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Can You Leave Your Child Home Alone?

Can You Leave Your Child Home Alone?

Can You Leave Your Child Home Alone?

Summer is here, and for a lot of parents, it means there children are home for the summer. While kids love this time of year, it can be particularly stressful on the parents. This is due to the fact that, unfortunately for adults, they don’t get a summer break. Adults still have to go to work to earn enough money to provide for their families.

The decision to leave kids alone is a big one. It is not something that should be done lightly. Some kids can handle the freedom and responsibility of being home alone, while others cannot. It is up to the parent to determine if their child can handle being on their own for extended periods of time.

The parents will constantly be worried that something might go wrong. What if there is a fire? They can’t help out or protect their kid when they are at work. That is why it is important to teach kids about fire safety and establish rules and emergency plans for the kid to follow in the event that something happens.

How Young Is Too Young?

When determining how young is too young for a child to be left alone, there is no definitive answer. It has to be determined on a case by case basis. Some kids mature faster than others, which leads to some being ready to be left alone earlier. In some states, there are age limits for how old a child needs to be in order to be left alone. In the state of California, there is no age restriction. Parents will have to use their best judgement to determine if a child is mature enough to be left alone.

While there isn’t a definitive answer, there are some recommended guidelines. Typically, children under the age are not capable of judging cause and effect, which can lead to bad decision making. It is recommended that no child under the age of 7 be left alone.

For ages 7 through 10, kids typically can’t watch over themselves for extended periods of time. However, they can be left home alone for short periods of time. Around the age of 12 is when kids usually become mature enough to be left alone for extended periods, though not overnight.

Teach Your Kids

If you have to leave a child home alone, make sure that he or she understands several things. Parents should create rules and make sure the kids understand the consequences of breaking those rules.

For instance:

  • Young children should not answer the door when they are home alone.
  • Kids shouldn’t answer the phone when alone.
  • Children should stay within the house when they are by themselves.
  • Children should never use the oven by themselves.
  • Especially for young kids, they should not use sharp knives or scissors without adult supervision.
  • Kids should know to never play with matches.
  • They also should never mess around with electronics, such as taking apart a wall socket.

On top of that, it is important to teach the child about what to do if something goes wrong when they are by themselves.

  • They should know where the first aid kit is.
  • They need to know who to call if something bad happens, such as a parent, a trusted neighbor, or even the authorities.
  • Lastly, there should be an evacuation plan in place for the children in the event that there is a fire.
  • Kids should know to stay low to the ground in the event of a fire to avoid excess smoke inhalation.
  • They should know to get under a sturdy piece of furniture in the event of an earthquake or other severe emergencies.

Giving children this knowledge should help keep them safe when they are by themselves. It will also help keep them safe in case an emergency occurs.

What Happens if Something Goes Wrong

Hopefully, nothing ever goes wrong, but that is not always the case. If something goes wrong, the parent will be responsible for the child and any damages. This is on top of any injuries the child might have sustained. This is every parent’s worst nightmare, which is why it is important to carefully consider whether or not a child should be left alone. The wrong decision could have extreme consequences.

Of course, this is all dependent on the child. Some kids mature faster than others and are capable of being left alone at an earlier age. A parent needs to know their child, and teach him or her how to properly behave when home alone.

This can drastically reduce the chances of something going wrong while the parent is away at work this summer.

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Are You Aware of These New CA Driving Laws?

Are You Aware of These New CA Driving Laws?

Are You Aware of These New CA Driving Laws?

All Californians know that the state has some pretty strict driving laws. What many may not be aware of is the fact that some new driving laws just went into effect July 1st. These new laws seek to keep up with the ever changing modern world and help keep everyone on the road safe. That is something that everybody wants, because even though the law may not directly affect you, it can affect the other drivers around you, which can be beneficial.

First, there is SB 20, which is a law that applies to buses. This law basically states that anyone riding on a bus that has seat belts has to use the seatbelts. It is no longer optional. Furthermore, anyone between the ages of 8 and 16 must wear a seatbelt while riding on a bus. Anyone who breaks this law will face a fine. While this may be a bit bothersome to regular bus riders, it is a better alternative than getting flung around within the vehicle in an accident.

