Author Archive

26

Boating Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

May

00 colorful dots - CopyWhether it’s in motorboats, sailboats, kayaks or canoes, there’s a good chance most of us will be hanging out in some kind of boat this spring or summer. After all, it’s one of the best ways for family and friends to spend time together and experience the freedom that comes from cruising on lakes, rivers and oceans.

We all know how important it is to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days but did you know about these five simple tips to ensure your adventure on the water is as safe as it is fun?

Five Simple Tips

  • Always wear a life jacket. Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
  • Don’t drink and drive. A large portion of boating crashes each year involve alcohol consumption by both boat operators and passengers. To keep you and your loved ones safe, it is strongly recommended not to drink alcoholic beverages while boating.
  • Educate your children about swimming safely. Teach children that swimming in open bodies of water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
  • Take the time to learn CPR. We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
  • Keep little kids warm. Young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia, so take a few extra precautions to keep your child warm. If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.

For more information about boating safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

 

 

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27

Weather Emergency Safety Tips from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Apr

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Blog article provided by Kristen Iden, Safe Kids Worldwide Staff (and self proclaimed “weather nerd”)

Every spring, weather nerds like me wait anxiously for cold air from Canada to collide with the warm air rising out of the Gulf of Mexico. And like clockwork, we watch mesocyclones (big thunderstorms to most people) build and build until they drop one of nature’s most deadly events, the tornado.

The thunderstorms in and of themselves can be dangerous; Any time there is lightning, you should take shelter – not under a tree! But when these storms actually begin rotating, that’s when things can get really dangerous, sometimes even deadly.

Tornadoes can have a wide rand of wind speed – but don’t be fooled, even a low-grade tornado with wind speeds up to 85 miles per hour can cause trees to fall, which can lead serious injuries to people and property. Most injuries and deaths from a tornado are caused by debris being tossed around by the storm. So don’t scoff when the weatherman tells you there is a possibility for bad weather. Being aware is the first step to staying safe.

As a teenager, I lived through the tornado outbreak in Western Pennsylvania. During that one late afternoon outbreak, eight violent tornadoes were spawned (F4/F5) that would go on to kill 89 people. What I remember about that afternoon was sunshine and fluffy clouds – the kind of day that everyone loves. That evening was full of horrible storms. One F4 passed less than a mile from my house – you can still see the scars in the ground if you drive past.

That event hatched a revolution in reporting and warning of tornadic events. Until that outbreak, tornadoes had been just a weather phenomenon of the Midwest. After that, we decided to take weather seriously, no matter where you were. Now with advanced radar and modeling techniques, we can predict down to a street level where a tornado will hit.

SO HERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO THINK ABOUT TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM TORNADOES.

First: Educate yourself – what do you need to know about weather warnings?

  • A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are favorable for the development of a severe thunderstorm. Not every thunderstorm has the potential to produce a tornado but it’s good to understand when these storms could happen
  • A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that a severe thunderstorm has developed and you should take shelter immediately if you are in the affected area.
  • A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadic activity.
  • A Tornado Warning means that an active tornado is on the ground, either indicated by radar or actually sighted by someone on the ground.

Second: Learn what you should do if a tornado strikes in your area

  • Be alert. If a tornado watch is given, know where your family is and how to get to them quickly. If your area has tornado sirens and they go off, seek shelter immediately.
  • Have a way to monitor the weather, through an app on your phone to a hand-crank radio. Don’t count on electricity being on if bad weather is in the area.
  • Have a sheltering spot set in the house, which should be the lowest spot in the building. If you don’t have a basement, get into an interior room, preferably with no windows.
  • Just like your kids do at school, you should practice your disaster drill at least once a year, so everyone understands how long it takes to get in place and if anyone has the responsibility of grabbing a smaller child or a pet.
  • Teach older children the three tornado points: Get Away. Get Shelter. Get Low.
  • If you are in a car during a tornado, get out and get into a ditch as low as possible. Do not shelter under overpasses or bridges.

– See more at: http://www.safekids.org/blog/springs-ugly-side#sthash.MFEfsSzA.dpuf

 

For more information about emergency preparedness, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org.  Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

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21

When Kids Are At Play, Parents Should Be On Alert

Apr

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Spring is officially here, and a trip to the playground is often a go-to activity that both parents and kids enjoy. While the risks and dangers associated with swimming or riding a bike might seem more obvious, Safe Kids Grand Forks reminds parents to not let their guard down when their kids are playing on the playground. Active supervision and certain safety precautions are necessary to ensure their kids remain healthy and safe.  Playground falls tend to be one of the most common non fatal injuries seen in our local emergency room.  While kids are not dying on playgrounds, their injuries often require surgery or overnight hospitalizations.

