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Car Seat Safety

Buckle Up This Summer!

Your Child

Zip Lining Safety Tips

1:45

From the mountains of Costa Rica to over waterfalls in Hawaii, zip lining has become a vacation acivity destination. Zip lining operations can also be found in  summer camps, zoos, fields in the middle nowhere, people’s backyards and lots of other exotic and not-so- exotic locations.

Here’s how they work. A zip line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, typically made of stainless steel and mounted on an incline. A rider sits in a harness attached to a pulley. At the top of the slope, the user propels forward and gravity does the rest. Depending on your location, it can be quite a thrilling ride to the base.

One of the keys to a safe zip lining experience is knowing something about the company and the operator of the ride. Before you harness your child into a zip line at camp or during a family vacation, ask the operator questions about the ride’s safety and look around. Not every company follows the same safety rules. Though there are currently no national standards for zip line construction and operation, many states have them, and any legitimate operator should also adhere to the standards set by the Association for Challenge Course Technology or the Professional Ropes Course Association.

Here are some questions you can ask:

·      If the operation is inspected, how often and by whom.

·      What is the company’s safety record?

·      What training the operators have.

·      Is a safety demonstration included?

Check the area out once you arrive. Do the operators look professional? Look at the equipment provided, including carabiners, ropes, harnesses and helmets. Are they well maintained? Look at the course itself. Do the lines look free from wear and tear? How about the platforms? Do they look sturdy? Do they have guardrails?

Once on the course, make sure you're strapped onto a safety line at all times — not just while you're zipping through space. (Some places require that you have two safety lines hooked on.) Many accidents occur by a simple step off a platform. So if you're on the course (which often means many feet off the ground), you should be safely attached to a line that will catch you if you fall. Also, watch out for other adventurers and the guides. Don't get in their way.

Make sure everyone in the family who is zip lining wears a helmet and has closed-toe shoes.

Nearly 17,000 zip line injuries were treated in emergency rooms from 1997-2012, and most of those injuries were in the last four years, according to a 2015 study by Gary A. Smith, M.D., Dr.P.H., FAAP, and colleagues at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. About half the injuries involved children under 10 years old. Another 33% involved children ages 10-19 years. The study noted that many zip lines are not regulated, and there are no uniform safety standards.

The increase in the number of zip line injuries in children is “an epidemic by any definition,” according to Dr. Smith, past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

“If kids are using them, you really need to make sure they’re using them in places where people are trained, they know what they’re doing and the zip lines have been constructed in a way that they’re not going to fail,” said Dr. Smith.

Backyard zip line kits sold online and in stores also have been linked to injuries. Earlier this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled a backyard zip line kit (http://1.usa.gov/1XoHrFs) because of a design flaw that made it easy for the cable to separate from the line, causing riders to fall. Riders suffered head injuries and bruises. Another recall was issued in 2014 for backyard zip line trolleys (http://1.usa.gov/1RT6uaY) that released unexpectedly. No injuries were reported. Authors of the 2015 study warned against buying and installing backyard zip lines.

The AAP does not have a policy on zip lines and children. However, Dr. Smith suggested the following safety precautions:

·      Requiring riders to wear a helmet, harness and gloves;

·      Training operators;

·      Inspecting and maintaining equipment regularly; and

·      Posting rules and requiring participants to follow them.

“If done correctly, these and other types of outdoor amusements that are there for the thrill … can be done in a safe enough way that it’s reasonable for children to use them,” Dr. Smith said.

Story sources: Trisha Korioth, http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/07/07/ZipLines070716

John Donovan, http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/stories/6-things-do-you-go-zip-lining

Parenting

Fourth of July Safety Tips

2:00

For Americans, it doesn’t get any more patriotic than Independence Day- or as most folks call it- July 4th.  The holiday celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, in 1776.

It’s traditionally been a high-spirited holiday with fireworks, casual family and friends’ gatherings, parades, lake and pool parties, music and lots of food. 

All these activities help build life’s memorable moments, however, the one memory you don’t want is a visit to the emergency room.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while enjoying the Fourth:

Fireworks: It’s really best to leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you’re planning on setting off some during the Fourth of July celebrations, follow these tips:

1. Be sure fireworks are legal in your area before using or buying them

2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries

3. If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy in case of malfunction or fire.

4. If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them! Douse and soak them with water then throw them away.

5. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.

Grilling: Malfunctioning gas grills cause the majority of grill fires. In addition, thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.

1.     Use your grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under branches or overhangs.

2.     Open your gas grill before lighting.

3.     Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below your gas or propane grill so it cannot be ignited.

4.     Declare a three-foot "kid and pet-free zone" around the grill to keep them safe.

5.     Avoid loose clothing that can catch fire when cooking on the grill.

Water Safety: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

1.     Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

2.     Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

3.     Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.

4.     Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.

5.     If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.

6.     Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

7.     Always keep a charged cell phone with you for emergency use, but do not get distracted using your phone to text, surf the net or reading emails.

July 4th is a historic holiday and one that holds a special place in America’s heart.  Make sure your 4th is memorable for all the right reasons.

Happy Independence Day!

