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My Precious Kid Review by Donna Campos

527 SE Baseline St. Suite A
Hillsboro OR 97123

My Precious Kid is a company that provides child safety products and baby gear to homes and schools. This review is for two separate products, both intended to teach safety to children from 4 to 8 years and older.

The What's the Safest Thing to Do? CD-Rom is a computer game for children from 4 to 8 years old. The game covers various topics, including accident prevention, car safety, fire prevention, stranger awareness, and water safety. Thirty-five different scenarios address safety issues pertinent to children. The game does not install any components onto the computer and is a self-run program requiring the CD in order to play. The included instruction booklet encourages parents to discuss certain concepts with their children--like "trusted adults," "getting permission," and exactly who is a "stranger." The booklet provides a list of 23 safety topics and the numbers of the scenarios that address each topic. Two pages of "Program Directions" walk the user through use of the program. The program is set to run with two options, either by a child ("If you are a kid") or a parent ("If you are a grownup"). The two sections are clearly defined and lead to different formats of the same program.

The program begins by introducing "Betsy the Butterfly" and various "Safety Tots." These characters present a scenario and then provide choices so that the viewer can choose the correct decision to be made in that scenario. If the child chooses correctly, Betsy says, "All Right!" If he answers incorrectly, Betsy says, "Oh No!" Once the correct answer is given, the scene completes with an overview of that particular topic. I probably would not have called this a game; it is more a question-and-answer session presented in a child-friendly cartoon style. That said, my children enjoyed the program and asked to repeat it. I have learned that what I find interesting or entertaining is not always what my children consider entertaining. The "If you are a kid" version of the program runs through the scenarios in order from #1 to #35. The "If you are a grownup" format lets you decide whether to view the scenarios in order or to choose specific topics to view. Either format successfully moves you through the program, but certainly the adult format is more flexible. Families may choose to focus on a particular topic--perhaps water safety as summer approaches or stranger awareness before a family trip. I do believe parents should play this game along with their children, as some of the subject matter needs to be discussed.

The game claims to address such skills as letter, word, number, and color recognition. We found this to be a stretch, although those things do exist in the program. Three "detours" are hidden in the program as a bonus surprise for kids, and magical aspects are included as children are magically whisked away to another part of the game and then returned, but these elements are presented in a fun way. The voices of the Safety Tots leave a little to be desired. I would have preferred the voices of children rather than an adult trying to sound like a child. Also, it is worth noting that the game can be completed through trial and error. Children who simply guess without paying attention to the content will miss the point--another reason to play/view with a parent!

Although I didn't consider this program a game necessarily, my son certainly did and requested to play it repeatedly. The age range is stated to be 4 to 8, but our 2 and 3-year-olds enjoyed it just as much as our 10-year-old did. The game covers important topics--from biking and skating safety to fire prevention, lightning and storms, and firearm safety. We enjoyed "What's The Safest Thing To Do?" and encourage families to play it together.

The Kid Escape! From Child Abductors DVD is 50 minutes long and comes in a sturdy plastic DVD case (no booklet insert included). It was designed by John Hall, a self-defense trainer with 17 years of experience, and it is intended for children 4 years of age and older. Hall explains a concept new to most children called the "Grip, Dip, and Spin" maneuver, which is intended to help them escape in the event of an abduction attempt. The DVD is divided into various scenarios, with demonstrations by both Hall's six-year-old son and a ten-year-old little girl. Hall reiterates the various points a child needs to learn and demonstrates them clearly with the children. Scenes include being abducted while bike riding, riding a scooter, and walking; being picked up and carried over the shoulder of an adult; and being forced into a vehicle. Even the dreaded scenario of what to do if a child has been abducted and is inside a vehicle with an abductor is covered.

The "Grip, Dip, and Spin" move is a fairly dangerous maneuver, as the child is working toward grabbing hold of the abductor at the ankles and wrapping his arms and legs securely. It is made clear repeatedly that these moves are dangerous and that children may be injured using them, but better an injury and an escape than no injury and an abduction. In the demonstrations, heavy black gym pads were used to cushion the children. No uncontrolled fall or anything of that nature is represented during the program, as the moves are fairly controlled. At one point John uses the phrase "No way in heck" as he is trying to get across some very serious points. The DVD is intended for viewing with parents and/or teachers, and I would be wary of viewing with preschoolers even though it is intended for children four years and older. Biting and eye gouging is addressed, and younger children may not handle the information as responsibly as older children. The viewer is asked to commit to regularly viewing the last portion of the DVD as practice for children. It will take a lot of practice to make the moves second nature to children and therefore readily used when necessary.

This was an interesting DVD for our family. At first I questioned the need for such techniques. But after viewing and discussing the ideas with our children of various ages (from 10 to 18), we consider the method to be worthy of practice and discussion with children. We did find it hard to view without giggling, as Hall's six-year-old son has a grin plastered across his face through most of the demonstrations. I encourage any family wanting to increase their children's safety skills to purchase the "Kid Escape!" DVD. View it as a family, setting up regular time to practice the maneuvers until your children will fight instinctively in the event of an abduction attempt! I would also add that much of the technique could be well used by a grown woman placed in a similar situation, adding overall educational value for the entire family.

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2009