 

National Playground Safety Week is April 20-24. Each year, approximately 6 children die from injuries involving playground equipment, and more than 200,000 are treated in emergency rooms. Falls account for 80 percent of playground injuries; however, most playground fatalities are caused by strangulation and tend to occur on home playgrounds, not on public property.

Nothing can take the place of active supervision, but we do need to make sure our kids are playing in safe environments in the first place. Playgrounds should be separate for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, and they should have safe surfacing beneath and surrounding all playground equipment.

Grass and soil are not good playground surfaces. The ground should be covered, 12 inches deep, with energy-absorbing materials like shredded rubber, wood chips or sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment. It won’t prevent falls, but it can prevent injuries or reduce their severity.

Even nonfatal injuries from playground falls can be very serious. About 45% of playground-related injuries are severe, which include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations.

Parents and caregivers need to keep kids in sight and in reach on the playground. Simply being in the same place as your child isn’t necessarily supervising. Kids on a playground need your undivided attention.

Safe Kids Grand Forks also reminds parents and caregivers to:

 

  • Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair.  If you notice issues at a community playground, get in touch with the entity that is in charge of it so they can fix the issues and assure that it is well maintained.
  •  Remove hood and neck drawstrings from childrens’ clothing and outerwear as they can pose a risk for strangulation on playground equipment. Don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground either.
  •  Don’t allow your kids to engage in, or play near, any pushing, shoving or crowding around playground equipment.
  •  Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.  Many playgrounds are separated into two age groups, one for children ages 2-5 and the other for kids ages 5-12.  Kids should play on equipment that is designed for their specific age.

For more information about playground safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

 

If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

 

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13

Childproofing Your Windows

Apr

Altru Dots and Safe Kids

From the moment our babies start to crawl, the world is a magical place filled with new adventures and discoveries. We want to create an environment where kids have the freedom to explore and discover and have fun. That means taking a few precautions around the house to minimize the risk of serious injuries.

One place to start is by checking out your window situation. The National Safety Council has designated the first week in April as Window Safety Week. Here are few things to think about so those expeditions around the house continue to be fun and safe.

Things You Can Do:
Install Window Guards and Stops. Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not children in. Properly installed window guards prevent unintentional window falls. For windows above the first floor, include an emergency release device in case of fire. Window stops are also a great idea. They allows fresh air and a cross breeze and still ensure windows can’t open wide enough for kids to fall out.
Open Windows from the Top and Close After Use. If you have windows that can open from both top and bottom, make a habit of opening just the top to prevent accidental falls. Keep in mind that as kids grow, they may have enough strength, dexterity and curiosity to open the bottom so try to keep windows locked and closed when they are not being used.
Keep Kids From Climbing Near Windows. For your crawlers and climbers, move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows to help prevent window falls. Never move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall — call 911 and let trained medical personnel move the child with proper precautions.
For more information about window safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

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If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

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31

Shopping Cart Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Mar

Each year more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 are injured by shopping carts. Head injuries account for approximately two-thirds of all injuries associated whit falls from a shopping cart. Approximately 5% of all shopping cart injuries in children under the age of 5 involved a child falling from/with a car seat placed on the shopping cart.

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Shopping cart injury can happen in multiple ways including:
– running into carts
– tipping over carts while climbing onto the outside
– getting fingers and toes caught in wheels
– falling or jumping from the cart
– carts overturning causing children to be pinches in the folding mechanism of the seat or fall against the cart
– children may suffer lacerations, cuts, bruises, fractures, concussions and internal injuries from shopping cart accidents. 80% of falls from shopping cart seats occurred when the child was unrestrained. Research has shown that even when shopping carts are equipped with safety restraints parents do not use them. Children left unattended are at greater risk for shopping cart related injuries. More than 80% of parents/caregivers leave children unattended at least once while on a shopping trip. One and two year olds have the highest incidents of shopping cart related injuries.

Steps to Safety:
– Never place an infant carries car seat on the top of a shopping cart.
– Ask your older child to walk and praise him or her for behaving and staying near you.
– Always use safety belts to secure children in shopping cart seats. If the belt is missing or broken, select another cart and tell the store manager so a replacement can be installed.
– Use the shopping carts that have a wheeled child carrier that is permanently attached and made part of the shopping cart.
– Never leave your child alone or unattended in a shopping cart and stay close to the cart at all times.
– Do not let your child ride in the large part of the cart where you place groceries, under the basket, on the side or on the front of the cart.
– Do not let an older child push the cart with another younger child in in.