Next is AB 2657, which is directed at the drivers of vehicles transporting paying passengers. This includes Lyft and Uber drivers. This laws makes it illegal for a driver of a for hire vehicle to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04%, which is higher than the normal average for normal drivers, who are allowed a BAC of .08%. Punishment for breaking this law will result in a suspension of the person’s driver’s license, and a disqualification of the person’s ability to get a commercial driver’s license.

Both of these new driving laws are aimed at keeping people safe, whether they are the passengers on a bus, or within an Uber or Lyft.

Furthermore, by reducing the permitted BAC of vehicle for hire drivers, these laws should help keep the roads that much safer.

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Is Leaving Parking Tickets Unpaid a Good Idea?

Is Leaving Parking Tickets Unpaid a Good Idea?

Is Leaving Parking Tickets Unpaid a Good Idea?

Tickets are never fun to deal with. Nobody wants to get them, because not only does it mean we did something wrong, it means we are going to have to pay a fine. Nowadays, fines are pretty expensive. Here in California, the average cost of parking ticket is anywhere from $40 to $60. The price of the fine depends on the severity of the infraction.

Luckily, the majority of traffic violations are only infraction level offenses. This means that the worst a person can face is a small fine. A person rarely receives any jail time for an infraction. However, knowing this doesn’t make getting an infraction any easier. It can still bruise our ego, and hurt our wallets.

This is why some people will sometimes choose not to pay for a parking ticket, which is never a good idea. Leaving parking tickets unpaid can lead to increased fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even a warrant being issued for your arrest. With today’s modern technology, it is pretty easy for the holders of unpaid parking tickets to be found. However, that was not always the case.

Recently, the police department in the town of Minersville, Pennsylvania received an unexpected surprise. They received a letter containing a note and a $5 bill. The return address on the envelope was labeled: Feeling Guilty, Wayward Road, Anytown, CA. Inside the note claimed that the person had been carrying around a parking for over 40 years and felt guilty about never paying for it. The ticket was from 1974, and had a fine of $2. The person added $3 of interest to the fine.

At the time the ticket was issued, the police department didn’t have the technology to track down a vehicle that had out of state plates.

Things have changed since then, making it a very bad idea to leave a parking ticket, or any ticket for that matter, left unpaid. If you do, you can count there being more than just $3 of interest.

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Keeping Kids Safe in Water

Keeping Kids Safe in Water

Keeping Kids Safe in Water

Summer is here, and that means families are looking for the best ways to keep cool during the hottest of days. One of the favorite pastimes is going swimming, whether it is in a pool, river, or lake. Swimming is a great way to beat the heat, however not everyone is always up to the task. Young kids in particular can be at serious risk of drowning in large amounts of water.

When taking kids to bodies of water, it is important for parents to keep a close eye on their kids. Failing to do so risks their safety, which is something that nobody wants. All children should be actively supervised when near bodies of water. Infants and toddlers should always be within an arm’s reach from an adult. It only takes a few minutes for something bad to happen. It is also important to not rely on pool toys such as noodles and water wings to keep a child safe as they are not true safety devices.

Teaching kids to swim is a big and important step. If a kid knows how to tread water, they are that much safer. However, figuring out when to teach a child how to swim is dependent on the child and parent. Only start teaching a child to swim when they are ready, and don’t stop at just swimming. Teach your child how to float and to stay close to the shore in open water. Also teach them that swimming in open water is very different than swimming in a pool.

If you have a pool in your own backyard, be sure that you take the proper precautions. Backyard pools should have a four foot fence around them and a self-closing, self-latching gate. This should help keep kids from accessing the pool while unsupervised. Also consider putting some sort of alarm on the gate that could alert you to someone accessing the pool.

Swimming is a great way to beat the heat during the peak of summer. However it can be dangerous for little kids if they are not properly supervised.

If you plan on taking your family swimming this summer, be sure to keep a watchful eye on your younger kids. Doing so will help ensure that your summer stays happy and fun.

