August is Children’s Learning and Vision Month

Did you know that you need over 17 visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports, and in life? These include focusing, eye tracking, eye coordination, and visual perception.

1 in 4 children struggle with reading and learning due to vision problems. These issues make it difficult for children to pay attention in school and learning falters. Reports show that undiagnosed and untreated vision-related learning problems are significant contributors to early reading difficulties and ultimately to special education classification.

Vision plays a vital role in a child’s education. Early detection can save years of struggling. Pay attention to the warning signs that can indicate that your child may need help:

  • Difficulty with hand-eye coordination
  • Irregular eye movement
  • Headaches
  • Avoids reading, loses place while reading easily
  • Blurry, itchy or watery eyes

For more information call your local Pediatric Ophthalmologist!

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5 Tips for Proper Pet Care as Temperatures Rise

When you think about all the fun activities you have planned for the upcoming summer, can you imagine not sharing them with man’s best friend? Growing up, the family dog went everywhere with us and is a part of most of my childhood memories. Whether it’s a lazy day spent by the pool or enjoying a backyard barbecue with friends and family, it’s definitely more fun with your pet by your side.

When summer rolls around, temperatures quickly rise, and just as you change how you care for yourself and your family, you need to adjust how you care for your pets. Here are 5 things to remember and be aware to help keep your pets safe and cool with the changing season:

  • Never leave your pets in a parked car – Just as you would not leave your child in a parked car, do not leave your pets there either. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous highs. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can climb to 102 degrees in only 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature can reach 120 degrees!

  • Provide ample shade and water – Any time your pet is outside, make sure there is protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. For added help, add ice to their water. In the shade of trees or under tarps is ideal because they don’t obstruct airflow. A doghouse does not provide relief from the heat and, in fact, makes the temperature worse.

  • Limit exercise on hot days – Take care when exercising your pet. Make sure not to over-do it on hot days. Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Roadways and sidewalks get very hot in the sun and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you when you walk your pets to keep them from getting dehydrated.

  • Look out for heatstroke – Heatstroke is a medical emergency that requires you to act quickly and calmly. If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, call a veterinarian immediately. Lower your pet’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body.

I hope that you have a fun summer and keep your pets safe and cool!

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Beware of COVID-19 Scams

As we are still in the grips of this horrendous pandemic there are people taking advantage of the situation with new scams.

According to IdentityForce, you should be wary of scam social media posts and emails with fake information about COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been “an increased numbers of hackers creating malicious websites that spoof legitimate public health resources.”

So far in the pandemic the most common scams are:

  • Fake Charities
  • Fake vaccines
  • Fraudulent investment sites
  • Fraudulent vendors for masks and hand sanitizers
  • Fake employments posts
  • Fake health organization communications

The hoaxers have even gone so far as to set up fake drive thru testing sites!

Over the years we have almost become accustom to scam calls and texts. Now, more than ever, we have to be vigilant. The scammers are learning new ways to get ahold of your confidential information.

How can you spot a fake? It is getting harder and harder to separate what is legitimate and what isn’t. Here are a few tips to help cut down your risk:

  • Never give out personal confidential information to someone you do not know – the government, nor banks, would call you asking for such information
  • Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government
  • Hang up on robocalls
  • Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits
  • Do your homework – research and confirm the identity of any charities before donating

Please always be aware of your surroundings and interactions online and offline.

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Get the Boat Insurance Basics Before You Hit the Water

Summertime is the perfect season to get the boat back in the water. While owning a boat is great fun for the whole family, it can also be stressful.

Carrying the proper amount of boat insurance is key to happily enjoying the lake or river this summer.

Here is a quick rundown of boat insurance:

A boat owner’s policy will insure you against the majority of risks associated with owning and operating a boat. You will be covered against fire, storm, theft, collision and explosion. The property associated with your boat such as anchors, oars, life preservers, and water skis would also be covered (subject to policy limits).

In addition to physical damage, a boat policy protects you from liability lawsuits if you injury someone or damage their property with your boat (subject to policy limits).

A boat owner’s policy also offers medical payment coverage. It will cover medical expenses for you, as well as any other people on the boat who were injured in an accident. (Medical payments are subject to policy limits.)

For more information about boat insurance or to check
your current coverage, give us a quick call at the office today!

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Homeowner Insurance: Do You Need a Checkup?

It’s summer and that means it’s time to head outdoors. One of the best homeowner insurance tips is to protect your home before it needs it and that requires an insurance checkup.

A typical homeowner insurance policy may not cover everything you think it should. And the last thing you need is to learn where your policy is lacking after you need it. By then, it’s too late.

Before summer kicks into high gear, take a few minutes to examine the policy you have, and think about whether you need more. Just because it’s suited your needs fine until now, doesn’t mean an unhappy surprise isn’t looming around the corner.

