Shift London – Phase 2

shift2

Last month we told you about Shift London, London’s rapid transit initiative that has been introduced to the city and is going to advance now onto phase two of development. Once again, the City of London is wanting to share information with you and is asking for your input in return. This is going to be a big step for our city, so please consider whether you can attend one of their two Public Information Centres.

WHAT IS SHIFT?

Shift is a bold and important initiative for transportation for london. It focuses on rapid transit as part – along with cars, bikes and pedestrians – of the transportation systems that will help our city grow and prosper.

Shift will define where Rapid Transit will go, what it will look like, and how it will be implemented. (see: source for more information)

PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRE

All Londoners are invited to attend one of two Public Information Centres next week to present the preliminary recommended Rapid Transit corridors and feedback that was received so far. The centres are drop-in open houses with information displayed.

Thursday, May 28 at 4:30pm

Western Fair District, Agriplex

RSVP HERE

Saturday, May 30 at 10:00am

Goodwill Centre, 255 Horton Street

RSVP HERE

Preventing Hot Car Tragedy

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This is the time of year when the weather warms up and the news becomes filled with horror stories of babies and toddlers accidentally forgotten in the backseat of a car. Instead of waiting for the tragedies to hit the headlines, start taking precautions now that will help ensure that it will never happen to you.

The issue of children overheating in cars is not a simple one. Sometimes it happens with changes in routines that cause parents to forget that the child is there. Sometimes it is intentionally leaving a child there for the convenience. What they have in common is that no one plans for the outcome.

Children who are rear-facing, have the potential to nap in the car or who cannot get out of their car seat on their own are the most at risk.

Here are some ways to prevent heat stroke and death in a hot car:

  1. Don’t leave your child in the car on purpose, not unless you can see and hear them. We aren’t suggesting you should become a hyper-vigilant, paranoid person about this, but make sure that your child can be seen and heard if you are out of the car and they are in it. Even if the windows are down, your car is going to heat up more than outdoors and have less breeze. Children and babies cannot cool their bodies the same way that adults can, so your child will overheat faster than you would, when you may not be breaking a sweat yet.
  2. Lock your car doors when you leave it (with your kid!) so that your child cannot sneak back in while playing. Keep your keys out of reach inside the house.
  3. Always put your purse, your phone, and anything else you will need at your destination in the backseat with your child.
  4. Arrange the car seats in your vehicle so that if possible, the quietest/youngest child is behind the passenger where they’re more likely to be seen, instead of behind the driver.
  5. Never assume that someone else has gotten your child from the vehicle – always do it yourself or ask immediately.
  6. When there is a change in schedule, change in route, etc., take extra precautions: put a toy in your lap, play kids music on the radio, put the diaper bag directly beside you – do SOMETHING to jog your memory and remind you that there’s someone back there.
  7. If your child goes to daycare, check with them about their policy regarding unplanned absences and see if they have the policy of calling home/work to find out where your child is.
  8. Make sure that anyone else transporting your children (spouse, grandparents, friends, etc.) are aware of the dangers and take precautions also.
  9. Don’t assume that this won’t happen to you.

Keep your eyes open! At work, at the mall, when you’re out, have a quick glance in other people’s cars. Yes, you might seem creepy, so maybe just stick to the one’s with car seats and if caught, say you’re in the market for a new one and ask if they like it ;)

All of the above applies to pets as well. No one likes seeing an overheated dog trapped in a car! Cracking the window is not helping the heat, so don’t leave them in the car.

 

Booster Seat 411

carseat

If you had kids prior to 2005, you may remember a time when booster seats were optional. With the change in car seat regulations and the addition of the booster seat for children ages 4-8 years old/40-80lbs, it is estimated that your child’s risk of injury in an accident is reduced by 59% versus just using a seat belt alone. Despite the increased safety, some research has shown that 30-50% of people misuse booster seats, with premature graduation from the booster seat being the number one type of misuse.

Don’t rush your child from their booster seat!

THE LAW

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act states that children must be in a booster seat until:

  • they are over the age of eight

OR

  • they weigh more than 80lbs/36kg

OR

  • they are more than 145cm/4ft9in tall

Failure to comply could result in a $240 fine and 2 demerit points.

HOWEVER

What is the law and what is the safest for your child are not the same thing. Though the law states that an eight year old child does not need to use a booster seat, it is very likely that your eight year old should still be using a booster seat. To reduce the chance of a head, neck, spinal or abdominal injury in an accident, it is recommended by both the Government of Ontario and the Middlesex-London Health Unit to keep kids in booster seats until:

  1. the shoulder belt lies across the child’s shoulder (not the face or neck) and middle of the chest.
  2. the lap belt lies across the upper thighs, not over the stomach.
  3. your child’s knees bend comfortably over the edge of the vehicle seat when they are sitting all the way against the back of the seat.
  4. your child is taller than 145cm/4ft9in

It is likely that your child will not meet these requirements until they are 10-12 years old. Newer booster seats have weight limits of up to 120lbs to allow for these recommendations to be met.

 

Time of Use Shift

hydro

It has been a few years since the Smart Meters rolled out and Time of Use rates began for London Hydro users, so perhaps a refresher is in order!