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Legalization of Marijuana across the Country

Legal Marijuana across the Country

Legal Marijuana across the Country

The country is currently witnessing a change of tides. From changing political leaders to new laws, this country is ever growing. The latest new law that seems to have caught everyone’s attention is the legalization of marijuana. For those who are a bit out dated, marijuana is a plant that could be smoked, eaten, or applied as a lotion/oil. Marijuana has two main parts to it that are at the center of this heated discussion: THC and CBD. Though studies are yet to come out in regards to wheather or not it does have serious medical benefits, some stories of the drug’s success with seizures, migraines, tremors and more have surfaced over the years. With each success story that appears, it seems America’s curiosity of the drug thicken.

The federal government may not have legalized it, but that hasn’t stopped the states. Currently there are 30 states and the District of Colombia that have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. However, out of those 30 states, only 8 of them have adopted legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The current states that allow recreational use are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Colombia
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

The current states that allow medical marijuana are as follow:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

The U.S. maybe feeling the pressure to legalize it nationally, between the states allowing it and now Canada, it’s only a matter of time. Canada beat us to the punch by legalizing the use of marijuana nationwide. Even President Trump said recently on his G-7 Summit in Canada that he would “probably” support a measure designed to legalize marijuana nationwide.

One of the main problems with legalizing marijuana nationally is the bill not being written properly. There almost always tends to be a downside to any. The current marijuana bill proposal would not eliminate marijuana from the DEA’s Controlled Substance Act, which would leave the plant on the list of drugs that you could be criminally charged with.

Whatever your personal opinion on the matter, don’t forget to do research. Be an informed voter if the bill is ever on a ballot. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon because of someone else’s beliefs. Being able to do your own research is part of the reason why the U.S. is so great.

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Earth, Wind, and Fire

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Earth, Wind, and Fire

It’s officially summer. For many, this means it’s the start to family vacations, long days spent at the pool, and as much ice cream as your heart desires. However, for those living in Southern California, the start of summer also means the start of wildfire season. In order to help ensure your family is prepared, we are bringing you a two-part series dedicated to helping you fight the wildfire season.

As you may know, most of Earth’s natural disasters are considered a force of nature and many of them, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, can be predicted. However, since wildfires are typically caused by human acts, they cannot be predicted. That’s why it is up to you to help prevent wildfires. The first blog in our two-part series will cover just that, how to prevent wildfires.

There are several steps you can take to prevent wildfires, but in an effort to help you save time, we sifted through countless sources and picked out the top 10 steps you can take to prevent wildfires this summer.

  1. If you see an unattended fire or campfire, dial 911 or contact your local fire department or the park service immediately.
  2. Do not leave a fire unattended. Before you leave, cover the fire with water and stir the ashes until they are cold.
  3. Do not throw out cigarettes, matches, or any other smoking material from your car.
  4. If you need to burn backyard waste, keep a shovel and water nearby in case the surrounding grass catches on fire.
  5. Never start a controlled burn when windy conditions are present.
  6. Shooting fireworks? Be sure you use a water hose to wet down the grass in the surrounding area.
  7. Once you have used the fireworks, place them in a bucket of water to ensure they are extinguished.
  8. Do not allow children to use any type of firework, including poppers or sparklers unattended.
  9. Do not park unused cars and machinery on top of the dry grass.
  10. Ensure lids and caps are securely fastened on gasoline, oil, and other combustible material containers.

Only YOU can prevent wildfires” is a slogan most commonly used by Smokey Bear. This very simple, but very true phrase, is one of the most important things to remember during the wildfire season.

It is important that each one of us do our part to limit property damage and keep our land intact by eliminating wildfires. Be sure to check back next week where we will discuss what to do during a wildfire.

Sources: Items 1 – 4, courtesy of National Geographic. Items 5 – 10 courtesy of the Red Cross.

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Can They Really Tax Soda?

Can They Really Tax Soda?

Can They Really Tax Soda?

In recent years, cities across the country have begun to add an additional tax on sodas and other sugary drinks in an effort to reduce their sales. The hope with these taxes is that it will discourage people from buying the drink, and therefore help lower peoples risk of obesity and diabetes. Naturally, this is a very touchy subject for many people who dislike it when the government adds additional taxes onto things.