Here are three home owner’s insurance checkup tips to think about:

  1. Pools May Need Extra Insurance.

  2. When you look at a sparkling, backyard swimming pool, the last word that may come to mind is “nuisance.” But that’s exactly what the law thinks of private swimming pools, trampolines and other fun outdoor equipment. Swimming pools and other dangerous outdoor fixtures that could reasonably attract a child onto your property need additional insurance. If your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover you against personal injury claims, you need an upgrade. Expect your insurance company to require the installation of appropriate protection measures, such as fencing, before issuing the additional coverage.

  3. Landscaping May Not be Covered.

  4. Landscaping can be a hefty investment, even if you do the work yourself. The simplest of plants aren’t cheap, and special items such as water features, trees and even the weed barrier fabric and mulch that make flower beds look tidy, come at a high cost. Unfortunately, all your hard work and investment may be lost if your landscaping is wiped out during bad weather. Most home owner’s policies have limitations on items such as this.We advise that you talk with your insurer if you have expensive landscaping on your property. In many cases, they can add more coverage to help you replace items lost during severe weather.

  5. Additional Buildings Don’t Have Full Coverage.

  6. You know your home is insured against loss, but what about a detached garage, shed or workshop on the property? In most cases, coverage is minimal. Most homeowner’s policies include “other structures” or “other improvements” that cover buildings on the property that are not the home itself. But this doesn’t mean you can replace the structure if it’s destroyed. Count on “other structures” being covered at about 10% of the main dwelling’s coverage. In some cases, this may be enough but if you have a separate building that’s worth more than that, talk with your insurance agent about increasing your coverage.

Insurance is peace of mind. It’s one of those necessary things for living in the modern world. But your policy is only as good as its coverage, and it might not cover everything you think.

Before the summer season gets into full swing, think about what’s outside your home and whether you could replace it if it were lost. Homeowner insurance policies cover the dwelling first and foremost. For everything else, you will want to additional coverages.

To check on your current coverage, give us a quick call at the office today!

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9 Things to Remember to Stay Safe in the Sun This Summer

With the sun now out almost all the time, there is no denying that summer is here. The sun is very important to us, as it has a positive impact on our mood, increases our level of physical activity, makes many social events and gatherings possible, and even benefits our health by providing our bodies with essential vitamin D.

Unfortunately, sun exposure also presents risk factors that can lead to skin or eye damage, and even skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to keep your skin healthy. It’s important to learn what you can do to protect yourself and how to spot any possible signs of skin cancer.

Here are 9 easy ways to protect yourself and your family from the sun:

  • Wear Sunscreen With a SPF 15 or Higher. If you have fair skin or light hair, you are more susceptible to the sun’s rays and should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
  • Choose Sunscreen Labeled “Broad Spectrum” meaning that it protects against two types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB.
  • Use Waterproof Sunscreen to make sure it stays on longer, even if you perspire or get wet.
  • Reapply Sunscreen Often – usually every two hours, but sooner if you’ve been swimming or are perspiring heavily.
  • Cover Your Whole Body. Remember those areas that can be easy to forget, such as your ears, eyelids, lips, nose, hands, feet, and the top of your head.
  • Seek Shade or Avoid the Sun During the Peak Hours of 10am – 4pm. The sun is strongest during those hours, even on cloudy days.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to help shade your eyes, ears and head.
  • Wear Wrap-around Sunglasses that Provide 100% UV Protection to safeguard your eyes.
  • Wear Lightweight, Loose-fitting Clothing that Protects a Larger Area of Your Skin such as long-sleeve shirts or long pants. Tightly woven fabrics in dark or bright colors are best.

Remember to use these tips to beat the heat and stay safe in the sun.

We hope you are having a fun, safe Summer!

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Tips For Firework Safety This 4th of July

The 4th of July wouldn’t be the same without fireworks. While painting the night sky with explosions is always fun, safety should be of the upmost importance. Nothing ruins a fourth of July like a trip to the hospital.

Use these fireworks safety tips to keep you and your family safe this Independence Day:

  • Never let children light or play with fireworks.
  • Parents should always supervise any fireworks activities, including sparklers. Burns from sparklers are a common injury among children. A sparkler burns at around 2,000 degrees.
  • Keep a bucket of water and sand nearby in the case of a fire.
  • Never attempt to re-light fireworks that have failed to ignite completely.
  • Do not throw or point fireworks at other people or homes, keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
  • Keep dogs and cats inside, fireworks often scare them.
  • Don’t wear loose fitting clothing while using fireworks.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass

We hope you have a happy
and safe Independence Day!

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Protecting Yourself Online

Recently I received an article about creating strong passwords. I felt with how important this information is that I wanted to share it with you to make sure that you are doing your part to stop your accounts from being hacked with better passwords.

