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How to Keep Your Kids Safe in the Pool This Summer

As we approach the hot summer months, there’s no better way to beat the heat than to go for a swim. But before you go, we’re bringing you tips on how to keep your kids safe in the pool this summer.

According to the CDC, about one in five drowning deaths are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five are treated at the emergency room for submersion injuries.

To keep kids safe, be sure to follow these pool safety tips:

  1. Always supervise your children when they are in the pool. There should be an adult watching children in the pool at all times, no exceptions. Drowning can happen in a matter of moments, so don’t turn your back or run in the house to grab something.
  2. Teach children how to swim. Make sure your kids feel comfortable in the water by teaching them how to swim. Many community swimming pools offer lessons by trained professionals.
  3. Learn CPR. If an incident is to occur, you should be prepared to administer CPR. When waiting for the paramedics to arrive, CPR could mean the difference between life and death. Register for a CPR class in your area from the American Red Cross.
  4. Keep your pool safe. If you have a pool in your backyard, be sure that it’s up to date on safety regulations:
    • All pools should have a fence around the perimeter to prevent access from unsupervised children (and self-latching gates will further help keep the pool only in reach of adults)
    • The CDC recommend installing VGB-Compliant Drain Covers, so a child cannot become trapped underwater
    • Make sure drain covers are not broken or faulty
    • Have your pool inspected by a trained inspector to ensure that it is has all the proper safety measures to keep your children safe

5. Learn the signs of ‘secondary drowning.’  This is the term given when someone breathes in small amounts of water during a struggle,  triggering airway muscles to spasm and making breathing difficult even after they’re out of the water.

Ensure that your children have a fun summer in the sun by keeping the pool a safe place to be. To learn more about pool safety, visit www.poolsafely.gov.

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Tis the Season for New Jersey Farmers Markets

We all love to boast about the best things New Jersey has to offer, so let’s not forget about the produce at New Jersey farmers markets. We’ve uncovered some farmers markets that are open on weekends, so you won’t miss any of them due to your busy work week.

Northern New Jersey

The Sussex County Farmers Market at the Fairgrounds in Augusta offers plenty of delights. In addition to fresh produce, the market has flowers, cheeses, honey, meats, alpaca products, baked goods and salsa. Open Saturdays from 9am – 2pm from June through November.

Central New Jersey

If you’re in Central Jersey, check out the Galleria Red Bank Farmers Market in Red Bank. Located in the heart of the Antique District, you’ll be able to find fresh, locally grown produce every Sunday from 9am – 2pm through mid-November. They also feature unique crafts and eateries for you to enjoy.

For a bit of a wider cuisine variety, check out the Montgomery Friends of Open Spaces Farmers Market at the Village Shopper Parking Lot in Skillman. On Saturdays beginning June 4 from 9am – 1pm, you can get fruits and vegetables along with grass-fed beef and pork, natural chicken, pies, breads and more! The volunteer organization that hosts the market emphasizes natural and green products, so you’ll be sure to get the best.

Southern New Jersey

The Haddonfield Farmers Market offers entertainment master gardeners, cook-offs and more! Located at Kings Court In the center of Historic Haddonfield, this market is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 8:30am – 1pm through October 28.

What is your favorite local farmers market?

Spatula on the Barbecue Charcoal Fire Grill with Black Background

5 Summer Barbecue Safety Tips

Memorial Day Weekend is nearly here, and that means it’s time for barbecues! Having a barbecue is a great way to spend time with family and friends while enjoying great food. However, it’s important to keep in mind that grilling – especially with a gas grill – can be dangerous if you’re not careful.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling each year – and May is the second highest month of incidence, after July. The leading causes? A failure to clean, having the grill too close to flammable items and leaving the grill unattended.

Be sure to keep these five summer barbecue safety tips in mind:

1. Whether you have a propane or charcoal grill, clean it before every use to prevent grease and fat from building up from the grills and in the trays below.

2. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill.

3. Never leave the grill unattended while cooking. If you need to go into the house, turn the grill off until you return.

4. Keep dishtowels and food packaging away from the grill. They could easily ignite and start a fire. Similarly, the grill should be placed well away from your house and deck railings and not be directly under eaves or overhanging branches.

5. Only use barbecue grills outdoors.

Click for more grilling safety tips before you break out the tongs! Then enjoy some great, safe summer barbecues.

Prom Safety: Follow the PROM Checklist

Prom season is a very exciting time for teens. However, it can also be a dangerous time if safety precautions are not taken. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that roughly one-third of teen traffic fatalities involving alcohol occur from April to June – also known as peak prom season.

With that in mind, we’re sharing this PROM safety checklist, which can help safeguard students against underage drinking, especially during prom season:

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Prepare Teens and Students: Parents and teachers can play a pivotal role in talking to teens about the potential dangers and consequences that can result from underage drinking or driving while intoxicated.

