Is Your Child’s School Environmentally Safe?

Dear Advocate,

As parents, grandparents and child advocates, we are concerned about recent increases in the rates of asthma, cancer and other childhood illnesses as well as in learning and behavioral problems. And, growing evidence of the link between health and toxic environmental exposures, especially with respect to the unique vulnerability of children, has ignited increased interest in the environmental quality of schools.

The ChildSafe School (CSS) provides a step-by-step framework to help parents, teachers and administrators make their schools as environmentally safe as they can be, by adopting policies that prohibit the idling of school buses and other vehicles; mandate the use of safe cleaning products, and eliminate the use of pesticides on school grounds and playing fields. CSS also addresses current and emerging issues related to synthetic turf, fragrances and wireless radiation.

The question we ask, Is Your Child’s School Environmentally Safe?, is highlighted on the cover and in a feature article in National PTA’s fall (October-November) issue of Our Children. Improving the health of school environments is a goal that not only benefits students but teachers and staff as well.

The web site  details each issue, provides short video presentations and a Resource Guide of science-based and advocacy materials, including sample policies and how to initiate a local school building/district campaign. CSS is a thoughtful approach to ways we can empower parents and families to assure their children’s learning (and play) environments are healthy and safe while, at the same time, encourage cost-savings for schools.

We invite you to join our community to raise awareness about these important issues. You can “like” us at and please be sure to visit our blog! Let us know how we can help you and your community make sure your schools are ChildSafe schools!

With thanks for all you do and continue to do,


Lana Ajemian
Director, The ChildSafe School
Grassroots Environmental Education
52 Main Street
Port Washington, NY 11050


Stay Informed; It Could Save A Life

Suicide is a serious public health issue for all age groups. But teens are at a higher risk, with suicide being the third leading cause of death between 10-24 year olds. The good news is that by knowing what to do or where to get help, you can help save a life.

During National Suicide Prevention Month, take an opportunity to learn the warning signs and share these resources with a friend, a family member or coworker, this information could make a difference for someone down the road.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Power Outage Safety Tips

If your power goes out, take the following steps:

1) Check to see if other lights are on in your neighborhood.  If other homes have lights, check for a blown fuse or a circuit breaker that has tripped to the “OFF” position.
2) If there are no other lights on in your neighborhood, or if you are unable to locate the cause of your power outage, call your local Power & Light company.
3) Unplug televisions and computers  Leave a light or radio on to help you know when power has been restored.
4) Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.  Food can stay cool for 12-48 hours, but that time is signifacantly reduced if the door is opened.
5) Stay away from any downed power lines, which are eextremely dangerous.  Call your local Power & Light company immediately if you see power lines down.
6) Keep batteries and flashlights in the same area for easy access if power goes out at night.  Flashlights are safer than candles.
7) Before using a generator, learn how to operate it safely.

Power outages can be a little alarming at first but if you are prepared and creative you can take advantage of this down time to “plug in” to your family and spend this time talking, playing a game together or even catching up on some much needed sleep.