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks. If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

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24

Safe Kids Grand Forks talks Magnet Safety

Mar

Who didn’t love magnets as a kid? They were pure magic — the way they’d stick onto the radiator or anything metal, and if you had two, you could use one to move the other around — without them ever touching! These days, magnets are often incorporated into toys and jewelry, except these are not the magnets of yesteryear; today’s magnets are new and improved, made of neodymium-iron-boron and along with greater strength packed into smaller dimensions, they’ve become more accessible, too. Unfortunately, a new study finds, this wider availability of small magnets has increased the number of childhood injuries, including, in some cases, even death.

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To understand the potential dangers of magnets Canada’s largest children’s hospital reviewed all cases of “foreign body ingestion” seen in that hospital’s emergency room between April 2002 and December 2012. Then, they narrowed their search down to suspected or confirmed magnet swallowing. Next, they divided their study into two separate time periods: visits to the ER during 2002-2009 and visits during 2010-2012, after new, small-and-spherical magnet sets — the average size of magnets decreased approximately 70 percent at this point — were introduced to the market in 2009.

What did the researchers discover? Of 2,722 visits for foreign body ingestions, 94 were children who had swallowed magnets. Of those, 30 had been confirmed as swallowing multiple magnets. Worse, the researchers found that overall magnet ingestions tripled from 2002-2009 to 2010-2012. Plus, the incidence of injuries involving multiple magnets increased almost 10-fold between the two time periods. Six cases required surgery for potential imminent bowel perforation or even sepsis.

Despite new labeling requirements, product recalls, toy standards, and safety advisories issued in the past 10 years, the fact is there are many products containing magnets already in homes far and wide, so Strickland believes educating parents and their children on the dangers of magnetic toys is most important.

Source: Strickland M, Rosenfeld D, Fecteau A. Magnetic foreign body injuries: A large pediatric hospital experience. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2014.

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks. If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

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03

Sports Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Mar

Every 25 seconds, or 1.35 million times a year, a young athlete suffers a sports injury severe enough to go to the emergency room. Of the 14 most popular sports, concussions account for 163,000 ER visits, or 12 percent. That’s a concussion-related ER visit every three minutes. Surprisingly, it is not just high school athletes suffering concussions; athletes ages 12 to 15 make up almost half (47%) of the sports-related concussions seen in the ER, a statistic made even more disturbing by the knowledge that younger children with concussions take a longer time to recover than older children. Knee injuries account for one in ten sports-related injuries. Knee injuries,specifically tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), are disproportionately affecting young female athletes, who are up to eight times more likely to have an ACL injury than male athletes

In 2011, the sport with the most injuries was football, which also had the highest concussion rate. Wrestling and cheerleading had the second and third highest concussion rate. The sport with the highest percent of concussion injuries was ice hockey.

Get educated, and then pass it forward. A common theme among parents and young athletes who are struggling with recovering from an injury is that they wish they knew sooner what they know now. Attend a Safe Kids sports clinic or go to www.safekids.org to find out how to keep kids safe, then tell your friends. Teach athletes injury prevention skills. Instill smart hydration habits, warm-up exercises and stretches to prevent common injuries. Understand stress placed on muscles particular to the sport (pitching arm, knees, etc.) and target exercises to those areas. Encourage athletes to get plenty of rest. Encourage athletes to speak up about injuries. Too often, athletes feel like they are letting down their teammates, coaches or parents if they ask to sit out. The truth is it takes more courage to speak up about an injury that can have serious and long-term effects. Support coaches in injury prevention decisions. .A Safe Kids Worldwide 2012 survey found half of coaches admit to being pressured by a parent or athlete to keep an injured athlete in the game. Coaches need to be educated and confident in making decisions that protect the long-term interests of young athletes.

There is nothing more important than growing healthy, happy kids. Check out this infographic on sports injuries:

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For more information about sports safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

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17

Keeping You Baby Safe While Sleeping

Feb

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) takes the lives of many infants every year. Safe Kids Grand Forks would like to share some information about SIDS and what you can do to avoid it.

WHO IS AT RISK FOR SIDS?
– SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 12 months of age.
– SIDS is most common among infants that are 1-4 months old. However, babies can die from SIDS until they are 1 year old.