This all began back in 2014 when Berkeley, California became the first city in the US to put a tax on sugary drinks. The tax was 1 cent for every ounce of the drink. Since then, other cities have followed suite across the nation, which has the soda industry concerned. In fact, within California, the beverage industry is currently working on creating an initiative for the November ballot that would prevent cities from enacting taxes like this.

In order to prevent that, California lawmakers are currently working on bill AB 1838. This bill would prevent any local government from putting taxes on sugary drinks until 2031. The bill passed through the senate, and went on to be approved by Governor Jerry Brown, who signed it into law.

This means that local city governments will not be able to add taxes to sugary drinks for several years. On one hand, this means we won’t have to pay more for a soda at the store.

On the other hand, it means local city governments will not be able to use this as an additional source of income. At least Californians will not have to worry about any new soda taxes for a very long time.

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Having Trouble With Nosy Neighbors?

Having Trouble With Nosy Neighbors?

Having Trouble With Nosy Neighbors?

Everybody likes their family and friends. These are the people that the person has hand selected to be in their life. These are the people we like most, however, they are not typically the people one lives closest to. Those people are called neighbors, and no one gets to pick who their neighbors are. This tends to lead to a bit of conflict.

Neighbors don’t always get along with one another, since they tend to be very different people. Due to those differences, some neighbors may become suspicious of one another, which can lead to snooping. Seeing your neighbor snoop through your garbage, or spy on you from their window across the street can be a bit disturbing.

Many people have questions about what is and isn’t okay when it comes to their neighbors. Where is the line between snooping, and stalking?

What Is Considered Stalking

California is considered to have the toughest stalking laws in the country. A person is considered stalking when they willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harass a person while causing fear for life or family.

Examples of stalking can include:

  • Threatening to make an ex’s life hell after a break up.
  • Repeatedly following a person home and making threats to him or her.
  • Sending multiple flowers and/or gifts to an acquaintance and demanding that the love be returned and threatening that there will be consequences if it isn’t.
  • Continually harassing a person to the point that he or she fears for their safety, or that of their loved ones

Basically, any repeated threatening act that can cause a person to fear for their own safety, or the safety of the people they care about, can be considered stalking within the state of California. The penalties for stalking can vary from case to case. The crime is considered a wobbler, which means it can be charged either as a misdemeanor, or as a felony.

As a misdemeanor, a person can face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A fine no larger than $1,000.
  • Some combination of a fine and jail time.

These penalties are not very strict, but as a felony, a person can face up to 5 years in a state prison. The person could also be required to register as a sex offender.

Based on this definition of stalking, unless a person fears for their safety based off of a nosy neighbors actions, it’s not likely that the neighbor is guilty of stalking.

Are There Laws Against Spying?

Here in California, there are two laws that are considered “Peeping Tom laws.” These laws make it illegal for a person to spy on, or take pictures or videos of, another individual who is someplace where they could reasonably expect privacy.

These two laws are:

  • Penal Code 647(i): peeking while loitering.
  • Penal Code 647(j): invasion of privacy.

Penal Code 647(i) is the law that criminalizes the stereotypical Peeping Tom scenario. This makes it illegal for a person to peek into an inhabited house while loitering on private property. In other words, it makes it illegal to sneak onto somebody else’s property without permission to watch them in their home.

Penal Code 647(j) covers three different aspects of invading someone’s privacy.

These aspects are:

  • Using a device, such as binoculars, to invade a person’s privacy. This can include using a device to look into someone else’s home.
  • Secretly filming or photographing a person’s body under their clothes for sexual purposes.
  • Secretly filming or photographing a person in a private room in order to view their body or undergarments. This can include their home, public restrooms, and public changing rooms at stores.

Both of these crimes are considered misdemeanors in California, which means that a person can face up to a year in jail, and fine no larger than $1,000.
What about Neighbors Rummaging Through My Trash?
This is something that some neighbors do, and upsets a lot of people. Many believe that this is an infringement on their 4th Amendment rights, which protects them from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, this is not the case.

In the Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood, 486 U.S. 35(1988), the Court ruled that the 4th Amendment does not cover the search and seizure of garbage, as it is just that. By placing something in the trash and setting the trash out on a curb, or wherever the trash can goes to get picked up, the person has relinquished their ownership of the items within the trash receptacle.

