Author Archive

14

Safe Kids Grand Forks talks Fire Prevention

Oct

Each year nearly 600 children die and nearly 40,000 are injured in fires. Burns have been recognized as the most painful and devastating injuries a person can sustain and survive.

Did you know?

- The youngest children are at greatest risk. Kids ages 5 and under are more than twice as likely to die in a fire than the rest of the population.
- Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to play with fire.
- Child-play home fires tend to begin in a bedroom when children are left alone.
- Home cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires and fire related injuries.
- Residential fires caused by smoking materials (i.e. cigarettes) are the leading cause of fire-related deaths.
- Children in homes without smoke alarms are the greatest risk.
- Home fires and fire-related deaths are more likely to occur during the cold weather months when there is a use of portable or area heating equipment such as fireplaces and space heaters.

How and where burn deaths and injuries occur:

- Curling irons, room heaters, ovens and ranges, irons and gasoline
- Hot foods and liquids spilled in the kitchen and where other food is prepared
- Hot tap water
- Fireworks
- Electrical cords and extension cords
- Microwave burns

Prevention Tips:

- Install smoke alarms in your home on every level and in every sleeping area. Test them once a month and change the batteries twice a year, or as needed.
- Keep matches, lighters and other heat sources out of children’s reach.
- Keep all portable heaters out of children’s reach.
- Keep flammable items such as clothing, furniture, newspapers or magazines away from the fireplace, heater or radiator.
- Store all flammable liquids such as gasoline outside of the home.
- Avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket.
- Never use the microwave to heat baby formula or milk in bottles.
- Do not use tablecloths or placemats that children can tug on, bringing down hot foods and liquids from the table.
- Keep electrical cords out of children’s reach
- Avoid toys with electrical cords or batteries for children under age 8.
- Make sure children’s bath water temperature is no hotter than 100 degrees F. Use a tub temperature tester or your forearm to check the water’s temperature before placing the child in the water.
- Never leave candles burning unattended.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees F or below.
- Use back burners and turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking.
- Cover unused electrical outlets with safety devices.
- Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table and counter edges.
- Never allow children to handle fireworks.

For more information about fire 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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07

Safe Kids Grand Forks Talks Pedestrian Safety

Oct

Walking to school, parks and a friend’s house are great ways for children to get exercise. Unfortunately, children continue to be at risk for unintentional injury or death as pedestrians. Safe Kids has tips for teaching children pedestrian safety and decreasing this risk.

Did You Know?

Here are some facts concerning young pedestrians:

• Since 2005, nearly 300 pedestrian fatalities among children have occurred each year.
• Children do not have fully developed depth perception until approximately 10 years of age. This means that their ability to determine the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles is limited.
• The number of children walking to school has decreased dramatically over the last 40 years from approximately 48% to 13%. Increased traffic volume around schools typically leads to a further decrease in children walking to these schools.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

• Cross streets only at corners and at crosswalks. If there is a traffic light, do not cross until the signal is in your favor.
• When preparing to cross, look left, look right, look left for traffic. Before stepping out in front of traffic, assure that the tires of any on-coming cars have stopped and you have made eye contact with the driver.
• Make sure to keep looking left and right as you cross.
• If walking in low light conditions, wear light colored clothing or a reflective device. Carrying a flashlight is also a good idea if it is getting dark.
• Never run across the street. This decreases the chance that a driver will see you. If you have to run to get across, the car is too close.
• When sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.
• Provide children under age 10 supervision while walking and crossing streets. They also require supervision while playing, especially near a street or the driveway.
• Always model safety behaviors to children.
• Remind children to NEVER walk out into the street between two parked cars.
• Remember walking is a healthy, fun way to get places. Keep safe and keep Safe Kid Worldwide and Safe Kids Grand walking!!!

