Category Archives : Health & Safety

Thank you, Sarah Saunders for saving a child’s life!

Snack Time

Camp Fire Central Oregon would like to recognize Sarah Saunders for successfully administering abdominal thrusts in order to save a child from choking at Juniper Elementary School. Sarah is a Camp Fire Club Leader at Juniper. We are incredibly proud of her efforts, and applaud her for thinking clearly and acting decisively in a time of crisis.

Of course, this scenario is not uncommon. “On average, a child will die every 5 days in the United States from choking on food.” (1) While this is truly a frightening statistic for any parent, there are steps and preventative measures that can be taken to decrease the risk of a choking injury death.

Choking deaths are very preventable, yet many caregivers simply do not know the proper steps to take in order to ensure a child’s safety. It is important to communicate with anyone who is in direct contact with your child in a caregiver role. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and especially siblings who are caring for one another should all be aware of how to prevent choking related injury deaths.

Camp Fire’s Babysitter Training Course is an important tool to help get young people ready for the responsibility of caring for younger children. Even a seasoned babysitter can have misinformation and gaps of knowledge, so we recommend that all young people, even those who have been caring for younger siblings for years now, consider joining us for this course. It is essential for young babysitters to learning about choking preventative measures, basic first aid, and how to react calmly and decisively in a time of crisis – just as Sarah Saunders did.

If you are a parent of a young child, ask your babysitter if they have undergone any training. At the end of our Babysitter Training Course, each young person will receive a certificate of completion. If you already have a babysitter that you and your children adore, yet discover that they have not gone through any training, you may consider offering to sign them up for this course.

Learn more about our Babysitter Training Course now!




1. Science Daily. Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children.


Game Blog – Why Summer Learning Matters

Don’t forget to scroll down for links to eight fun games you can play with your child this summer!

Beginning at the age of four, the average child has the ability to learn up to six words per day.1 By third grade, most children can map out a complex dance routine, then repeat it—which makes for a wonderful skill at a talent show. While there are many steps on the ladder of early childhood development, only one thing can be certain: in order for your child to learn something new, they must be exposed to it.

Over the summer, children typically lose two months’ worth of educational knowledge. This phenomenon has been called “Summer Slide” by experts, and while all young people experience it, those who are exposed to educational activities during the summer typically have an advantage when school starts back up in the fall.2

Luckily, there are steps that parents can take to combat Summer Slide and keep their children’s minds active in the warm months to come. Playing a game that supports creative thinking can be a fun way to stimulate your child’s mind. Below is an example of a game that is suitable for ages four and up:

Game: Silly Comic Strip

Minimum number of players needed: Three

Materials needed: One piece of paper and pen/pencil for each person (that’s it!)

How to play: Write one sentence at the very top of your paper (the sillier the better). Pass the paper to the person on your left. You will now have someone else’s paper, with their sentence on it, in front of you. Now draw a picture that represents that sentence. Carefully fold the top of the paper back, hiding the original sentence. Pass the paper to your left again. You will now have a new piece of paper with a picture at the top. Write down one sentence that you believe represents what is happening in that picture. Fold the top of the paper back, hiding the picture. Pass the paper to your left – continue to repeat this process until there is no more room on the page, or you get your original paper back. Unfold the page and get ready to laugh!

TIP: When drawing your picture, make sure to leave enough room below for a sentence description, as well as other pictures down the line.

Fight summer slide! Outdoor learning is a great way to keep young minds active and engaged. Camp Fire Central Oregon offers many opportunities for young people to get outside, learn, stay active, play, and meet new friends. We now offer an exciting new Pick Your Days program for SummerKids. And don’t forget to sign up for a week of outdoor learning at Tumalo Day Camp! Whatever your schedule is this summer, Camp Fire will be there.


Looking for more fun game to play with your child this summer? You’re in luck! Click the links below and let the fun begin:

Balloon Ball


Alpine Caper

Black Magic 

The Game of Shapes


Superheroes & Villains 

Human Knot




1. PBS, Child Development Tracker, Your Three Year Old

2. National Summer Learning Association, Know The Facts,

Camp Safety – the do’s and don’ts that will keep your kids having fun!

We are so excited for July’s Tumalo Day Camp next week! Summer is a time for fun outdoor adventures and creativity, but as with all things, we must be prepared in order to truly enjoy ourselves, otherwise, a fun day of outdoor learning can turn into a real bummer…









It may be hard to believe, but even a few moments of wearing open-toe shoes at camp can end up with some pretty painful consequences! That’s why we have a strict closed-toe shoe policy. As fun as it is to wear sandals, it’s much more fun to make it through an entire day without accidentally stabbing your toe with a stick (which is what happened to one of our Camp Fire staff in the picture above).

So, in the interest of having fun and enjoying the outdoors in the safest way possible, here are a few of the things you should keep in mind while preparing for Day Camp next week – or any camping trip for that matter! Make these simple rules a habit and you will be sure to have a lifetime of safe, enjoyable outdoor experiences.

