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Sunday Mornings with Rania: Safety-Minded Stocking Stuffers

Rania Mankarious
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Rania Mankarious

Rania Mankarious is executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston(Photo: lawellphoto.com)

Growing up, I loved Christmas – everything about it. The excitement of waking up early, rushing downstairs to see if Santa had arrived, running back upstairs to wake my parents and older sister and on and on. Opening gifts was fun but for some reason, the piece-de-resistance was the stockings. They were jam packed with candy and lipsticks and any and every other impulse buy that caught Santa’s eye . . .  and I loved it all.

As a parent, I still cherish those stockings. They seem like a bag of love that is wonderful to fill. But because we love our kids – no matter how old or young – let’s add a little “public safety” with these safety-minded stocking stuffers:

For kids who walk home alone or drive up to young or older adults that live away (boarding school or college or beyond):

Personal alarms are a great gift for all your loved ones. There are many to choose from but I recommend the Nano Banshee. Designed by those in the military, this small, compact button attaches to a backpack or keychain and, when activated, is “louder than a jet engine.” This is not a toy and must be given wisely but ideal for teens or young adults living out and about.

Taking advantage of technology, I’m all about the smart watches for kids. These watches have GPS (so you can track young children), allow your child to text you and call up to a few phone numbers. There are many different brands. Consider which watch offers a plan that is suitable for your family. Definitely recommended for young kids who walk to and from school.

For homeowners, apartment dwellers or those who travel often:

Doorstop alarms are placed behind your door such that if an intruder tries to open the door, a high-pitched alarm will sound. These are easy to carry and great to use wherever you are staying, including a hotel.
Video doorbells are a great technology for homeowners. Most of these devices will send your smartphone or tablet an alert if your doorbell is rung or motion is detected outside your front door. You can watch and even speak to your guests from the device. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are!

For young drivers:

  • No blind spot rearview mirror. It clamps on to your existing rear view mirror, is lightweight and provides 180 degrees of vision, compared to your current 52 degrees.
  • Roadside safety kit is handy to have in your trunk or back seat, as it typically contains jumper cables, a first-aid kit, tools, a car care guide, hazard triangle, flares and more.
  • Phone charger for the car is a must. While we don’t want young drivers talking and driving, they may be using their phones for navigation. Either way, in case of an emergency, you always want your loved ones on the road to have a charged phone.
  • A little note that explains how to change a tire! It might be nice to add a lesson too!

Kids who love to play outside:

Helmets are great for any age, and important to wear when biking and skating! There are many styles that come with special padding to ensure a comfortable but protective fit.
LED light-up shoelaces are available in fun colors and can be used on running shoes, boots and skates. There are different version but most come with a replaceable battery that’s good for 70 hours.

Dog lovers:

Glowing pet leashes are a perfect gift for those nightly walks with your puppy. Many make you visible up to 200 feet away. You can also find LED dog collars and leashes that are visible up to 1,000 feet away and are weather-resistant.

The holiday time is a wonderful time and being “safety minded” only adds to it. We love our families and we love yours too. From all of us at Crime Stoppers of Houston, we wish you and yours a wonderful, happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

Editor’s Note: See more creative stocking stuffer ideas by Haley Kurisky and check out The Buzz Magazines holiday gift guide.

For more information on Crime Stoppers of Houston, go to crime-stoppers.org and follow Crime Stoppers on Facebook. Have topics in mind that you’d like Rania to write about? Email her directly at rmankarious@crime-stoppers.org. Connect with Rania on Instagram and Twitter. Read past Sundays with Rania posts here.

Editor's Note: Views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Buzz Magazines.

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