Vehicle Reminders for Drivers

• When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
• When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely. Remember, school-aged children are impulsive.
• Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Follow posted school speed limit signs.
• Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
• Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus or school may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
• Learn to obey the school bus laws in the community. Obey the flashing signal light system on the buses. You must come to a complete stop when the stop sign on the bus is extended. This pertains to vehicles approaching the bus from all directions.
• Be aware of crosswalks on the street and stop well before the crosswalk, not IN them.
• Grand Forks has a city ordinance that prohibits people operating motor vehicles from dropping children off in front of a school where the child has to cross the street other than at a marked crosswalk.
• Children should exit the vehicle on the “grass” or “curb” side so they do not get out directly into oncoming traffic.
• Be sure to not park your vehicle in the “no parking” zone near crosswalks. It makes it difficult to see children preparing to cross.

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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30

Be a Role Model

Sep

Following is a message every adult should read because children are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say. Role modeling is very important in childhood safety, especially with motor vehicle restraints. Read on.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry. When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I learned most of life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I looked at you and wanted to say,’ Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.’

Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend) influences the life of a child. Be a positive influence on the children that you love and care for. Buckle-up!!!

Statistics show that if the adult in the vehicle is buckled-up, the child is most likely properly restrained as well.

Be a role model and help keep kids safe: Buckle up!!

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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16

Safe Kids Grand Forks Celebrates Child Passenger Safety Week

Sep

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, over 8,000 lives of children under age 5 have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children. For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. Best practice to keep your child rear-facing until 2 years of age or the upper height/weight limit of your convertible car seat.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall).
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually around age 8-12 or when they are 4’9” tall) they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest). Make sure feet are flat on the floor of the car and back is against the back of the seat.

For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week, a national effort to remind parents and caregivers of the lifesaving effect child safety seats have in protecting young children, please visit www.nhtsa.gov or 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

Safe Kids Grand Forks Celebrates Farm Safety Month

Sep

September is Farm Safety Month. Nearly 1 million children live on farms and ranches in the US. Children living in rural areas are at significantly greater risk of unintentional injury-related death, especially from:
• Agricultural injury
• Motor vehicle crashes
• Drowning
• Residential fires
• Alternative modes of transportation 

The Facts Are In
• Each year, approximately 70 children, ages 14 and under die from farm injuries.
• An estimated 150,000 children suffer a preventable injury associated with production agriculture.
• Drowning rates are three times higher in rural areas and fire death rates are double the rates in larger cities and triple the rates in small towns.
• Kids ages 10-12 are at highest risk for injury, often because they take on a job or task that they are not able to handle yet. 

Steps To Safety
• Do not allow children to perform inappropriate farm tasks.
• Use safety seats and belts correctly and do not allow anyone to ride in truck beds.
• Never allow children under 16 to operate machinery, ATVs, snowmobiles, or large lawn tractors.
• Always supervise young horseback riders.
• Never tie yourself to the horse and always wear an equestrian helmet
• Do not allow passengers on tractors, riding lawn mowers or other motorized vehicles.
• Teach children never to go into a farm pond without adult supervision.
• Teach children to never climb into trucks or bins loaded with grain.
• Be aware of areas where water may collect with spring melting or following rain (ditches, animal feed areas, etc.)
• Locate power lines and plan activities away from them.
• All adults and teens on farms should learn first aid and CPR and know how to get help in case of an emergency.
• Never remove safety features from machinery (guards, shields).

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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02

Help Safe Kids Grand Forks Celebrate Baby Safety Month!

Sep

September is baby safety month and there is SO much to know. We have included a small part of baby safety below. For more information about baby and child safety and to see what products and services are available in the Grand Forks area, mark your calendar to attend the Tummy to Toddler Expo at the Ramada Inn on Sunday, Oct 12th. This event will run from 1-4pm and have over 40 booths with all the latest for your child!