KNOW THE TRUTH… SIDS IS NOT CAUSED BY:
– Immunizations
– Vomiting or choking

WHAT CAN I DO BEFORE MY BABY IS BORN TO REDUCE THE RISK OF SIDS?
Take care of yourself during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. During pregnancy, before you even give birth, you can reduce the risk of your baby dying from SIDS! Don’t smoke or expose yourself to others’ smoke while you are pregnant and after the baby is born. Alcohol and drug use can also increase your baby’s risk for SIDS. Be sure to visit a physician for regular prenatal checkups to reduce your risk of having a low birth weight or premature baby.

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MORE WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR BABY
– Breastfeed your baby. Experts recommend that mothers feed their children human milk for as long and as much as possible, and for at least the first 6 months of life, if possible.
– It is important for your baby to be up to date on her immunizations and well-baby check-ups.

WHERE IS THE SAFEST PLACE FOR MY BABY TO SLEEP?
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed. Place the baby’s crib or bassinet near your bed (within arm’s reach). This makes it easier to breastfeed and to bond with your baby. The crib or bassinet should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows. TALK ABOUT SAFE SLEEP PRACTICES WITH EVERYONE WHO CARES FOR YOUR BABY!

When looking for someone to take care of your baby, including a child care provider, a family member, or a friend, make sure that you talk with this person about safe sleep practices. If a caregiver does not know the best safe sleep practices, respectfully tell the caregiver the importance of following these rules when caring for infants.

For more information about safe sleep, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

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10

Skiing and Snowboarding Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Feb

As winter sports are gaining in popularity, young children are hitting the slopes to learn skiing and snowboarding. However, not every young child may be prepared for the experience. Your child’s age, strength, and ability to cooperate are a few factors to consider. Qualified instructors can often help parents determine if they’re ready for these sports. Most resorts begin ski school at 4 years old. Although snowboards are made for children as young as 4 years, some resorts will not teach snowboarding to children younger than 7 years.

With the growing popularity of skiing and snowboarding comes a greater number of injuries. However, the risk of injury can be reduced.

The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about how to prevent skiing and snowboarding injuries.

Injury prevention and safety tips

    • Technique. The key to  successful skiing and snowboarding is control. To exercise control, one must learn proper skills, be aware of others on the slopes, and be able to adjust to changing snow conditions. It’s also important to learn how to fall safely. Qualified instructors can help children learn the proper skills to participate safely and avoid injury. Age-specific classes can  enhance the child’s experience.
    • Skills. If a slope is too difficult for skiers or snowboarders, they should remove their equipment and side- step down the slope.
      Supervision. Children need to have adult supervision, and teens or young adults need to have a buddy.
      Equipment. Practicing with the proper gear inside the home and in the backyard can make the transition to the slopes easier. Safety gear should fit properly and be well maintained.

        • Skis and snowboards. The binding setting should be properly adjusted. Rental or sales professionals can help choose equipment that is the proper size and fit.
        • Helmets. Use only helmets that are specifically designed for skiing or snowboarding. They should be professionally fitted to the child.
        • Protective eyewear. Eye protection is important to reduce glare from the reflection off the snow. Goggles should fit with the helmet being used. They should be made with polycarbonate or a similar material. The material should conform to the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
        • Wrist guards and knee pads. Snowboarders may also benefit from wrist guards and knee pads to prevent bruises and fractures.
        • Clothing. Winter clothing needs to be worn in layers with synthetic inner layers for wicking moisture and a waterproof outer layer, or shell.
        • Sun protection (sunscreen, lip balm with sunblock). Altitude and glare from snow make sun damage       more likely.

  • Environment. Weather conditions can change rapidly. Bring extra clothing, and plan to quit early if conditions become hazardous.
  • Fatigue and nutrition. Skiing and snowboarding are hard work and require rest and adequate nourishment. Fatigue and dehydration can lead to poor control and injury.

Rules of the slope

The National Ski Areas Association endorses a responsibility code for skiers and snowboarders. Athletes should know the code or “rules of the slope” to help prevent accidents and injury. The code is prominently displayed at ski resorts. The 7 safety rules of the code are

  1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.

Remember

Skiing and snowboarding injuries can be prevented when athletes use the appropriate safety equipment and safety guidelines are followed.

For more information about winter sports safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

 

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03

Almost One-Third of Children Who Died in Crashes are Unbuckled

Feb

Engineers are working hard to ensure that cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But it’s up to every parent to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats and booster seats are used and installed correctly. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your most precious cargo is safe in cars.

Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. 31 percent of children ages 8 and under who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2012 were unrestrained.

We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

If you would like to receive email notification when our new posts are available, please email jwangen@altru.org. Ask to be added to our notification list for the Area Voices blog and/or Safe Kids quarterly newsletter.

 

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