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Question of the Week: Should We Ban Cell Phone Use While Driving?

A new study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving raised the collision risk by 23 times more than driving while not texting. Also, a previous study showed that dialing a number on a cell phone raised the risk by three times, while speaking on a phone made a crash 1.3 times more likely.

Texting while driving: a deadly combination. Right?

Texting while driving: a deadly combination. Right?

Still, there’s the question of whether states should straight out ban phone use while driving. Currently, four states (plus Washington D.C.) have banned all handheld use while operating a motor vehicle; fourteen have specifically banned texting. Still, each state varies on the particulars — whether enforcement is primary or secondary, if it’s specific for novice drivers, etc. The Governor’s Highway Safety Assocation has a handy chart that tracks each state’s legislation on cell phone driving laws.

What’re your thoughts? Should cell phone bans be enforced, or can they even be enforced? Does using a hands-free headset make it safer? Discuss below!

Parks and Celebration: Photos of the Country's 13 Best National Parks

National parks are a prime destination for family vacations because they’re accessible, awe-inspiring, and inexpensive. There’s no doubt that the United States has some of the world’s greatest natural resources, and in fact, there’s much debate over which national park is the best.

But trying to pick just one is like comparing apples to oranges—or maybe in this case, forests to deserts. Still, one of our favorite lists is Frommer’s “Best National Parks for a Family Vacation,” which features some of the countries most breathtaking outdoor locations and represents great parks on both coasts.

Arcadia National Park, ME

Arcadia National Park, ME. Photo by bronayur.

Photo by bronayur.

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Blogger Spotlight: Alison Rhodes

Wherever there’s danger, Alison Rhodes is there to tell you how to prevent it. Better known as “The Safety Mom,” Rhodes is a leading expert on child safety, health and wellness, and “going green.” She has made television appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America Now, ABC World News Tonight, NBC’s Open House, and CNN, and has been featured on American Baby Magazine, Parents, BabyTalk, Parenting.com and Expectant Mother Magazine. She blogs regularly at The Safety Chronicles, which is one of our favorites here at Life360.

We recently spoke with Rhodes, who shared her best summer safety tips, what she’s currently reading, and more.

Alison Rhodes, the Safety Mom.

Alison Rhodes, the Safety Mom.

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The Bare Bones of Bear Safety

They're cute, but their mom can rip the roof off your Honda Accord. Steer Clear. Photo by Ron Niebrugge

They're cute, but their mom can rip the roof off your Honda Accord. Steer Clear. Photo by Ron Niebrugge.

In the 1950s, the intrepid scientist Dr. Raymond Hock decided to discover once and for all if bears in fact hibernated—and thus experienced a dramatic decrease in body temp and metabolic rate—or whether they just entered a period of winter lethargy.

A 1985 New York Times article reported that Hock conducted this experiment on a tame bear, lured into standing from its slumber by dangling maraschino cherries over its nose. When the newly roused bear stood, a rectal thermometer was quickly inserted. Bears do not hibernate; Dr. Hock has some impressive scars to prove this and that bears wake up angry. Read more »

Doing More Harm than Good: 8 First Aid Myths

Hyperventilating? Turns out the brown bag is the worst solution.

Hyperventilating? Turns out the brown bag is the worst solution.

When I was kid and I burned my fingers on the stove, my mom slathered butter on the wound. This is just one of many household myths about first aid that can actually make things worse.

Learn to be wary of any first aid advice that you can’t reason out or reminds you of something the witch from Hansel and Gretel might do. We decided to do some research and compile our favorite well-intentioned but ultimately hurtful health tips.

1. Putting butter on a burn Giving a whole new meaning to butter fingers, in reality the oils from butter hold in heat, which is probably not what you’re going for. Instead, use cold water, which makes more sense and has fewer calories. Read more »

Marathoner Beware: Drink H20 with Care

Thirsty? Photo by david.ian.roberts

Thirsty? Photo by david.ian.roberts

Water: you can’t get through a marathon—or much else for that matter—without it, but how much should you actually drink for one of these races?

The right amount depends on factors that vary from person to person (how much you sweat, the amount of time you’re running, your size) so there’s no perfect formula, but research over the last several years has shown that people can, and all too often do, over-hydrate for these 26.2 mile challenges.

Excessive consumption of H20 before and during a marathon leads to hyponatremia, a condition caused by low rates of sodium in the blood, which has produced fatal swelling in the brain in severe cases. According to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the best way to tell if you’re drinking too much water is by checking your weight: if it goes up during exercise, it’s a sign you need to cut back on fluids.

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Get Into Scuba Diving

Exploring the deep blue sea.

Exploring the deep blue sea.

I think at some point, we all have the desire to make like Jacques Cousteau (or for our younger, Wes Anderson-inspired audience, Steve Zissou) and explore the depths of the ocean. But what does it take to actually go scuba diving? How much does it cost? Is it safe?

I pitched these questions to Heidi Wilken, an independent scuba instructor based in the Seattle area. Scuba diving requires a bit of commitment, but the experience is unlike any other. “Three fourths of the planet is covered in ocean,” Wilken said. “If you never go diving, you’ll miss out on most of the world.”

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