WHAT IS TIME OF USE (TOU)?

TOU is the method used to calculate how much you will be charged for your electricity use. There are three different rates throughout the day and you will be charged a different rate for the time of the day in which you use it.

SIX MONTH SHIFT

Every six months, the times of the day that different rates are charged will shift. During the winter months, the peak pricing is in the morning and evenings (when demand is highest for heating) and during the summer months it’s peak is in the afternoon (when air conditioner/cooling demand is highest). The shift happens May 1 and November 1 of each calendar year.

RATES

The current rates as of May 1, 2015 are as follows:

Off-Peak: 8.0c/kWh

Mid-Peak: 12.2c/kWh

On-Peak: 16.1c/kWh

Weekends and Statutory Holidays are all off-peak rates.

KEEPING COSTS DOWN

Here are some tips for keeping your hydro bill down during the warmer months:

  • hang your laundry outside to dry on sunny and/or breezy days
  • do your laundry on the weekends or evenings
  • run the dishwasher in the evening
  • turn your pool filter off during the day or the afternoon and run it at night whenever possible
  • close your blinds on sunny days to block the heat
  • use fans at night instead of turning up the a/c
  • open your windows on breezy days or when the humidity drops
  • make sure that all appliances, lights and chargers are turned off/unplugged when you leave the house for the day
  • use a programmable thermostat to keep the house cooler when you are home and not use the a/c as much when you are out
  • try not to use the oven when the a/c is on or on the hottest days; use the BBQ or smaller appliances like the toaster oven which won’t heat up your house
  • power off your laptops, computers, phones, tablets, etc. every night while you are sleeping
  • turn off your smart phones/tablets when they’re charging – they’ll charge faster! – and then unplug the charger when you’re done

Shift London

shift

London has started a big new initiative for transportation in London and they are looking for your input. Have you heard of Shift London? Rapid transit? Get informed and make your opinion known.

WHAT IS SHIFT?

Shift is a bold and important initiative for transportation for London. It focuses on rapid transit as part – along with cars, bikes and pedestrians – of the transportation system that will help our city grow and prosper.

Shift will define where Rapid Transit will go, what it will look like, and how it will be implemented. (see: source for more information)

WHAT IS RAPID TRANSIT

Rapid Transit means the movement of many people, at the same time, and at higher speeds using vehicles such as buses or trains. (see: source for more information)

RAPID TRANSIT ROUTE

London is planning on creating a Rapid Transit route through London and they want to know which of the potential routes you would use the most (or your kids! Think long term!). There are ten potential routes to choose from and you can give your feedback in a quick two-question survey HERE. Follow Shift London on Facebook to keep up to date on plans, events, and to get more information on this exciting new part of London.

Earth Day 2015

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Today is Earth Day! A wonderful day to celebrate this gorgeous planet we live on and to take a moment to see if there is more that we can do for it to preserve it’s beauty. London has been celebrating with it’s annual 12 Days of Cleaning. Have you been keeping up? If not, there’s no time like the present to jump in and clean up your act. Get the kids involved, make it a game!

12 DAYS OF CLEANING

Here are some of London Clean and Green’s ideas for what you should do to clean up your own small part of the world:

LCBO and Beer Store

Clear out all of your empties and return them to the Beer Store. You can return nearly everything that you get from either the LCBO or The Beer Store – beer, wine, liquor bottles, cans, and boxed wine (recycle the cardboard box, return the bag). There’s money in this for you!

Garage

Your garage is likely home to many special waste that requires care when disposing. See HERE for a list of materials that should not be placed at the curb with your usual waste and the locations at which you can dispose of them.

Renovation Materials

Have you done a reno? Big or small – whether there are empty paint cans or large amounts of debris, find out where to take them HERE.

Clothing Drive

This is the perfect time of year to clean out your closets! Clear out all of the warmer clothes in your closet that you’ve gone the whole winter without wearing, anything that does not fit, and anything that you just don’t like or need. Do the same thing in your children’s closets and your partners. Once collected, you can choose to drop it all off at the nearest GoodWill, a clothing drop-off bin, a consignment store, hold a garage sale, jump in on a mom to mom sale or pass them on to someone who could use them.

Medicine Cabinet

We recently posted about stocking your First Aid kit. If you have cleaned out your medicine cabinet or if it’s still on your list of things to do, be sure to return all of your old or expired medications to your nearest pharmacist to properly dispose of them. Do not throw them in the garbage!

Electronics

With new electronics coming out every day and not lasting remotely as long as they used to, many of us have old appliances, phones, TV’s, etc. collecting dust somewhere. Go HERE to find a place to recycle yours.

Yard Clean Up

Rake your lawn, pick those weeks, do a little pruning, and get everything into paper bags for your areas next green pickup.

Southwest Community Centre

ymca

There is a new Community Centre coming to southwest London and the city would like to hear YOUR thoughts on it!

The location will be on Southdale Road, west of Wonderland Road (for those old enough to remember Wally World – there). The Community Centre will have a YMCA, public library, indoor pool, double pad arena, and gymnasium. The projected opening is September 2018.