 Crib Safety
Each year, about 50 babies suffocate or strangle when they become trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with unsafe designs. Never place your crib near windows, draperies, blinds or wall-mounted decorative accessories with long cords. Look for the following when shopping for a safe crib:
• No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or the mattress support.
• Crib slats should be spaced no more than 2 3/8″ apart, and none should be loose or missing. To check for proper spacing of crib slats, make sure a pop can will not pass between them when held upright.
• Avoid cutout areas on the headboard or foot board so a baby’s head cannot get trapped.
• Assure there is no cracked or peeling paint and no splinters or rough edges.
• The crib mattress should fit snugly with no more than two fingers width between the edge of the mattress and the crib side. Otherwise, baby can get trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib.
• ALWAYS use a crib sheet that fits securely on the mattress and wraps around the mattress corners.
• Mobiles should also be removed when baby can push himself/herself up.
• New standards prevent cribs with drop down side from being sold. Don’t purchase them at second hand stores.
• Bumper pads, stuffed animals and blankets should not be used in cribs as they increase the risk of SIDS in babies. 

Strollers Safety
• Choose a stroller or carriage that has a base wide enough to prevent tipping, even when your baby leans over the side.
• If the seat adjusts to a reclining position, make sure the stroller doesn’t tip backwards when the child lies down.
• Always secure baby by using the stroller seat belt.
• Don’t hang pocketbooks or shopping bags over the handles.
• If your stroller has a basket for carrying packages, it should be low on the back of the stroller or directly over the rear wheels.
• Use the locking device to prevent accidental folding.
• Apply the brakes to limit rotation of the wheels when stroller is stationary.
• When you fold or unfold the stroller, keep your baby’s hands away from areas that could pinch tiny fingers. 

Walker Safety
• Only stationary walkers with no wheels are safe for a child to use. Ones with wheels allow them to move about to areas they should not be (stairways, doors, appliances, fireplaces, etc.) or access to things they should not have.
• Never leave baby unattended in a walker.
• Choose a sturdy walker with the correct recommended height and weight of your child.
• Keep child away from ranges, radiators and fireplaces.
• Never carry the walker with child in it.

High Chair Safety
• Assure that your baby is able to sit up well before using a high chair.
• Always buckle the child into the chair.
• The high chair should have both a waist strap and one between the legs for the safest fit.
• Select a high chair with a broad leg base to prevent tip overs.
• Lock the tray securely into place and be sure baby’s hands are out of the way.

The most important thing you can do to keep your baby safe from harm with any baby product is to supervise him or her carefully. For the safest product use possible, ALWAYS read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and mail in product registration cards so as to be notified if there are recalls. Experts recommend that you should not use second-hand products for your baby. However, if it is necessary for you to use these older products, be sure they have all of the safety features outlined in this pamphlet. Remember, new products meeting current safety standards are a safer option, they will always include manufacturer’s instructions.
Always remember that juvenile products are not a substitute for parental supervision.
Never leave your baby unattended!!!

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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26

Safe Kids Grand Forks Talks Fall Sports Safety

Aug

Injury is always a possibility during physical activity. Sports injury can occur as a result of falls, collisions, being struck by an object, or overexertion. Children are more susceptible to these injuries than adults; in fact, children ages 5-14 account for nearly 40% of all sports related injuries.

The Facts are In:

• Injuries associated with participation in sports/recreational activities account for 21% of all traumatic brain injuries.

• Brain injury is the leading cause of sports related death to children.

• Each year, 3.5 million children ages 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport injuries.

• Young children (ages 5-9) are more likely to sustain playground and bicycle related injuries while older children are more likely to suffer from bicycle and sports related injuries & overexertion.

Did you know?

• The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness.

• It is estimated that half of all significant sports-related injuries are treated in sports medicine clinics.

• The highest rate of injury for boys, in regards to sports, are ice hockey, football and soccer. Soccer, basketball and gymnastics seem to incur the highest rates of injury in girls.

• Children who do not wear or use protective equipment, particularly helmets, are at greater risk of sustaining recreational injuries. Unlike organized team sports, recreational activities generally do not have helmet requirements.

Steps To Safety

• Children should always wear appropriate shoes and safety gear when participating in sports and recreational activities.

• Always use appropriate safety equipment and ensure adequate adult supervision.

• Coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, and should have a plan for responding to emergencies.

• Match and group children according to similar skill level, weight and physical maturity, especially for contact sports.

• Ensure that children drink adequate amounts of liquids while engaging in athletic activities. A body that is dehydrated is more prone to injury.

