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Apps For Halloween Safety

trick-or-treat-treater-kids-flashlights-halloweenThe sun sets earlier, the air is colder, and in a few days, we'll send our kids out to walk the streets and ask strangers for candy. When it seems the odds for a safe and enjoyable outing are stacked against you, there are a few precautions you can take to help your family have a pleasant Halloween this fall.


Beyond the ever-important and popular strategies of wearing reflective clothing, carrying a flashlight, and planning a route in a familiar neighborhood, there are some smartphone apps you can use when heading out this week.


You'll need a weather app for the unexpected storm or weather emergency that may rain on your parade. NOAA Hi-Def Radar by WeatherSphere costs only $1.99 but offers plenty of helpful information. You can monitor lightning strikes, wildfires, and other storm systems and set the app to warn you of any weather-related alerts in your area.


INRIX Traffic Maps, Routes, & Alertsby INRIX, Inc, will keep you up-to-date on traffic accidents, construction, and road closures in major cities in the US. This free app also gives you access to traffic cameras in the area so you can view real-time traffic conditions.


In addition to avoiding storms and construction areas in your neighborhood, you may need to avoid some neighbors themselves. The Life 360 Sex Offender Search app, which is free, allows you to find registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. The app provides a picture of the offender, a current address, and the charges of which the offender was convicted. Many parents stay on top of this information year-round but it's especially important to know who's door your child is knocking on at Halloween.


The appbSafe by Bipper USA, Inc., which is free but can be upgraded for $1.99 a month, allows you to store emergency contacts so you can send a message at the touch of an SOS button. You can create an alarm to alert your contacts with your location via GPS tracker if you haven't checked in with them at a pre-determined time. You can also trigger a fake call to your phone, which may allow you to excuse yourself from an uncomfortable situation.


Every parent fears losing her child, especially in a dark and crowded neighborhood. Before you head out, download the FBI Child ID by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for free and store important information, such as your child's height, weight, hair and eye color, birthday, and recent pictures. In the event your child goes missing, you can quickly email this information to authorities through the app. You can also call 911 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at the touch of a button. One of the most important features of the app is the checklist containing first steps to take if your child goes missing. Parents may understandably panic in the moment, but the first few minutes after a child goes missing are the most critical and having a step-by-step list of what to do will give parents and emergency responders the best chance of finding the child.


For the unexpected medical emergency, the Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association app made by Jive Media, LLC, costs $1.99 and has a number of potentially life-saving features. You can quickly find videos, images, and instructions for common first aid treatments, including CPR, and create medical profiles for all members of your family, including information on insurance, physicians' names and phone numbers, and current medication.


Technology has changed the way we educate our children, share and receive information, and now, protect our families. Downloading some free or inexpensive apps for your smartphone is a quick and easy way to prepare yourself for almost any situation.


cerbasiJennifer is an educational consultant who works with families and educators to establish healthy and productive routines in the home and school. Adapting behavior management techniques she implemented for years as a special educator, she helps parents and teachers adopt these tools to fit their unique needs and priorities. In addition to her one-on-one consulting work, Jennifer speaks to parent and education groups on current topics in education and children's health. For more information, go to



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