Require Chaperones: Designate teachers or parents to be present before, during and after the prom. They will be able to supervise the activity and make sure celebrations are responsible and alcohol-free.

Organize an After Party: Plan (or provide) a safe, adult-supervised after-prom event to discourage teens from seeking their own potentially unsafe party gathering.

Make Your Teen Check In: Before your teen leaves for the night, ask him or her to text you once they’ve arrived safely at the prom and again at the post-prom event. Be sure to remind your teen that you’re only a phone call away if he or she needs a ride, to prevent them from getting in the car with someone who might’ve been drinking.

By following these four steps, you can help to make prom night as fun and safe as possible.

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Distracted Driving: Be the Solution, Not Part of the Problem!

Distracted driving is an epidemic throughout the United States. Distractions include talking and texting on a cell phone, applying makeup, and eating. These distractions take the driver’s focus away from the primary act of driving. Cell phone use – both talking and texting – is one of the biggest distractions to drivers on the road and is costing thousands of lives. In 2012, more than 3,300 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and approximately 421,000 people were injured in distraction-related crashes.

Talking and texting on a cell phone while driving is illegal in New Jersey. If a police officer sees you engaging in these activities, you can be pulled over and fined $200-$400 for your first offense. If it’s not your first time, the fine goes up: the second offense is between $400-$600 and a third offense is between $600-$800.

No text or call is worth having to pay hundreds of dollars. Even more importantly, no text or call is worth losing – or taking – a life.

Ending distracted driving once and for all may seem like a big undertaking. But what if we told you that YOU can be a part of the solution to the problem?

So, what can I do to end distracted driving?

    1. Vow never to text or talk while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at any given time there are 660,000 drivers manipulating an electronic device. By putting down the phone, there will be one fewer person on the road putting others in danger
    2. Set a good example. After being shuttled around by their parents for the last 16-17 years, teenagers are ready to have the freedom that comes with driving. Before you hand over the keys, make sure that you, as a parent, are setting a good driving example. If you use your cell phone while driving, your kids are more likely to pick up on the behavior when it is their turn behind the wheel. Never use your phone while driving, so your children know what a focused driver looks like. Tell your teens that distracted driving is unacceptable and if they are caught driving distracted, there will be consequences.
    3. Speak up! People will likely listen to the warning of a loved one. If you are aware that family members or friends are distracted drivers, tell them to put down the phone. Hearing from a loved one who is concerned about their safety could be a wake-up call to stop driving distracted.

 

  1. Teach teens to speak up, too. Teens are among the worst offenders of distracted driving. The NHTSA reports that among drivers aged 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21% were distracted by cell phones. Not only should teenagers not drive distracted, but they shouldn’t let their friends do it either. When you are a teenager, standing up to your friends can be hard. But when it comes to safety, we need to teach teens to speak up for themselves. A peer-to-peer conversation can be impactful. If someone their own age thinks distracted driving is wrong, chances are they will begin to feel the same.

Distracted driving ends with YOU! Together we can take the focus off the phone and put it back on the road!

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd Dishes on Eating Like a Champ!

March is National Nutrition Month, so we thought it might be fun to find out what a World Champion athlete eats to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You might be surprised to find out that it’s not just kale and quinoa.

Carli Lloyd, longtime NJM policyholder and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, World Cup Champion and FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, was gracious enough to answer some burning questions that we had – like what’s in her fridge? Read on to find out the answer to that question, and more!

NJM:  So, Carli. We know that you never repeat your workouts, but do you ever repeat meals, like eating the same things every day? Or is it important for you to switch up your foods?
CL:  I usually eat the same thing at breakfast and lunch, such as a salad, and switch up what I have for dinner each night.

NJM:  What are some of the healthy “staples” that you always keep in your fridge or pantry?
CL:  KIND® bars, nuts, granola, yogurt and lots of fruit!

NJM:  Do you avoid any specific types of foods for health or training purposes?
CL:  Well, I rarely eat carbs, like pasta, pizza or bread, or fried, greasy foods. They just don’t make me feel good. But I do enjoy stopping at my favorite pizza place in Philly!

NJM:  Pizza, huh?! How often do you indulge, and what’s your favorite indulgence?
CL:  Only every now and then, and only in moderation. And I’d have to say cupcakes and cookies!

NJM:  Do you like to cook? What is your specialty dish?
CL:  I love cooking! It’s hard because I’m not home very often. But when I am, it’s fun to cook different recipes. I make some good baby back ribs and stuffed peppers! And we always grill fish, chicken and steak on the charcoal grill.

NJM:  Lastly, what nutrition advice can you give to busy people when they’re on the go?
CL: Just try to find clean, healthy, fresh places to eat!