• Provide children with proper training and skill building when they are learning a new sport.

• Never encourage a child to “play through the pain”. Injuries are more likely to occur.

• Be certain that playing areas—indoors and outdoors are inspected regularly for hazards.

• If a child suffers a concussion, they need to be evaluated by a doctor who is familiar with signs of a concussion and who is able to test for mild lasting effects of a concussion prior to returning to play.

• Follow your physician’s recommendations for when an athlete can return to play. Failure to do so can have life threatening or life altering consequences.

• Ensure that children get sports physicals by a physician prior to enrolling in a sporting activity to ensure they don’t have a medical condition that would prohibit activity.

A concussion is a common injury, but is often difficult to diagnose. Altru Health System works with ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) computer-based screening to help healthcare professionals evaluate the recovery of student athletes following a concussion and ensure their safe return to play.

How does ImPACT work?

  • A baseline test is completed.
  • When a concussion is suspected, a follow-up test is administered to see if results have changed from the baseline.
  • This comparison helps to diagnose and manage the concussion.
  • Follow-up tests can be administered over days or weeks, so clinicians can continue to track the student athlete’s recovery.

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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19

Back to School Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Aug

As autumn rolls in and summer winds down, we find our kids back in school. By fall, many safety tips that were taught during the previous school year are long forgotten. Safe Kids Grand Forks would like to remind parents to discuss the following safety tips with your children as they head back to school.
Remember to follow the Safe Kids Walk This Way four pillar program!

Pillar 1: Pedestrian Safety
1. Cross streets only at corners and in crosswalks. Do not cross until the light is in your favor.
2. Look left, look right, and left again before stepping into the street. Also, make sure to keep looking left and right as you cross.
3. When stepping out in front of traffic, assure that the tires of the car have stopped moving and you have made eye contact with the driver.
4. Wear light colored clothing or a reflective device if walking in low light conditions.
5. Never run across the street!
6. Walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible when sidewalks are not available.
7. Provide children under age 10 supervision while walking and crossing streets.
8. Always model safety behaviors to children.
9. Remind children to NEVER walk out into the street between two parked cars.

Pillar 2: School Bus Safety
1. When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps (six feet) away from the curb.
2. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it is okay to get on.
3. If you have to cross the street in front of a bus, walk in a crosswalk and be sure the driver sees you and you can see the driver.
4. Get to the bus stop about 5 minutes early so you are not in a hurry.
5. Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
6. When the bus is moving, sit on the seat and do not stand or walk in the aisle.

Pillar 3: Motor Vehicle Safety
1. Children ages 12 and under should ride in the rear vehicle seat so they are not in front of an active air bag. Air bags can kill or injure children when they are deployed.
2. All people in the vehicle should be buckled-up on each and every ride.
3. There should only be one person per seat belt.
4. A lap and shoulder belt is much safer than just a lap belt alone.
5. 4 out of 5 car and booster seats are used incorrectly. Be sure to read the seat’s owner’s manual and the vehicle instruction manual to assure that you are using the seat correctly. Safe Kids Grand Forks has monthly car seat check-up events where certified child passenger safety technicians will assist you with your car seat questions and inspect your seat for recalls and correct use.

Vehicle reminders for drivers:
1. When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
2. When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.
3. Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
4. Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
5. Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus or school may dart into the street without looking.
6. Be aware of crosswalks on the street and stop before the crosswalk, not IN them.
7. Children should exit the vehicle on the “grass” or “curb” side so they don’t get out directly into oncoming traffic.