Sound interesting? Awful? Wonderful? Have questions?

There will be an OPEN HOUSE Project Launch and Community Consultation this Wednesday, April 15 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Westmount Mall at the Viscount Road entrance.

Family Favourites at Cineplex: Spring 2015

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Cineplex Odeon’s theatre in north London, Silver City, is once again offering their Family Favourites promotion for Saturday mornings this spring. At 11:00am every Saturday, you can bring the kids to the theatre for a variety of older movies, animated or live-action that are geared toward the whole family. These movies could be classics that your kids have never seen, little known box office blips or blockbuster faves from years past. Whatever is playing – it’s a good deal for you!

As of January 2015, admission is $2.99 per person. A portion of each ticket will now be going toward supporting Free The Children.

Here is the list of the upcoming films:

April 11: Air Bud (G)

April 18: Dolphin Tale 2 (G)

April 25: Cats & Dogs: The Return of Kitty Galore (G)

May 2: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (PG)

May 9: The Wizard of Oz (G)

May 16: The Nut Job (PG)

May 23: The Boxtrolls (G) 

May 30: Free Birds (G)

June 6: Paddington (G)

June 13: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) (PG)

June 20: The Rugrats Movie (G)

June 27: Popeye (PG)

Organic Vs. Conventional

organic

We just had Earth Hour last week and are now into April. With Earth Day coming up, this is a great time to open up a conversation with your children about the earth and caring for our planet. There are many hot topics when it comes to the environment and many views on what the real problem is (or is not!) with our planet. Regardless of your opinion or knowledge on the topics, we have some great little experiments that you can try with kids of all ages to get both you and them thinking. The first is to take a look at organic farming vs. conventional farming.

WHAT YOU NEED

This part is easy – go to the grocery store and buy two of the same fruits or vegetables, one organic and one not labelled organic. Try to get two pieces that appear to be the same quality, freshness, and age. If at all possible, try to get them from the same location (e.g. both from Canada, both from Mexico). We used apples.

WHAT TO DO

Absolutely nothing! Bring them home and put them side by side on your counter somewhere. Then wait a few days, weeks, or months depending on the produce you selected.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

At regular intervals, have your children take a look at the produce and see if they still look the same. Is one decomposing faster than the other? Does one smell different than the other? Do they feel different?

ENDING THE EXPERIMENT

When you have had enough of your observations, cut both pieces of produce in half and see if there are any differences happening inside.

WHAT WE  NOTICED

We kept our apples out for two months. The organic apple’s peel went wrinkly and soft, and the conventionally grown apple’s did not. When we cut them open, the organic apple had begun to rot inside, where the conventionally grown apple had not begun to visibly decompose.

QUESTIONS TO ASK (and perhaps Google!)

  1. What does it mean to be grown ‘organically’? What does ‘conventionally grown’ mean?
  2. Why does growing food organically seem like a good idea? Why does growing food conventionally seem like a good idea?
  3. What else could have made them decompose at different/same rates?
  4. Do you think they taste different from each other? Why or why not?
  5. What does GMO mean? How do you know if something is a GMO?
  6. Why does organic food cost more than conventionally grown food?
  7. What does ‘natural’ mean in reference to food? Do organic and natural mean the same thing?

 

First Aid Kit

firstaid

It’s not something that you often think about, but having a fully stocked first aid kit is even more important as a parent. We are entering the season of bumps and scrapes, and unfortunately those bumps and scrapes can require more than just a bandaid. To be sure that you are able to treat whatever your family needs treating, pull out your first aid supplies and make sure that nothing has expired and everything is still sterile and ready to use.

The Canadian Red Cross recommends that you have the following set aside in a bin or container dedicated to first aid supplies. Clearly label your kit, make sure that it is portable, and have it somewhere that your kids can access in case of an emergency. If supplies are used, be sure to restock as soon as you can.

FIRST AID SUPPLIES

  • emergency numbers for EMS/911, your local poison control centre and your families’ doctors
  • home and office numbers for family members, friends or neighbours who can help
  • sterile gauze pads (dressings) in small and large squares to place over wounds
  • adhesive tape
  • roller and triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make a sling
  • adhesive bandages in assorted sizes (band-aids)
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • safety pins
  • instant ice packs
  • disposable non-latex gloves, such as surgical or examination gloves
  • flashlight with extra batteries in a separate bag
  • antiseptic wipes or soap
  • pencil and pad
  • emergency blanket
  • eye patches
  • thermometre
  • barrier devices such as a pocket mask or face shield
  • coins for a pay phone (50c)
  • Canadian Red Cross first aid manual

If it seems overwhelming to collect all of this stuff, you can buy pre-made first aid kits with everything you need from places such as Amazon.ca, well.ca, and walmart.ca.

While you are cleaning out your medical supplies, you should also take a moment to check the expiration dates on any medicine in your cabinet and restock if necessary – ibuprofen, Polysporin, After-Bite lotion, acetaminophen, allergy medication, anti-nausea medication, and decongestant are pretty standard needs in both child and adult varieties. Take any expired medication to your local pharmacy for proper disposal instead of throwing it into the garbage and contaminating our environment!