So if you want to eat like a champion athlete, perhaps Carli’s advice is helpful. Okay, maybe you won’t ever score a hat trick in a World Cup final (including one goal from mid-field!) but at least you’ll be healthier in the long run.

Special thanks to you, Carli, for letting us “eat up” some of your time. Can you send us some of those ribs?!

6 Ways to Prevent a Brain Injury

Family riding bicycles togetherMarch is Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, 1.4 million Americans sustain a brain injury each year. Deaths from head injuries account for 34% of all traumatic deaths, and approximately 5.3 million people in the U.S. live with a disability caused by TBI.

Read below for 6 ways to prevent a brain injury and add any other tips you can think of to the comments!

1. Wear a seat belt in a moving vehicle and make sure small children are properly buckled into an age-appropriate seat.
FACT: Seat belts saved an estimated 12,584 vehicle passenger lives ages 5 and older.

2. Don’t drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that may impair your driving skills.
FACT: Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of traumatic brain injury.  

3. Wear a safety helmet while engaged in activities such as biking, contact sports, skating, horse riding, and skiing.
FACT: 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among U.S. children and adolescents are contributed to by sports and recreational activities. 

4. Avoid falling in or around your home by using a step stool with a grab bar, placing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and using non-slip mats in the shower and bathtub.
FACT: 35% of brain injuries are caused by falls, the leading cause of brain injuries among the elderly.

5. Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows.
FACT: Nearly 15,000 children are injured and 15-20 children are killed each year in the U.S. due to falls from windows.

6. Be sure that playground surfaces are made of shock-absorbing material such as wood chips or sand, not dirt or grass.
FACT: 16,000 children suffer playground-related traumatic brain injuries each year. 

It is critical to know the symptoms of a brain injury so it can be treated immediately. Click here for more information on brain injuries.

umbrella insurance

An Umbrella for Auto & Home Liability

Everyone knows an umbrella will shield you from the rain. For insurance purposes, an umbrella policy shields you from the potential damaging effects of a large liability claim.

How does it work? Within the terms of the policy, umbrella insurance supplements the liability limits already provided by auto and homeowners policies offering protection in the event those underlying policy limits are exceeded. Increased limits of liability are beneficial in the event that an auto accident or homeowners’ claim results in an injury and subsequent lawsuit against you.

An umbrella policy also offers protection against personal injury liability, such as libel, slander and defamation, not typically covered by car insurance or homeowners policies.

Learn more or call one of our umbrella specialists at 1-800-882-6573 ext. 4551.

 

The History of Hot Chocolate

463179743Winter weather might not have arrived yet in New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice warm cup of hot chocolate! Ever wonder where hot chocolate came from?

Hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into cream. The popularity of the drink in America dates back to Colonial times, but that’s not where its history begins. It goes back all the way to the time of the Aztecs.

For them, the cocoa bean was very valuable and used as currency, and the beans were given as gifts at special occasions. However, the beans were used to make a chocolate drink that was much different than the hot chocolate we know and love today. The drink was served cold and was flavored with wine and chili peppers!

The drink didn’t reach Europe until the early 1500s, when explorer Don Hernan Cortez brought chocolate to Spain. There they drank the chocolate hot, sweetened, and without peppers. The Spanish were very protective of their drink and it took more than 100 years before the news of it spread across Europe.

Hot chocolate finally made it to London in the 1700s. It was there that the English added milk and enjoyed it as an after-dinner drink. It has continued to evolve over the years and in different countries.

Today, hot chocolate varies depending on where you are. In North America, it comes in instant form made of cocoa powder, sugar, and dry milk, and is often topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.

In Mexico, it is also served in instant form, but is made from hard, semi-sweet chocolate with added milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Europeans serve it in a form much thicker than Americans are used to, whole Italian hot chocolate is so thick that it’s more like a pudding and is served with a spoon.

Regardless of how it’s made, hot chocolate continues to be a popular drink around the world. So add your favorite ingredients, sit back, and enjoy!

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What To Do in New Jersey this December

Looking to get in to the holiday mood? Here’s what to do in New Jersey this December:

Take a self-guided walking tour of Cape May’s homes, inns, hotels, and churches, all decorated for the season, on a Christmas Candlelight House Tour. Enjoy caroling, strolling musicians, and refreshments while taking in the sights. Tours are December 5, 12, & 19.

Enjoy Hanukkah stories, crafts, snacks, and a performance from Cantor Scott Borsky at “Hooray for Hanukkah” at the Garden State Discovery Museum on December 6.

Enjoy holiday music and a glittering Christmas tree light show at the Historic Smithville and the Village Greene through January 6.

Partake in a number of events at Liberty Hall Museum, from Christmas tours to Holiday Afternoon Tea to “Toys Through Time: The History of American Fun,a historic collection of toys from 1850-1950.

Looking for a New Year’s Eve event to enjoy with the whole family? Check out these family-friendly New Jersey venues.