Story sources: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2016/06/30/ten-safety-tips-4th-july

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

http://www.iii.org/article/grilling-safely

 

Your Teen

FDA to Regulate E-cigarettes, Raise Age for Purchasing

2:00

Cigarette smoking among teens and young adults has been on a slight decline in the past few years, but e-cigarette use has been rapidly increasing.

Because there are no regulations and scant information on the products used to fuel e-cigarettes, many leading health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics have been urging the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to bring e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine under its authority.

The U.S. government has responded and taken action. The FDA issued a tough set of rules for the e-cigarette industry that included banning sales to anyone under 18, requiring package warning labels, and making all products—even those currently on the market—subject to government approval.

For many teen and health organizations, the ruling has been long overdue.

Though the product-approval process will be phased in during three years, that will be little solace to the fledgling but fast-growing $3.5 billion industry that has, until Aug. 8 when the rules take effect, largely been unregulated and dominated by small manufacturers and vape shops.

Many of the vape shops, device manufacturers and liquid nicotine producers are not happy with the change.

“This is going to be a grim day in the history of tobacco-harm reduction,” said Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, an industry-funded advocacy group. “It will be a day where thousands of small businesses will be contemplating whether they will continue to stay in business and employ people.”

In June, the FDA proposed requiring warning labels and childproof packaging because of an increase in nicotine exposure and poisoning incidents. The agency could move to regulate advertising or flavors such as cotton candy and watermelon that also might appeal to youth.

“We’re looking at the flavor issue with e-cigarettes,” said FDA Tobacco Center Director Mitch Zeller during a news conference. Later, he said, that while the agency was aware of “anecdotal reports” that e-cigarettes have helped smokers kick their habit; those benefits were outweighed by concerns about youth using the devices.

E-cigarettes are not the only tobacco related products that will come under the control of the FDA. Unregulated tobacco items, including pipe tobacco and water-pipe tobacco, will also fall under the supervision of the FDA.

The FDA has been regulating cigarettes since Congress granted it oversight of traditional smokes with the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation—it will help us catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect our kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement.

Most researchers agree e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes because, unlike cigarettes, they don’t combust. Studies have shown that when traditional cigarettes combust they release more than 60 carcinogens. But the long-term effects of using the electronic devices remain largely unknown, and many anti-tobacco groups and public health officials are concerned they could become a gateway to traditional smoking.

Anti-tobacco groups have been frustrated with FDA, saying the agency has taken far too long to finalize its rules.

Concerns escalated when a study published in August by the Journal of the American Medical Association found ninth-graders who used e-cigarettes were 2½ times as likely as peers to have smoked traditional cigarettes a year later.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in April that e-cigarette use tripled among U.S. teenagers in 2014.

The AAP issued its recommendations on tobacco and e-cigarettes in late 2015.

In a press release, the organization said it strongly recommends the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should be increased to age 21 nationwide.

"Tobacco use continues to be a major health threat to children, adolescents and adults," said Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Tobacco Control and section head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado. "The developing brains of children and teens are particularly vulnerable to nicotine, which is why the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among adolescents is so alarming and dangerous to their long-term health."

Under the new rules, e-cigarette manufacturers would have up to two years to continue to sell their products while they submit an application to the FDA.

Story sources: Tripp Mickle, Tom Burton, http://www.wsj.com/articles/fda-to-regulate-e-cigarettes-ban-sales-to-minors-1462455060

https://www.aap.org

 

Your Baby

Skip Hop recalls 130,000 Nightlight Soothers

1:45

Skip Hop makes adorable little nightlights that are often placed in infants and children’s bedrooms to help lull them to sleep. Two models of the popular nightlights are being recalled due to shock hazard.

This recall involves 130,000 of Skip Hop’s Moonlight & Melodies owl and elephant nightlight soothers that play melodies or nature sounds and project images. They have a USB wall power adapter and cord. The white and gray owl soothers measure about 5.5 by 4.5 by 6 inches. The white elephant soother measures about 7 x 4.2 x 5.7 inches. The soothers have a sound speaker on each side and operation buttons at the top or the back. The Skip Hop logo is on the underside of the soother.

Skip Hop is aware of reports that the power adapter can break, including one electrical shock incident.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled nightlight soothers and contact Skip Hop for instructions on returning the USB wall power adapter with a prepaid shipping label and receive a free repair kit which includes a free USB wall adapter.

The Skip Hop products were sold at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Target and other retailers nationwide and online at Skiphop.com and Amazon.com from July 2016 through August 2017 for approximately $40.

Consumers can contact Skip Hop toll-free at 888-282-4674 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at recall@skiphop.com or online at www.skiphop.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.

Story source: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Skip-Hop-Recalls-Nightlight-Soothers#

Daily Dose

4th of July Celebrations!

1:30 to read

The 4th of July weekend is here, which means many families will celebrate with a long weekend with other families and friends. Let’s remember the importance of making it a safe holiday!   

