What is the role of a guardian ad litem?

When a couple divorces or separates, or an issue of legal paternity arises, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of the child/children in instances where the parents cannot come to an agreement about legal custody or physical placement of the children. A GAL also can be appointed by the court if the judge has concerns about the welfare of a child or in cases involving monetary settlement for an injury to … Continued

Corded Blinds and Curtains Can Be Hazardous to Young Children

In December 2018, the American National Standards Institute approved an updated voluntary safety standard for window coverings, stating that window coverings be cordless, have cords 8” or less, or have inaccessible cords. The standard also calls for more warning tags that highlight the strangulation hazard posed by corded blinds and curtains. This new standard was adopted in an effort to reduce strangulations of young children. If your window coverings do have cords, and you have young children, the U.S. Consumer … Continued

It’s Tax Season — Protect Yourself from IRS Scams

As tax season nears, unfortunately IRS scams become more common. It’s important to note that the IRS does not call taxpayers. If the IRS needs to get in touch with you, they will do so via letter — not the phone, not email and not via social media. One of the more recent IRS scam calls warns a taxpayer about a “time sensitive and urgent matter” related to fraud and/or misconduct on the taxpayer’s fax filing. The callers typically do not … Continued

Safety Around Snow Plows and Snowblowers

It looks like we have a winter storm headed our way — with that in mind, we thought we’d share some safety reminders about safely playing outdoors when plows are on the streets, tips for youth who may be new to driving in winter conditions when plows are on the road and safety reminders for operating snowblowers. Playing Outdoors Most children love playing outdoors during a heavy snowfall — but please caution children to stay at least 10 feet away from … Continued

Is Your Furnace Safe for Winter Use?

If your house has a gas furnace, it’s important you follow safety guidelines to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and limit the potential for fires. Make certain the area around your furnace is clean. Natural gas is highly flammable so be certain to vacuum and/or sweep around the furnace to remove lint, saw dust, dirt and other flammable items from the area surrounding the furnace. Cordon off the furnace from young children. Young children may inadvertently place flammable items, toys, blankets, … Continued