team.
  • Snacks-crackers, granola bars, juice box, baby food (anything that will help fill some empty tummies during a long wait)
  • Single dollar bills or quarters for vending machines
  • Coloring book, crayons and stickers
  • Look and Find Book or I-Spy Book
  • Reading Books
  • Baby Toys- teething toys, soft plush toys, small toys that light up or make noise
  • Bubbles
  • Deck of cards
  • Small rubber ball or squishy toy that kids can squeeze (this can help during an IV insertion or blood draw)
  • Small action figures, cars, dolls- just small enough to pack up

Emergency Go Bag

It doesn’t take long to pack a Go Bag and trust me you will be thanking yourself for doing it.

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