Entries in Children (16)


Body Armor for Kids: Sales Surge After Sandy Hook Massacre

Bullet Blocker(NEW YORK) -- Body armor companies are seeing a surge in sales of bulletproof backpacks following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn.

Although the nondescript, black, child-size backpacks sold by the Massachusetts body armor company Bullet Blocker look like regular backpacks, a sheet of body armor is sewn inside each bag as "another protective layer."

Elmar Uy, chief operating officer at Bullet Blocker, noticed his sales numbers were up "tenfold" on Friday, the day of the massacre, but said he didn't understand why until he turned on the news.

"When word gets out there is an option, not a complete solution, to protect their kids, parents go and seek it," he said.

Amendment II, a Utah-based company that manufactures lightweight armor for law enforcement and the military, began inserting their technology into kids' backpacks six months ago after they received several custom orders, said Derek Williams, the company's president.

"We would sell a few here and there, and it was very much a niche item. But following Friday, our sales have gone up over 500 percent in childrens' armor products," Williams said.

The backpacks aren't meant to be worn during an active shooter situation, but rather as a shield "to cover their head and vital areas," Uy said.

Uy and Williams, who are both fathers, recognize that bulletproof backpacks and the inserts their companies sell aren't a solution to surviving a school shooting.

"There is only so much you can do," Williams said. "The bottom line is, having some armor is better than none. I don't want my kids to be unprotected in schools, which are becoming increasingly violent."

Amendment II plans to donate a portion of their sales to the families of Sandy Hook victims, Williams said.

"On Friday my business partners and I were in tears along with everyone else. We're all fathers," he said. "We can't do much except do what we can and what we're good at, which is making good body armor."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Adults Living with Their Parents, Survey Finds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More adults are moving in with their parents.  A new survey by PulteGroup, one of America’s biggest homebuilders, says almost one third of homeowners expect their grown children or parents to live with them.

USA Today says the survey shows that the rise in multi-generational households might continue.

“It’s an enormous change,” Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders, told the newspaper.  “I remember when I was in college, no one wanted to be near their parents.”

Some of the change is clearly the result of economic stress and the weak jobs market.  But a smaller generational divide between baby-boomer parents and their 20-something children might also be a cause.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FTC Updates Online Privacy Regulations for Kids

Fuse/ThinkstockWASHINGTON) -- Thanks to new rules proposed on Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission, your child's privacy might be better protected online.

That's the goal of the FTC, which is updating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), which mandates that website and online service operators acquire verifiable parental consent before they use, collect or disclose any personal information about children under 13.

The main reason for the update is because of technology, which has changed dramatically since COPPA became effective in 2000.  Smartphones, Facebook and Twitter, after all, were not in existence back then.

"We're trying to make sure that the COPPA rule protects children online and that the information they provide is keeping up with technology and kids' use of social media," said Mary J. Engle, associate director of advertising practices at the FTC.

The proposed new rules will strengthen COPPA's reach to include mobile devices.  It will also make sure websites and third-party data brokers, advertising networks and downloadable software kits ("plug-ins") get parental permission before gathering personal information from children (currently, COPPA only applies to website operators, not third parties).  The new regulations also expand the meaning of "personally identifiable information" to include IP addresses and cookies, which track data.

Other adjustments in the proposed rules address websites that are used by both children and adults.  Currently, COPPA treats all website visitors as being under 13. The new rule would allow a website that attracts both children and adults to apply privacy protections only to those who say they are under 13.  However, sites that are aimed specifically at children must continue to treat all users as if they are under 13, even if the other users are older.

COPPA is the reason that children under 13 are not allowed on Facebook, although that may be changing if Facebook opens to younger users.  Until that happens, the proposed rules won't directly apply to the Facebook website, though they will apply to websites targeting children that allow them to "like" a certain product or person through Facebook.

The new rules have been in the making for a few years.  In September 2010, the FTC solicited the public for comments on how COPPA might be updated, and a year later released its recommendations.  It then opened that up to the public and received 350 comments.  The agency will now open up another round for public comment until Sept. 10 before making final recommendations by the end of the year.

