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Staying Safe - Halloween

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Make your Halloween festivities fun, safe, and healthy for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

 

Move that body.

Don't be a stiff. Get at least 2½ hours of moderate physical activity a week. Ten minutes at a time is fine. Kids should get 60 minutes each day.

 

Treat yourself to fruits and veggies.

Be sure to watch your portions—especially on Halloween. Also, think fruits and veggies. They make a great healthy snack to serve for Halloween parties. Check out How to Eat Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight for tips, recipes, and more.

 

Say "boo" to the flu.

It's Halloween and the flu season is here! Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season.

 

Wash your hands, please.

There's no trick to keeping your hands clean to help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. If that's not possible, use alcohol-based hand rubs.

 

Keep your fangs healthy.

Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Floss every day. Don't go batty for sugary treats.

 

Sleep tight.

Sweet dreams! Sufficient sleep should be thought of as a "vital sign" of good health. That means 7 to 9 hours daily for adults.

 

Become a smoke-free creature of habit.

Smoking is very harmful to the body. Quitting is a treat for you and your loved ones, too. Make your Halloween activities smoke- and tobacco-free events.

 

Be prepared for chiiiiilly weather.

Be sure to dress warmly on Halloween and throughout fall and winter. Know other good tricks to stay healthy in cold weather. For instance, don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.

 

Get smart about antibiotics.

Don't be haunted by the wrong treatment! Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, most sore throats and bronchitis, and some ear infections. Unneeded antibiotics may lead to future antibiotic-resistant infections. Symptom relief might be the best treatment option. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you and your family.

 

Prevent injuries.

Consider a nonfood treat for your loved ones this Halloween: a fun coloring book. Color Me Safe! from CDC tells the rhyming story of the "Safe Family," who take steps to protect themselves from injury at home, on the road, and at play.

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Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their entirety for any print or broadcast story, with acknowledgment of source.

 
ALL DRESSED UP:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

CARVING A NICHE:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

HOME SAFE HOME:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters.
  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  •  Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

 HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

 ©2013 American Academy of Pediatrics

 

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Additional LInks

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Pumpkin Carving Precautions

  • Don't let kids use knives. Have them draw their designs on the pumpkin with a black marker — then you or an older sibling can do the carving.
  • Keep kids at a safe distance while you're carving the pumpkin so that they don't distract you or get in the way of sharp objects.
  • Remove pumpkin guts safely. If your children beg to remove the guts of the pumpkin — as many kids do — don't hand over a knife to do it. Instead, let your little ones get messy by scooping out pumpkin flesh with their hands or an ice cream scoop.
  • Clean up the mess. Pumpkin flesh is slippery and can cause falls and injuries when dropped on the floor. Layer newspaper or old cloths under your carving workspace and clean up spills right away so no one slips or trips.
  • Skip the candles, which may cause fires. A burning candle in a pumpkin may become a blazing fire if left unattended. Instead, use a glow stick (available in many colors) or flameless candle to safely illuminate your jack-o'-lantern.
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Gobbling Down Halloween Goodies

  • Offer a filling meal before your kids head out to trick-or-treat so they won't scarf down too much of their haul.
  • Consider purchasing Halloween treats other than candy. Stickers, erasers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, and sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits are good choices.
  • Know how much candy your kids have collected and store it somewhere other than their bedrooms. Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled. Let kids have one or two treats a day instead of leaving candy out in big bags or bowls for kids to sample at will. Consider giving some of the treats away.
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Halloween Safety Tips for Your Cats and Dogs

Halloween is a fun holiday for kids and adults. Unfortunately, it’s not the best time of year for cats and dogs. Here are five tips to keep your pets safe.

1. No Sweets for Your Sweetie

Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to lack of coordination and seizures. Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate, can also be potentially poisonous to animals, especially dogs. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures. If  your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult with your veterinarian immediately.

 2. Watch Out for Those Wrappers

Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.

 3. Careful with Costumes

If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his movement, hearing, sight, or ability to breathe, bark, or drink. Also check the costume for choking hazards. A smart alternative to dressing your pet from head-to-paw is a simple festive Halloween bandana.

4. Decorations Can Be Dangerous

Re-think putting candles in jack-o-lanterns. Pets can easily knock these over and start a fire, and curious kittens are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Also take care to prevent your pets from having access to wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth with shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.

5. Trick-or-Treating is for Kids, not Pets

During trick-or-treating hours, it’s best to keep pets in a room away from your front door. Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of your home. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags.

Halloween Pet Treats

Your pets don’t have to be left out of the fun.  You can make delicious Halloween treats that they’ll enjoy. Pounce on over here for easy-to-make treats for your cats, dogs, and horses. And have a safe and fun Halloween.

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