Of course the celebration includes fireworks which are definitely fun to watch, but at the same time, when they are used by consumers (many of whom are children and teens) rather than by trained professionals, there are many associated risks.  Being on call in the ER as a new doctor was one of the scariest and longest nights in my life...and I can remember seeing children with burns...several which were disfiguring. Burns remain one of my biggest fears.

In 2013 there were an estimated 11,400 people treated in emergency rooms for fireworks related injuries, and the risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 0- years, followed by children 10-14 years. I know that having fireworks in your backyard or on the beach is fun, but also dangerous. Although I was used to my boys saying, “ Mom, you tell us that everything that is fun is too dangerous...which not only included fireworks, but trampolines, and motorcycles.”  I am sticking to that.

The majority of fireworks related injuries were to the extremities followed by those to the head (eyes, ears, face).  The greatest number of injuries were caused by small firecrackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets. Did you know that a sparkler burns as hot as 1200 degrees F, while water boils at 212 degrees F and wood burns at 575 degrees F!! Even a left over sparkler may cause a significant burn to little hands.

Fireworks are best left to the “hands” of the experts. Fireworks are dangerous and can be unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs (including parents).  Public firework displays are equally enjoyable and are carefully planned and executed. Especially with drought conditions and fires already raging in parts of the U.S. it is especially important to be aware of the risk of inadvertently setting a small fire from a misguided bottle rocket.  That small fire may lead to an even bigger fire which destroys acres of land as well as puts firefighters themselves at risk. No one wishes for that scenario but there were over 17,500 fires caused by fireworks in previous years. 

Start planning your holiday fireworks viewing now....from a safe venue! Happy 4th!

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Hot car deaths

Hot Car Dangers

Daily Dose

Remember the Rules of Boating Safety

A tragic boating accident in our area during a Boy Scout outing to the lake has reminded me and many other parents of the necessity of following safe boating rules. While summer is here many families may have the opportunity for a boating outing. The best time to discuss boating safety and rules with your children is prior to even going on a boat.

Then another review of boating safety, (I would include jet skis in this too) should happen just before launching the boat on the water. Children of all ages should be taught boating safety and there should never be assumptions that they have heard all of the rules before. With the excitement of the day, many children and adolescents need to be continuously reminded of safe boating rules to ensure an accident free experience. All children and adults should have a Coast Guard certified life preserver (personal flotation device, PDF) and children should wear them at all times. In my opinion, adults should too, and model behavior for the kids. Whistles

Your Child

Hand Sanitizers Poisoning Young Children

2:00

Poison control centers across America have been seeing an increase in calls about children who are getting very sick from drinking hand sanitizers. Poison control officials are warning parents and school officials about this dangerous trend involving small children, basically getting drunk, on hand sanitizer.

“A doctor called us about a week and a half ago about two cases he saw the same day at the ER,” says Gaylord Lopez, PharmD, director of the Georgia Poison Center. “It was a 5- and a 6-year-old.”

The first patient, a 6-year-old girl, was picked up after school stumbling and slurring her words. She’d also fallen and hit her head. Her mother drove her straight to the ER, where doctors found out she’d eaten two to three squirts of strawberry-scented hand sanitizer from a big container sitting on her teacher’s desk.

Her blood alcohol level was 1.79, almost twice what would be considered the legal limit in an adult.

The second case was a 5-year-old boy, who came in with a blood alcohol level of 2.0. The culprit was hand sanitizer.

Lopez checked the national data and saw these cases were part of an unrecognized trend. In 2010, U.S. poison centers got more than 3,600 calls about kids under age 12 eating hand sanitizers. By 2013, that number had swelled to more than 16,000 calls.

“That’s a 400 percent increase,” Lopez says. “I was surprised more than anyone.”

Many of the hand sanitizer bottles come in bright colors and the sanitizer itself smells like bubble gum and other tasty treats such as lemonade and vanilla. All aromas a child might mistake for the real thing.

The big problem with these products are that they can be anywhere from 40 to 95 percent alcohol.

Drinking even just little bit can make kids intoxicated. It’s like drinking a shot or two of hard liquor.

“You and I don’t have any problem sending our kids with hand sanitizer in their backpacks. But what if I told you that was twice as potent as vodka. That’s like a parent sending a bottle of whiskey or rum to school,” Lopez says.

Alcohol poisoning can cause a child’s heart rate, blood pressure and breathing to slow. They may stagger, seem sleepy and vomit. Their blood sugar can drop rapidly leading to seizures and coma.

Lopez says hand sanitizers are often included in the list of school supplies parents should send to school. He says many adults he’s talked to don’t realize that hand sanitizers contain so much alcohol, or they don’t realize that it’s the kind of alcohol that can cause intoxication.

“I wanted to get the word out. Parents should be aware. Teachers should be aware.”

If you have hand sanitizer at home, keep it out of the reach of young children. If you send hand sanitizer with your child to school- especially during the flu and cold season- use the wipes instead.

You can learn more about hand sanitizer poisoning by calling the American Association of Poison Control Center for free advice at 1-800-222-1222.

If you suspect your child may have ingested sanitizer and is showing any of the above symptoms, take your child to the hospital immediately.

Source: Brenda Goodman, MA, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20150915/hand-sanitizers-poisoning-kids

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