"We think we need to amend the rule to close some loopholes and make sure that all the different players that are actually collecting children's information are getting parental permission before collecting it," said Engle.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cost of Rearing a Child Rises to $234,000

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Having kids is expensive, as if parents needed to be told that. But the U.S. government issued a report today quantifying just how expensive: For a child born now, it will cost an average of $234,900 to raise them, and that’s just to age 18.

The total cost is up 3.5 percent from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report.   Child care and education, transportation and food had the biggest cost jumps.

Costs vary by family income. A typical family earning less than $59,410 a year will spend $169,080 in 2011 dollars to rear a child, but parents who make over $102,870 will pay $389,670, according to the study.

Costs have changed over the years, the report stated. Health care in constant dollars has doubled since 1960. Child care and education went from 2 percent of the pie to 18 percent today. Housing costs stayed roughly the same at 30 percent.

The report doesn’t cover college costs, but an estimate by puts the cost of a private college education at $420,000 in 18 years, and a public education at $195,000 for in-state students.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


One in 10 Children Are Victims of Identity Theft, Report Finds

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children are increasingly becoming the preferred target of identity thieves, authorities say.

“We’ve seen children have this crime begin as early as five months old and then it goes on for years,” said Bo Holland, founder and CEO of All Clear ID, a company that offers basic identity theft protection to consumers.

“A parent will typically find out when their child is moving into adulthood,” Holland added.  “When they are about to go to college, they apply for that first loan and, boom, they get denied.”

In the last three years, there have been 57,000 cases of child identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission.  A new report from All Clear ID estimates that one in 10 U.S. children are victims.

Criminals can hack home computers in search of tax forms with a child’s Social Security number.  They also can target hospitals, child-welfare agencies and even schools.

“They’ll use your child’s Social Security number with a different name and a different birth date,” Holland said.  “So if you pull a credit report, the credit report is looking for a specific name and the birthday that goes with it.  And so you won’t find it.  You’ll get 'file not found,' and you’ll feel safe.”

“The problem is large and growing,” said David Vladeck, the FTC’s director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “Part of the problem is it’s undetected and undetectable.”

Authorities advise parents to:

-- Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your home computer.
-- Tell your children never to give out their Social Security number without your permission.
-- Check your children’s credit periodically, even when they are under age.

“Parents need to understand that there are measures they can take to safeguard their children’s identity,” said Vladeck.  ”Parents should think about protecting their children’s identity, and the Social Security number is absolutely the foundation there.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Staten Island Mom Sues NYC for $900 Trillion

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Staten Island mother has sued New York City for $900 trillion for emotional and physical trauma after the Administration for Children’s Services removed her children from her custody and put them in foster care back in 2008.

Fausat Ogunbayo, 46, said she and her boys suffered “over three years of terror, horror, grievous harm, time lost, substantial economic hardship and injuries,” according to court documents.

The children, then 12 and 10, relocated to Queens after their mother lost custody of them, according to the Staten Island Advance. Court papers said the city removed the boys because Ogunbayo was mentally ill and refused treatment.

She reportedly suffered from hallucinations and left her boys at home alone for several hours at a time. The city maintained that ACS received several complaints about Ogunbayo’s alleged mistreatment of her children in 2008. Court documents also show that the mom told doctors her children’s skin was getting darker by the day because of radiation and the FBI was out to get her children.

While mental illness alone cannot cause parents to lose custody of their children, it is unclear whether her mental state was a precipitating factor in the ACS move to take away her boys in the first place.

Ogunbayo did not return ABC News’ request for comment, but the New York City Law Department issued a statement, saying, “We are unable to comment on pending litigation. The amount a plaintiff requests in a lawsuit has no bearing on whether the case has any merit and no relation to actual damages if any.”

The department said they could not share any information regarding Ogunbayo’s mental health. The children remain in ACS custody.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves, Consumer Group Warns

File photo. (Digital Vision/ValueLine)(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer advocates are out with a holiday-season warning for parents. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group says in a new report that it found more than a dozen toys on store shelves in violation of federal safety standards for lead and other chemicals, as well as toys that could present a choking hazard to small children.

Nasima Hossain, a public health advocate for US PIRG, says toys marketed to children aged three and under are not allowed to contain small, removable parts, and calls on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to “revise the small parts standard to better protect children from choking hazards.”

“Over the last twenty years, more than 400 children have died playing with toys. More than half of them choked to death,” Hossain said.