  • Closed-toed shoes – Only closed-toed show are allowed at camp. Tennis shoes, hiking shoes, and sandals WITH toe coverings are all acceptable. (Believe us, stubbed toes are VERY common with open-toed shoes and it makes camp much less fun so we’ve made this one a must.)
  • Sunscreen – Please apply sunscreen at home before you arrive each day AND bring it with you to camp.
  • Long Pants – You can wear shorts, but EVERYONE must bring long pants with them every day. It is required to wear them when hiking. There are stinging nettles in the area and it’s no fun to be stuck with an itch all camp! If you forget to bring long pants, you will not be able to go on hikes with your group and will have to sit and wait with the Camp Director (no fun!).

We can’t wait to see you there!


Community Spotlight: The Giving Plate

Today Hunger Is Everywhere… Even Here in Central Oregon.


Hunger exists everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you live—hunger has no boundaries. All real people. All struggling to get enough to eat.

Over 50 million Americans live in food-insecure households. That’s 1 in 6 people who do not know where their next meal is coming from. In Oregon we have the 3rd highest percentage of people on food stamps in the U.S. And 30% of all children in Oregon are food-insecure. Here in Bend, 10.5% of all individuals live under the national poverty line. That’s over 5,380 people right here in our own backyard.

Since opening its doors in April 2010, The Giving Plate has tried to ease this burden by providing an emergency monthly food box to over 26,000 families. Each box contains about 4-5 days worth of food. Food box delivery is also available to those who are home bound.

Through the Color-Me-Full Kids Free Lunch Program we provide a weekly bag of nutritious food to any hungry child. This is offered every Saturday at our primary location in Scandia Square and also in Deschutes River Woods.

In an environment of compassion & encouragement, the goal of The Giving Plate is to never turn-away anyone who’s hungry. But as the busiest food bank in Central Oregon, we need everybody’s help. Whether through donations or volunteering—a team effort is necessary. If you’re interested in helping as an individual or part of a group, please call 541-410-3086.

The Giving Plate Logo


Back to School Safety Tips

School starts this week, so this is a great time to have some safety conversations with your kids. When it comes to their own safety, young people rely on their parents to give them the information that they need. As adults, we understand that unsafe behavior can have more than just immediate consequences–some injuries can last a long time (like the pulled or strained muscles that kids often suffer when their backpacks are too heavy and not worn properly).

Below are some great safety tips from The American Academy of Pediatrics:



  • Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school.  She’ll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
  • Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your student can walk to school or ride on the bus.
  • If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.
  • If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day.


  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
  • If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.


Review the basic rules with your student:


  • Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
  • Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Make sure your child walks where she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see her, too).
  • Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.
  • Your child should not move around on the bus.
  • If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. (If your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school system to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.}


  • All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
  • Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat.
  • Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). This means that the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, and not the stomach.
  • All children younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
  • Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations,  texting or other mobile device use to prevent driver distraction. Limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement to facilitate the early driving learning process. For a sample parent-teen driver agreement, see


  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
  • Use appropriate hand signals.
  • Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.
  • Know the “rules of the road.”


  • Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
  • Identify other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school.  In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider organizing a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.
  • Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
  • If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
  • Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.


  • Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home and/or have them posted on the school’s website. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
  • Look into what is offered in school vending machines. Vending machines should stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice.  Learn about your child’s school wellness policy and get involved in school groups to put it into effect.
  • Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Choose healthier options to send in your child’s lunch.


Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones.

When Your Child Is Bullied

  • Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:
    1. Look the bully in the eye.
    2. Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
    3. Walk away.
  • Teach your child how to say in a firm voice.
    1. “I don’t like what you are doing.”
    2. “Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
    3. “Why would you say that?”
  • Teach your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help.
  • Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
  • Support activities that interest your child.
  • Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
  • Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
  • Monitor your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.

When Your Child Is the Bully

  • Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
  • Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior.
  • Be a positive role mode. Show children they can get what they want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone.
  • Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
  • Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, counselors, and parents of the children your child has bullied.

When Your Child Is a Bystander

  • Tell your child not to cheer on or even quietly watch bullying.
  • Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying.
  • Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.
  • Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.


  • During early and middle childhood, youngsters need supervision. A responsible adult should be available to get them ready and off to school in the morning and supervise them after school until you return home from work.
  • If a family member will care for your child, communicate the need to follow consistent rules set by the parent regarding discipline and homework.
  • Children approaching adolescence (11- and 12-year-olds) should not come home to an empty house in the afternoon unless they show unusual maturity for their age.
  • If alternate adult supervision is not available, parents should make special efforts to supervise their children from a distance. Children should have a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone.
  • If you choose a commercial after-school program, inquire about the training of the staff. There should be a high staff-to-child ratio, and the rooms and the playground should be safe.


  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
  • Schedule ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.
  • Supervise computer and Internet use.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child’s homework for her.
  • Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren’t able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child’s teacher first.
  • Some children need help organizing their homework.  Checklists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.
  • If your child is having difficulty focusing on or completing homework, discuss this with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or health care provider.

© 2014 – American Academy of Pediatrics