Here are a few tips to create strong passwords:

  1. Make them long because with new algorithms and even computer programs built for cracking your password, the shorter the password, the shorter amount it takes to crack.
  2. Do NOT use personal information such as your pet’s names, anniversaries, children’s birthdays, phone numbers, addresses or any other personal information.
  3. Do NOT use real words as this also shortens the time it takes to crack it. An example of something you can use instead of a real word is [email protected] – it looks like a real word but isn’t ☺
  4. Include numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters. The more variety included in your password, harder it is to crack
  5. Do NOT reuse passwords for different sites. In the last few years we have heard of many sites, even Yahoo, being hacked. Once a cyber thief has a password they will attempt to use it on other sites to access more of your information.
  6. Change your passwords regularly. I know it is a pain to constantly have to remember new passwords for all of your different sites but it is very important to update them often to protect your sensitive information.
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Remove the Headache When Filing a Property Claim

Summertime is now in full swing, bringing not only sunny days but also potential summer storms. Summer storms have the potential to cause serious damage to your home and property.

If there is damage to your house or property, you may need to make a claim on your homeowner’s policy. Here are a few tips that can make the claim process easier, not just in summertime but all year round as well:

  1. Keep an Up To Date Home Inventory – Keeping an up to date inventory of your household belongings is key to making the claims process go quickly. This is especially true for the more expensive items in your home, including jewelry.
    • Keep receipts in a fireproof box if possible or keep a copy of receipts by scanning them and saving them electronically.
    • Take photos and video of your belongings while you narrate with the description of the item and the price paid.
    • Store these files online so you can access them from anywhere.
    • It is not necessary to photograph every book and CD you own…taking a photo of your bookcase or china cabinet will be sufficient.
    • Use a Home Inventory app – there are several apps available for IOS and Android that allows you to store all the important information you need including pictures, receipts, registration/serial numbers, purchase date and more! Here are two I found that are available for iPhone and Android: Sortly and Encircle: Home Inventory.
  2. Contact Us Immediately – It is important that you give us a call quickly to get the claim underway. It doesn’t matter if you experienced a small amount of damage or have a huge hole in your roof… the quicker you call the better. We can help walk you through the claims process as well as document hotel expenses if you have been evacuated out of your house. (These may be reimbursable later.)
  3. Document the Damage and Make Necessary Repairs – You should document the damage as soon as it is safe. Take photos or video of everything that has been damaged, including any damage to the structure of the house and your personal property. Do not make any permanent repairs or hire a contractor until you have started the claims process. Cover any broken windows or holes in the roof to prevent any further damage. You should take photos of the damage before you make any temporary repairs. While it may be tempting to drag damaged furniture and other household items to the curb, do not discard anything until an adjuster has been able to take a look at them.

Hopefully you will not have to make a claim on your homeowner’s policy at any time, but if you do, use these tips to help make sure that the claims process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

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June Is National Safety Month

Every June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and recognize June as National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. The focus of National Safety Month is that small changes can make a big difference to your health and wellness.

Keeping National Safety Month in mind, June also means that the summer season is here, bringing with it many other seasonal risks that we should be aware of.

Here are a few summer safety tips:

BBQ Safety – Grilling up burgers and hot dogs is a summer staple; but, if not properly maintained, a grill can pose a risk to your family.

  • Check gas hoses and couplings for leaks before using it for the first BBQ. An easy way to check for leaks is to apply a soapy water solution to the couplings and look for bubbles forming.
  • Always clean your grill after using it. This will remove buildup and grease which can cause flare-ups during cooking.
  • Charcoal should be left to cool completely and then disposed of properly.

Bonfires & Fire Pits – Warm summer evenings are great for family or small gatherings (depending on the COVID-19 Restrictions) around a campfire or even a fire pit in the backyard. Safety should always come first when dealing with fire.

  • Make sure your fire pit or any open fire is located at least 10 feet away from your home or any other flammable structure.
  • Kids should be kept at least 3 feet from the fire and constantly supervised whenever there is a fire burning. Walking away for even a few minutes can have serious consequences.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby in case the fire gets out of control.
  • When the night is over, douse the fire and ashes with water and make sure it is completely out before you go inside.

Home Security – Family vacations are a fun part of the summer, but coming back to a break-in can be devastating. Keep burglars out with these tips:

  • Do not announce your plans on social networks.
  • Give a key to a neighbor — never hide it outside your home.
  • Install and use outdoor lighting.
  • Install a security system — it could make you eligible for discount on your homeowners insurance.
  • Have a neighbor collect your newspaper.
  • Use light timers to make it seem like you are home.
  • Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway at night.

For more information about staying safe and National Safety Month, visit the National Safety Council’s website at www.nsc.org.

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