Along with toys that contain high levels of lead and small parts, Hossain says that excessively loud toys can also put young people at risk.

“We found one toy on store shelves that exceeded the recommended continuous exposure to 85 decibel limits, and two close-to-the-ear toys that exceeded the 65 decibel limit when measured with a digital sound level meter,” she said.

Click here for more on this report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Toys Are Getting Safer: Report

Digital Vision/ValueLine(WASHINGTON) -- Toys recalls have been falling since a tough new product-safety law was enacted in 2008, USA Today reports. The paper revealed there were 34 toy recalls in the 2011 fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, down from 172 three years earlier.

Respected toy testing expert Stephanie Oppenheim tells ABC News Radio, “things are better in toy land in terms of safety, but you still need to look at toys carefully before you give them to your kids.”

Magnets in children’s toys are a growing hazard.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission says an increasing number of incident reports indicate that high-powered magnets continue to be a safety risk to children. From toddlers to teens, consumers are swallowing these magnets and the consequences are severe, the group says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Day Care Now Costs More than College, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Parents of newborn children are likely dreading the prospect of sending their kids to college, figuring the cost in 2029 will be astronomical.

But they better start saving their pennies now, because day care costs are exceeding the tuition of some four-year colleges.

According to a study by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, one year of infant day care exceeds the cost of public colleges in 36 states and the District of Columbia, where it's a whopping $18,200.

Putting kids in Mississippi day care centers is a relative bargain at around $4,650 annually.

Parents better start shopping around for bargains where they can find them because the cost of day care goes up every year, not down.  It increased 1.9 percent on average nationally over the past year because of the rising price of food and labor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Money Matters: How to Teach Kids About Money

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What do younger children know about money and financial responsibility? Not much, so it is up to parents to teach their kids about spending, saving and making sound financial decisions. These are skills that will be critical for them as they grow older.

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and ABC News Good Morning America personal finance contributor, shares these tips for teaching children about how best to handle their money.

Q: How young should I start talking to my children about money matters?
A: Mellody says: For many parents, this is the last thing they want to do. A recent study found that parents are more prepared to talk to their children about sex, alcohol and drugs than they are to discuss finances. But parents are urged to start financial literacy education with children who are as young as five years old. The conversation can go beyond coins and money, and be sure to put it in terms that the children will understand. Include toys, or ice cream, or other things that are familiar to them in the conversation.

Q: What's a good way to teach my child about interest?
A: Mellody says: Your credit card can be a great teaching tool. Every time you use it, talk to your child about how it works, and what you will owe at the end of the month. If you don't pay the bill in full, explain the concept of interest to your child. Have him or her sit next to you when you pay the bill, and allow the child to observe what you are doing. Showing your children your good financial habits will slowly build and reinforce their understanding of how important those habits are.

Q: How can I slip in lessons about good money habits on a more consistent basis?
A: Mellody says: You know how children love to give money to the cashier when there are out with you on a shopping trip? Take the shopping receipt and talk about how much their favorite cookies or toys would cost, but use allowance terms. Tell your child how many weeks' worth of his or her allowance would be required to purchase a certain item listed on the receipt.

Have your older children help you calculate the tip at a restaurant, or give them the money to pay the bill. The exercise will sharpen their math skills and make them part of a family financial decision, and it will also be fun for them. But, here's one big don't: Don't treat the ATM as though it's a game. Parents often let their children punch the keys when they go to an ATM. Don't do that. What you can do, though, is explain how the ATM works when you're there. Tell them that it's not free money. Let them know that you're taking money out of your own account, and that you worked very hard to put it there. Compare it to taking money out of a piggy bank.

Q: I've heard about the "family 401(k)." What is that?
A: Mellody says: Just as many companies match their employees' contributions to 401(k) savings plans, parents can kick in a matching contribution to money their children save. For every dollar of their allowance they put away in the bank, you can match it in some way, some percentage that you can afford. This will give children a real incentive to save. Having their own savings account, and getting monthly statements from the bank, can also be a good way to teach them about interest and compounding.

Extra Tips

  • Set up a monthly time during dinner where your whole family can talk about money matters. This will ensure that your children are constantly learning, and you may just learn something yourself.
  • Teach children about being charitable. Have them make an annual donation with their allowances.
  • Get children involved in the stock market. Give them stocks as gifts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio