Cunningham Family's Adventures Thru the USA


Two years and nine months later…

Two years and nine months seem like a blur. How is possible for time to move so quickly?

I wonder that all the time.

At this point, we have stopped traveling now for the last 5 months and we are in the state of Montana… I know what you must be thinking… “In your last set of entries, you said you were still in Connecticut.”


It has been a long time since my last entry. I truly thought I would have updated as we went along, or at least that was my intention. -laughs- It seems you will not always find an internet connection while on the road, and steady campground wifi is a fickle thing and I suggest using a booster. It’s worth it. Also password protect it so other can’t piggy back off you and steal all your signal. -winks- Well worth the effort.

Well first off, I want to say we have thought about returning to the road everyday since we have stopped. It has become an internal struggle: To Stay or To Go

For as many hardships we experienced on the road, in all we were truly blessed. Only 1 serious illness (suffered by my husband and I), but No serious injuries. No serious car fails. Well i guess that isn’t completely true. Let me think about this… We started October 2011 in the Van. Rented a house in South Carolina 2012. Bounced between Florida and Connecticut 2012-2013 and December 2013 we officially got on the road with the kids AND the camper. January 2014 our engine spun a rod, costing us $10,000. Ugh.

We traveled to 28 states in 14 months.

USA522letterBWPrintMap Key:

  • Yellow: States Started & Stopped
  • Green: States Traveled During Our Trip
  • Red: States Still Waiting to be Seen

Step 1: Herbal Colon Cleansing

One of the most effective ways to begin ridding yourself of parasites is with a detoxification of your entire body, starting with your colon.

Colonic irrigation and herbal cleansing can help to remove parasites, mucus, and toxins that have built up in your colon.

Everyone has parasites.

They love life in the human colon because they thrive on human waste. So why not use common sense wisdom and clean up our colons regularly with colon cleanses?

By flushing out waste, passing stool is easier, transit times are improved, the unlucky parasites will have less time to take their foothold, and there will be nothing left for them to feed on.

This means your body will become an inhospitable host, reducing the likelihood of further parasitic infestation.

Numerous societies around the globe use natural alternative medicines derived mainly from plants for treatment of common ailments. Herbs have been used for thousands of years because of their proven track record for successfully purging parasites from the body. They help to increase the wave-like motion in the colon that propels waste along, while at the same time toning colon muscles.

Many herbs are more effective, and easier on the system, when used in conjunction with other herbs. A cleansing program that combines a variety of herbs in order to purge parasites from the body is preferable.

Puristat’s colon cleanse is composed of 23 herbal ingredients including cascara sagrada, buckthorn bark, ginger root, cayenne pepper, psyllium husk, fennel seed, and rhubarb root – all highly effective for expelling parasites and their eggs.

These herbs also have analgesic properties that can help relieve the inflammation, constipation, nausea, abdominal cramping, bloating, flatulence, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach ache that often accompany an infestation.

Removing impurities also goes a long way toward helping your body absorb nutrients, enhancing energy levels, and increasing regularity…all necessary aspects of getting back on track after a parasitic infestation.

After cleansing your colon, it’s important to restore certain bacteria to prevent unhealthy bacteria from inhabiting the area. Probiotics are the good bacteria your system needs in order to restore its healthy flora.

It’s recommended you begin a cleanse with considerably less than the suggested dosage if you’re elderly. For example, one half to one tablet the first day, increasing daily until you regularly produce one to three bowel movements per day.

Return to Parasites

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Life the last few months has been fairly amazing. We are living the country dream. -smiles-

But is this life for us?

I wake up every morning about 6 am to take the puppies out, feed and water them. Feed and water the chickens, let them out of their coop. Loop around the house to the garden.

Awe! The Garden!

Loaded with Onions, Garlic, Corn, Peas, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Watermelons, Pumpkins, Cantaloupes, Strawberries, Broccoli, Spinach, Lettuce, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Cucumber, Lima Beans, Soy Beans, Basil, Rosemary, Parsley, Mint, Peppers…

85 feet by 45 feet.

What a master piece and a cluster f#ck! -laughs-

I also walk the yard for wild flowers. Check on the figs, and the pears…

It’s a very simple life.

The kids  are about to complete their 1st year of homeschooling. 8 more days… Man, what an experience! We did most the year with straight homeschooling, the last few months completely an online public school. That was INTENSE!

I found so many holes in my teachings and yet some things; they knew like the back of their hands, a full grade early. Both kids would like to return to regular public school next year. Due to lack of a social life. Part of me is so Happy. -smiles- But the other part of me really enjoyed it. I believe that I have collected enough materials to home school the babies. So I have started pre-school with the younger 2 while finishing up the last 8 days of the older 2 online school.

So… Big news…

True to our ever Gypsy ways we have decided that we did this all wrong and we must come full circle. As of June 19th we are moving back to Connecticut.

Now I know what you must be thinking!


-laughs- Well, it’s complicated. It’s all about money if you must know the truth. Minimal wage here in South Carolina is well, just too minimal. And we have to crack down and really save right for an RV. We traveled for the last 10 months but we didn’t really do it right. So we are going home to hang with our friends while we try this again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I cant wait to get our pups Meatball and Sierra. I also excited that dad made a tire swing and he got a 45 inch tv + a 55. I’m also glad that I have  my own room because I get privacy from the girls. I can’t wait for all our toys from Connecticut. I love that dad lets me  shoot his new gun. also I love that we have a big yard.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh man, what a life here S.C.! I can not believe that we rented a mini farm!!!!! I love it here!! Oh that reminds me we are getting 2 little cute puppies. Were getting a boy & a girl.Their names are Sierra & Meat ball. Last weekend we visited the shelter. There were so many  animals like cats, dogs & even a couple birds! After a couple hours we left.The soonest we can get them is next weekend!!!!! I CAN NOT WAIT!! Well I have to go. Peace out peeps.



Christmas Wreath


  • A lot of Green and Red Construction Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Glitter or glitter glue
  • Red or Green Ribbon


  1. Trace your hand on a piece of construction paper and then cut it out at least 10 hand prints for each wreath.
  2. Next, glue the hand prints together at the wrists, overlapping slightly, in a circle.
  3. At this point you can add hearts like William wanted, or a nice red bow, glitter, stickers, add stringed pop corn by weaving it through the fingers… Whatever you can think to add…

My kids chose red, green, yellow and brown for fall instead of Christmas, even though we were doing a Christmas project. -laughs- They told me “75′ degree weather, did not classify as winter.” It’s not in the teens at the moment so how could I argue? Then they used their hand prints as well as their younger brother and sister’s hand and foot prints… and Little Bill insisted it wasn’t complete without a heart at the top.

Funny Photographs


  • Magazines
  • Heavy Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paste


  1. Draw the shape of the head on a piece of heavy construction paper.
  2. Look through magazines and find eyes, ears, lips and a nose for your face. Maybe you could pick 2 different color eyes or a really big nose and little ears. The choice is yours.
  3. After you cut them out, glue the pieces on to the head that you have drawn on your paper.
  4. Now do you want to add accessories? A mustache, a beard, a cane and a top hat? A necklace, earrings, maybe a silly hair style?
  5. Finally look for arms, legs, shoes…
  6. Be as creative as you can be. The point is to have fun and make a silly photograph!
  7. If you really wanna spice the picture up, You can add an unusual background. Maybe skiing in the desert, or wearing a swim suit in the snow… So on and forth.
  8. Now if you really want to give it so personality, add funny objects, unusual pets, or make the people do silly things.


Homemade Magnets on a Budget

Super easy homemade Magnets, made on a budget…

Takes about an hour or less, depending


  • Decorative paper
  • Plain paper
  • Crayons, Markers or Colored Pencils
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive magnetic sheet
  • Clear box tape


  1. Have the children draw cute little pictures, taking in consideration the size and weight ratio.  Cut them out. You can glue them to some construction paper or some other type of decorative paper, if you want.
  2. Once dry, take the clear box tape and start the laminating process by adding one strip at a time, making sure to leave at least 1/8  inch border of the taping around the picture. I like a little more so I can write the name and year around the border.
  3. Now that it’s all trimmed up, Peel the adhesive covering off the magnet stripping and stick it to the back of your laminated picture. If you can’t find the adhesive magnets, you could cut up an old magnet on the fridge. Then just use super glue or hot glue to hold it in place.

Word of Caution:

To keep the hot glue from ruining the box tape, place hot glue on the magnet first, then allow a few seconds to cool before putting into place.

Elmers glue doesn’t hold in the long run, and it tends to shift the magnet as it’s drying, so I wouldn’t even bother.

A Note from Me

I thought maybe I should take a few minutes out to tell you a little bit about myself. I have been an at home Mom for the past 8 years. Working a few jobs here and there when needed. I spent 2 years on the PTO at West Vine Street Elm. in Connecticut. Sharing my time when I could but I never really thought of my self as a Teacher…

When being addressed with homeschooling; I had considered it a few times in the past but quickly became overwhelmed and abandoned the idea. And the truth of the matter is, I was terrified about being held responsible for their education. I mean, what if I screw it up…?

I know many of “us” are struggling with the very same thoughts and feelings.

Then, I came across a book that talked about “us” (parents, grandparents and such) as being more than capable to teach our children and no one on earth would care for them more.

And I thought to myself, they’re right.

We teach our children how to walk, talk, jump, dance, share, their ABC’s, how to recognize colors, how to count, blow bubbles, read road signs and about different shapes,  to read, ride a bike, swim, skate, eat politely, to have manners, about different safety concerns, about sickness, friendship and conflicts, importance of cleanliness, about animals and insects, about anger issues, and money concerns, how to fish, hunt and canoe, how to speak more than one language, how to drive cars and so much more….

So, I guess it does just depend on what label you slap on it.

Now there is a lot of hype about whether you should home school or participate in an online public school. I have heard good and bad things about both.

To anyone who is interested in the idea of Homeschooling, you need to start with your local Board of Education office.

I had tossed the idea of both online public schooling and straight homeschooling around in my head for weeks, turns out there is no online school for under 6 grade in my county. So you just never know.

The only thing I am not extremely crazy about is the idea of no curriculum.

She said it’s completely up to me…

Hummm, that helps.


So, I spoke with a friend who happens to be a Teacher in the state of Connecticut. She directed me to go to “Common Core“.

(And Thank you again!)

She says, “Go to their main website and download both the Language Arts and Math Standards.  Connecticut has recently adopted these standards, as will all states eventually.  This way the whole United States is working towards the same learning standards.  You will see by grade level all the skills the students are expected to be working towards.  You will see reading, listening, writing, and grammar, as well as math skills for each grade.”

Awesome! That’s a start!

Another great site I have found is for Subject Matter.

Anyways, as the weeks turn into months, I notice that my day-to-day life has changed because everything we do becomes a lesson.

To the county, it’s all about the way you document it.

But that’s the easy part, but it requires you to be dedicated. Taking pics, keeping a video log of the kids, keeping a portfolio (or a teacher planner), keeping examples of their work (you can even scan it into your computer and save it to a disk if you wanted to), keep a reading log and a journal.

Anyways, it’s a slow process but a worthy one.

It’s a complete change of thinking…

But how does the saying go…

Oh yeah…

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”

One more thing…

De Soto National Park

Spanish Conquistador Hernando De Soto first landed at Shaw’s point, just west of Bradenton in 1539.

From the mouth of the Manatee River, he led an expeditionary force in search of gold and other riches. Hernando De Soto was searching for the legendary El Dorado at Shaw’s Point. Later it became the name of a legendary “Lost City of Gold” that has fascinated – and so far eluded – explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. Though many have searched for years on end to find this city of gold, no evidence of such a place has been found.

This interesting story is told in more detail at the De Soto National Memorial Park.

This park has very limited exhibits at its visitors center and a nature trail that overlooks the beautiful Manatee River.

After a quick History Lesson. We had a school lesson about crabs.

While the kids were learning about crab habitats from their Uncle Jake, I took pictures of the mangroves.

Overall, we enjoyed ourselves. Exploring and venturing and learning new things.

John F. Kennedy Space Center

Cape Canaveral from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, near the center of that state’s Atlantic coast 45 minutes East of Orlando by car. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it sits due east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River. It is part of a region known as the Space Coast, and is the site of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Since many United States spacecraft are launched from both the station and the Kennedy Space Center on nearby Merritt Island, the term “Cape Canaveral” or “Canaveral” has become a metonym that refers to both as the launch site of spacecraft. The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the NASA space vehicle launch facility and Launch Control Center (spaceport) on Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida, United States. The site is 34 miles (55 km) long and around 6 miles (10 km) wide, covering 219 square miles (567 km2). A total of 13,500 people work at the site as of early 2008. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is home to a number of museums, two IMAX theatres, and a range of bus tours allowing visitors a closer look at various restricted areas that would otherwise not be possible. This includes tour-bus transportation into the restricted area to an observation gantry on the grounds of Launch Complex 39, and to the Apollo-Saturn V Center. The observation gantry provides unobstructed views of both launch pads and all of Kennedy Space Center property. The site is home to the so-called Rocket Garden, a permanent display of unused rockets and missiles.

Robinson Preserve

1709 99th St. NW Bradenton, FL 34209

Robinson Preserve was a great place to take the kids.

 There are 56 acres of marshland with 2 1/2 miles of kayaking and canoeing streams.

10 acres of uplands complete with 6 nature trails and as many bridges winding around the mangroves.

 The 500 foot boardwalk makes it a great location for bird watching…

and the trails are great for hiking, biking or simply chasing around tots.

While the family went fishing…

Gabbie and I hung back to take pictures of the marsh.

Finally after becoming bored, I decided to go canoeing with the family. That was pretty fun, but Gabbie did add a challenge… Okay A LOT of a Challenge.

But it was so worth it…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is for ALL Parents…

This is for the mothers and fathers who sit up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, ‘It’s okay honey, Mommy’s/Daddy’s here.’

For mothers and fathers who sit in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who just can not be comforted.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their shirts and diapers in their things.

For all the mothers and fathers who run carpools, make cookies and sew costumes. And all the mothers and fathers who DO NOT.

This is for the mothers and fathers who give birth to babies they’ll never see. And the mothers and fathers who take those babies and give them homes.

This is for the mothers and fathers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers and fathers who freeze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars… so that when their kids ask, ‘Did you see me, Mom/Dad?’ they can say, ‘Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,’ and meant it.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers and fathers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who sit down with their children and explain all about making babies. And for all the (grand) mothers and fathers who want to, but just can’t find the words.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers and fathers who read ‘Goodnight, Moon’ twice a night for a year. And then read it again, ‘Just one more time.’

This is for all the mothers and fathers who teach their children to tie their shoelaces before they start school. And for all the mothers and fathers who opt for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for EVERY mother and father whose head turns automatically when a little voice yells ‘Mom/Dad?’ in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home — or away at college — or off with their own families.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who send their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they’d be just FINE once they got there, only to get a call from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please picked up…  “Right away.”

This is for mothers and fathers whose children have gone astray, and those who can’t find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers and fathers who bite their lips until they bleed, when their 14 year old dyes their hair green.

This is for all the mothers and fathers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good mother or father anyway?

Is it patience? Compassion? The ability to feed a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in their heart?

Is it the ache they feel when they watch their son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes them from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put their hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when they just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in their home…

The emotions of parenthood are universal and so my heart goes out to all the young parents stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation… And for mature parents learning to let go.

For working parents, stay-at-home parents.

Single parents, and married parents.

Parents with money, and parents without.

This is for you all.  For all of us…

Hang in there.

In the end we can only do the best we can.

Tell them every day that we love them and pray.

And above all never stop being…  a Mother or a Father….

“Home is what catches you when you fall – and we all fall.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Last   Friday, I got to go my cousin’s chastity and Alisha’s house. We planted a cool garden that we put old or dying plants in it. We also watched goose bumps in the living room; we also watched spooky buddies’ it was about these puppies who help save a puppy’s spirit from a dog called the Halloween hound. After we finished the movie we had delicious pizzas.

Fishing with Children

  • Have Patience

There is absolutely no way that you can be successful in teaching a child to fish without patience. They are going to frustrate you, aggravate you, and in all likelihood will either loose or break at least some of your tackle in the process.

  • Don’t Use Your Best Tackle

Locate some tackle that is in good working order that will not be a great loss to you if it doesn’t come back.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

Like other skills, casting and handling a rod and reel takes practice. Maybe try practicing casting dummy lures (that means with NO HOOKS!). Adjust the casting reel to help prevent most backlashes, and then sit down with them and advise them on how to fix the backlashes that would occur. They need to be confident that they can do it themselves. Otherwise they will come running to you on every backlash.

  • Patience, Patience, Patience

Remember to be Patient!

  • Take Them to Fish Where They Might Actually Catch Fish

This may mean going to a local park or duck pond. Remember it really doesn’t matter what kind of fish they catch as long as they catch fish! The worst thing to do at this point is to take them on an all day expedition where you do all the fishing and they get banished to the front of the boat because they are “in the way”. You MUST make these fishing trips specifically for them. They need to catch, not just fish. Nothing turns a kid off faster than fishing for several hours and either not catching anything or having to stay out of the way while you catch everything!

  • Cheer and Encourage

Cheer every time they catch a fish. Encourage them when they miss a bite. Always be positive. You can’t cheer enough. They actually are looking to please you by catching a fish. They want to catch a fish to show you that they can do it.

  • Patience, Patience, Patience

Did I mention patience?

  • Catch and Release or Catch and Eat?

Try to catch at least a few fish that you can take home, clean (with the youngster’s help, of course) and then cook and eat.

For all the rest of the fish you need to explain – in their terms – why we need to keep only what we plan to eat and release all the others. Plant this seed early and they will practice conservation of the resource their whole life.

  • Clean Up

If you were fishing in your boat, let them help while you clean it. Let them know that, especially in saltwater, they need to wash their tackle after every trip. This is another seed to plant early.

  • And Lastly – Have Patience -smiles-

This is obviously the most important factor in all you do. Loosing your temper or getting angry will absolutely turn a kid off.


Many conditions mimic the signs and symptoms of poisoning, including seizures, alcohol intoxication, stroke and an insulin reaction.

So look for the signs and symptoms listed below and if you suspect poisoning, call your regional poison control center or, in the United States, the National Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 before giving anything to the affected person.

Signs and symptoms of poisoning:

  • Burns or redness around the mouth and lips, from drinking certain poisons
  • Breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner
  • Burns, stains and odors on the person, on his or her clothing, or on the furniture, floor, rugs or other objects in the surrounding area
  • Empty medication bottles or scattered pills
  • Vomiting, difficulty breathing, sleepiness, confusion or other unexpected signs

When to call for help:

Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if the person is:

  • Drowsy or unconscious
  • Having difficulty breathing or has stopped breathing
  • Uncontrollably restless or agitated
  • Having seizures

If the person seems stable and has no symptoms, but you suspect poisoning, call your regional poison control center or, in the United States, the National Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222. Provide information about the person’s symptoms, the person’s age and weight, and any information you have about the poison, such as amount and how long since the person was exposed to it. It helps to have the pill bottle or poison container on hand when you call.

I have only had to call them twice so far. Once for Little Bill eating almost an entire bottle of Tums, and once when Nathan got a hold of a bottle of cough medicine and dumped it all over the floor.

What happened with Little Bill was, they told me that consuming that many Tums would just cause constipation.  He would be just fine.

With Nathan no one was sure how much he actually consumed of the amount missing from the bottle, if any. There was however, a major spill on his bedroom floor, so right a way that had to be a good sign?

But I had to call them any way…

They told me that basically, at age 2 he would have to consume almost all 4 oz of that particular type of cough medicine before it was really considered an overdose that I would need to be concerned with. They keep tabs on him for a few hours but in the long run, he was just fine…

Talk about freaking me out though…

Not everything kids consume will have a happy ending, so keep the number available to you at all times.

What to do while waiting for help:

  • If the person has been exposed to poisonous fumes, such as carbon monoxide, get him or her into fresh air immediately.
  • If the person swallowed the poison, remove anything remaining in the mouth.
  • If the suspected poison is a household cleaner or other chemical, read the label and follow instructions for accidental poisoning. If the product is toxic, the label will likely advise you to call the poison control center at 800-222-1222. Also call this 800 number if you can’t identify the poison, if it’s medication or if there are no instructions.
  • Follow treatment directions that are given by the poison control center.
  • If the poison spilled on the person’s clothing, skin or eyes, remove the clothing. Flush the skin or eyes with cool or lukewarm water, such as by using a shower for 20 minutes or until help arrives.
  • Make sure the person is breathing. If not, start rescue breathing and CPR.
  • Take the poison container (or any pill bottles) with you to the hospital.

What NOT to do

Don’t give ipecac syrup or do anything to induce vomiting.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises discarding ipecac in the home, saying there’s no good evidence of effectiveness and that it can do more harm than good.

First-aid kits

A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies.

Keep at least one first-aid kit in your RV, one in your backpack and one in your car. Store your kits in easy-to-retrieve locations that are out of the reach of young children.

Children old enough to understand the purpose of the kits should know where they are stored. You can purchase first-aid kits at many drugstores or assemble your own.

Contents of a first-aid kit should include:

Basic supplies

  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic solution or towelettes
  • Bandages, including a roll of elastic wrap (Ace, Coban, others) and bandage strips (Band-Aid, Curad, others) in assorted sizes
  • Instant cold packs
  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
  • Disposable latex or synthetic gloves, at least two pairs
  • Duct tape
  • Gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes
  • Eye goggles
  • First-aid manual
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
  • Safety pins in assorted sizes
  • Tooth preservation kit consisting of salt solution and a sealable travel case
  • Scissors, tweezers and a needle
  • Soap or instant hand sanitizer
  • Sterile eyewash, such as a saline solution
  • Thermometer
  • Triangular bandage
  • Turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing out wounds


  • Activated charcoal (use only if instructed by your poison control center)
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Over-the-counter oral antihistamine (Benadryl, others)
  • Aspirin and nonaspirin pain relievers (never give aspirin to children)
  • Calamine lotion
  • Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream
  • Personal medications that don’t need refrigeration
  • If prescribed by your doctor, drugs to treat an allergic attack, such as an auto-injector of epinephrine (EpiPen)
  • Syringe, medicine cup or spoon

Emergency items

  • Cell phone and recharger that uses the accessory plug in your car dash
  • Emergency phone numbers, including contact information for your family doctor and pediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers and the regional poison control center
  • Medical consent forms for each family member
  • Medical history forms for each family member
  • Small, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries
  • Candles and matches for cold climates
  • Sunscreen
  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • First-aid instruction manual

Give your kit a checkup
Check your first-aid kits at least every three months, to be sure the flashlight batteries work and to replace supplies that may have expired.

And Remember, it never hurts to take a first-aid course to prepare for a possible medical emergency. Be sure the course covers cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Renew your CPR certification at least every two years.

Prepare children for medical emergencies in age-appropriate ways.

The American Red Cross offers a number of helpful resources, including classes designed to help children understand and use first-aid techniques.


Your normal temperature may differ slightly from the average body temperature of 98.6 F (37 C). A fever is a sign of a variety of medical conditions, which includes infections.

For young children and infants, even slightly elevated temperatures may indicate of infection. In newborns, either a subnormal temperature or a fever may be a sign of serious illness. For adults, a fever usually isn’t dangerous until it reaches 103 F (39.4 C) or higher.

