Hot tips for lunchtime safety
SCHOOL bells are ringing this week, and that means it's time to make school lunches.
If your youngsters brown-bag it, here are some safety suggestions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline:
* Here's the basic rule: Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. That means keeping them out of the danger zone -- 40 to 140 degrees -- in which bacteria live and grow.
* If you are using a brown bag, throw it out after using it. It can harbor germs. If you are using a lunch box, wash it every night. A once-a-week rinse with baking soda keeps odors down.
* Keep lunches out of direct sun and away from radiators.
* For more information about brown-bag safety, call the hot line at (800) 535-4555 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.
Do your youngsters eat in the school cafeteria? Here's a new book that might be of interest: "Organizing for Better School Food." It's a handbook for those who want to improve school lunches. Published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit, consumer-interest group, the book explains how the National School Lunch Program operates and offers a step-by-step campaign for improving the quality of such
programs. The book is available for $7 from CSPI, 1875 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20009-5728.
All about science
With the bookin' season upon us, here's one for parents: "Helping Your Child Learn Science." It's a free booklet full of easy science projects most people can do at home -- how to make bubbles, how to make static electricity with balloons. There's also a section on places, such as farms and zoos, to take children to increase their science awareness. For a copy, send your name and address to Consumer Information Center, Department 611X, Pueblo, Colo. 81009.
* Sunday is Grandparents Day. Any grandparent accompanied a grandchild can ride a streetcar for 50 cents from noon to 5 p.m. at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum on Falls Road or go for free to the Cloisters Children's Museum, where they can play checkers and dominoes and create a family crest from noon until 4 p.m.
* Pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton returns to the cable airwaves this weekend with a new season of "What Every Baby Knows: An American Family Album." This year, Brazelton travels to six cities to look at the dynamics of community and environment on rearing children. The new shows are on Saturdays at 9 a.m. on Lifetime Television.
Family Forum welcomes items of interest to families. Notices about events must be received two weeks in advance. Send them to: Mary Maushard, Family Forum, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.