Plus, the 4th Amendment only protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures performed by the government, not private individuals. This all means that it is okay for a nosy neighbor to go through another person’s garbage, even if it is a bit creepy.

When should I Contact the Police Then?

When it comes to contacting the police about nosy neighbors, the right time is up to the individual. In most cases, the police will only concern themselves with the problem if a person feels unsafe because of the neighbor’s actions. The best thing to do in these kind of situations, is try talking to the neighbor first, if that can be done safely.

If that cannot be done, then consider contacting the police, but do so in a calm way. Don’t call 911, unless it is an actual emergency. Instead find the local stations number contact it that way. This way emergency lines are not tied up, and the person may be able to get helpful insight from an officer who is more acquainted with the laws of the area.

A person rarely gets to pick their neighbors, which can lead to conflict. However, it is important for an individual to try to remain on friendly terms with their neighbors. After all, these are the people they will likely be living next to for a while.

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How Hot Is Too Hot?

How Hot Is Too Hot?

How Hot Is Too Hot?

With the summer heat in full swing once again, it is important for everyone to do their best to stay cool this season. While looking out for ourselves in this sort of weather is one thing, we can’t forget about the lives that are in our care. Children and pets cannot take care of themselves the way adults can.

Young children can’t be expected to take care of themselves. They don’t know the warning signs of when a place is too hot, nor do they have the ability to deal with the heat. Due to these facts, a child should never be left unattended in a car when temperatures approach 70 degrees. If they are left alone in a car in warm conditions, they could face serious bodily harm or worse.

Even at a comfortable temperature like 75 degrees, the inside of a car can become unbearable. The interior of a car can drastically increase in temperature when exposed to the harsh summer sun. The insides can reach up to 118 degrees at this low of a temperature, and can reach up to 145 degrees if the outside is at 94 degrees.

Even if you were just planning on running into the store for just a moment, the interior of the car will begin to bake the moment you shut off the air conditioning. Leaving the windows open just a crack is not enough to cool off the car. The metal body of the vehicle absorbs heat while the glass windows magnify it. All of that warmth gets trapped inside the vehicle making it unsafe for anyone, child or pet, to be stuck inside.

At this time of the year, it is best to leave pets at home where the climate is more controlled, and to bring kids into the store with you. While this may be inconvenient, this can help save their lives.

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What Are Your Kids Doing This Summer?

What Are Your Kids Doing This Summer?

What Are Your Kids Doing This Summer?

Summer is here and schools have let out for the year. Children are excited as they get to experience a bit of freedom for the next few months. However, parents might be approaching the break with a bit of apprehension. How are they supposed to keep their children entertained for the next few months while maintaining a proper work schedule?

Juggling kids and a job is not an easy task, but it can be done. Some parents may have kids who are old enough to take care of themselves during the work day. While this is nice, don’t forget to keep in touch with them. They still need an adult’s guidance from time to time.

In today’s modern world, it is easier than ever for kids to get ahold of material that may not be appropriate for younger audiences. It is very important for parents to monitor what their children are doing when they are online. Doing so can keep them from finding inappropriate content and ensure that they are behaving themselves online.

Aside from the online world, there is still the physical world to worry about this summer.

Some tips for ensuring your child’s safety this summer include:

  • Establishing a trusted network with other adults, such as neighbors and parents of your child’s friends. This can help keep you informed should anything come up, and give you someone you can rely on for help.
  • Getting to know your kid’s friends. By doing this, you will be able to see what kind of influence these friends might be having on your child.
  • Keeping snacks at home. This one is simple, but effective. By keeping plenty of snacks at home, you ensure that your child will regularly return to the house in order to find something to munch on.
  • Talking with your kids. You should set aside some time every day to talk with your child. This will help keep you in the loop and build a relationship with the child.

Summer break is finally here, and you can bet that your kids are excited. Your kid may be old enough to be on his or her own, but that doesn’t mean they are safe.

Make sure that you keep in touch with them throughout the entire summer to ensure their safety and wellbeing.