Don’t treat fevers below 102 F (38.9 C) with any medications unless your doctor tells you to. I don’t even offer the children Tylenol at this point.

If you have a fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher, your doctor may suggest taking an over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others).

Adults also may use aspirin, but don’t give aspirin to children. It may trigger a rare, but potentially fatal, disorder known as Reye’s syndrome. Also, don’t give ibuprofen to infants younger than 6 months of age.

How to take a temperature

Most thermometers today have a digital readout. Some can take a very quick temperture from the forehead or ear canal; others can be used orally, rectally or under the arm.

 Under normal circumstances, temperatures tend to be highest around 4 p.m. and lowest around 4 a.m.

Because of the potential for mercury exposure or ingestion, glass mercury thermometers have been phased out and are no longer recommended.

Rectally (for infants)
To take your child’s temperature rectally:

  • Place a dab of petroleum jelly or other lubricant on the bulb.
  • Lay your child on his or her stomach.
  • Carefully insert the bulb one-half inch to one inch into the rectum.
  • Hold the bulb and child still for three minutes. To avoid injury, don’t let go of the thermometer while it’s inside your child.
  • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature as recommended by the manufacturer.

Taking a rectal temperature is also an option for older adults when taking an oral temperature is not possible. A rectal temperature reading is generally 1 degree Fahrenheit (about 0.5 degree Celsius) higher than an oral reading.

To take your temperature orally:

  • Place the bulb under your tongue
  • Close your mouth for the recommended amount of time, usually three minutes

Under the arm (axillary)
Although it’s not the most accurate way to take a temperature, you can also use an oral thermometer for an armpit reading:

  • Place the thermometer under your arm with your arm down.
  • Hold your arms across your chest.
  • Wait five minutes or as recommended by your thermometer’s manufacturer.
  • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature.

To take your child’s axillary temperature, have the child sit in your lap, facing to the side. Place the thermometer under your child’s near arm, which should be against your chest.

An axillary reading is generally 1 degree Fahrenheit (about 0.5 degree Celsius) lower than an oral reading.

Get medical help for a fever if:

  • A baby younger than 3 months has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher, even if your baby doesn’t have other signs or symptoms
  • A baby older than 3 months has a temperature of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher
  • A newborn has a lower than normal temperature — less than 97 F (36.1 C) rectally
  • A child younger than age 2 has a fever longer than one day, or a child age 2 or older has a fever longer than three days
  • An adult has a temperature of more than 103 F (39.4 C) or has had a fever for more than three days

Call your doctor immediately if your child has a fever after being left in a hot car or if a child or adult has any of these signs or symptoms with a fever:

  • A severe headache
  • Severe swelling of the throat
  • Unusual skin rash
  • Unusual eye sensitivity to bright light
  • A stiff neck and pain when the head is bent forward
  • Mental confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Extreme listlessness or irritability
  • Abdominal pain or pain when urinating
  • Other unexplained symptoms

Electrical shock

The danger from an electrical shock depends on the type of current, how high the voltage is, how the current traveled through the body, the person’s overall health and how quickly the person is treated.

Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if any of these signs or symptoms occur:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Respiratory failure
  • Muscle pain and contractions
  • Burns
  • Seizures
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Unconsciousness

While waiting for medical help, follow these steps:

  • Look first. Don’t touch. The person may still be in contact with the electrical source. Touching the person may pass the current through you.
  • Turn off the source of electricity, if possible. If not, move the source away from you and the person, using a nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.
  • Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If absent, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
  • Prevent shock. Lay the person down and, if possible, position the head slightly lower than the trunk, with the legs elevated.

After coming into contact with electricity, the person should see a doctor to check for internal injuries, even if he or she has no obvious signs or symptoms.


  • Don’t touch the person with your bare hands if he or she is still in contact with the electrical current.
  • Don’t get near high-voltage wires until the power is turned off. Stay at least 20 feet away — farther if wires are jumping and sparking.
  • Don’t move a person with an electrical injury unless the person is in immediate danger.