Pillar 4: Bike Safety
1. The most important bike safety tip is WEAR A HELMET at all times. Bike helmets are 85% effective in preventing head injuries that can injure or kill someone. Get a helmet that fits correctly and wear it on each and every ride.
2. Safe Kids Grand Forks distributes bike helmets for $8.00 and multi-sport helmets for $12.00. Bike helmets are worn only for riding a bike, but a multi-sport helmet can be used for riding a bike, scooter, in-line skates or a skateboard. To obtain a helmet from Safe Kids e-mail safekids@altru.org.
3. Bicycles have all the rights of a vehicle on the roadway and must obey the laws for vehicles. Use bike paths when available.
4. Never hang onto a car or let someone tow a bike and rider with a car.
5. When driving on the roadway, stay as far to the right as possible, but watch out for parked cars and for cars going the same direction as you on the roadway. Pass carefully.
6. When driving a bicycle, don’t carry anything in your hands or on the bicycle that will prevent you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars. One seat = one rider. Pegs are not for carrying other children, they are for tricks.
7. Use proper hand signals when turning or stopping.

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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05

Yard Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Aug

The lawn is green and needs to be mowed.  Every summer, 30 million power lawn mowers are in use in the United States. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data shows that each year about 400,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries from lawn tools. A few simple precautions may help you enjoy your time spent outdoors, and help you get your work completed more efficiently.

In General:

-Before mowing, trimming or edging, read the owner’s manual and pay particular attention to safety recommendations.

 -Start the mower on level ground where you have firm footing. Mow parallel to a slope. Never pull the mower toward you; always push it.

­-Do not tamper with built-in safety devices; they are there for good reason.

-Clear the lawn of stones or toys, and anything else that might be thrown by the mower, trimmer or edger.

­-Be sure the yard is clear of children and pets. Always be aware of where others might be in the yard. A moment’s distraction could mean tragedy.

­-When using equipment, wear sturdy shoes with rough soles. Never go barefoot or wear sandals.

­-Keep hands and feet away from the mower housing and never unclog the mower when it’s running.

-Keep children away from equipment unless you’re sure they’re trained in how to use it and know the associated dangers.

-Don’t mow, trim or edge in “blind spots”. There may be hidden objects under bushes, hedges or in trees.

-Be aware of the lawn surface; watch out for holes and tree roots.

­-Never leave equipment running or leave tools where others might stumble over them.

For Gasoline Mowers:

-Fill your gas tank before you start, while the engine is still cold. Wipe up all spills. And never smoke near gasoline.

-Always turn off the mower and disconnect the spark plug wire before unclogging the machine or adjusting it. Gasoline mowers can start even when they’re turned off if the blade is rotated.

Hedge Trimmers / Weed Trimmers / Lawn Edgers:

-Wear safety eye protection. It’s also a good idea to wear long pants when doing lawn work to protect from abrasions.

-Never use electric-hedge trimmers over your head. If trimmers become lodged on something, disconnect the power source before attempting to dislodge it.

-Remember weed trimmers are intended for groundwork only, not for overhead work in trees or bushes where the hazard of flying debris is a real possibility.

-When using a weed trimmer, disconnect power before advancing the line if it is a manual feed trimmer.

For information about yard 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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29

Thrill Rides Can Be Both Exciting and Safe – If Certain Practices Are Followed

Jul

Whether it’s flying through the air or spinning in circles – there’s something about a summer day at an amusement park that draws people of all ages. Safe Kids Grand Forks believes that staying safe and having fun can and should go hand in hand.

Parents need to use their own judgment. Posted age and height requirements are minimum guidelines. Following the rules are also important. If a ride operator tells you to keep your hands and feet inside the car, hold the handrail or remain seated, there’s a good reason for doing that – it helps make the ride safer.

Every year, an estimated 8,000 children suffer injuries from amusement park or carnival-type rides that require treatment in an emergency room. These injuries involve fixed rides, mobile rides, inflatables and other types of rides at amusement parks, festivals, traveling carnivals and other locations.

Portable carnival rides are subject to safety regulations enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Amusement park rides at a fixed location are not subject to federal safety standards. Parents and caregivers need to decide whether their children are capable of sitting properly on a ride and following the operator’s instructions.

Parents can follow these tips to help keep amusement park and carnival rides safer for children of all ages:

Role-model proper safety behavior. Children are more likely to follow safety rules when they see their parents doing so.

Supervise your child getting on and off a ride. Make sure the child understands all announcements and posted rules. Also, parents should practice active supervision. Don’t allow older children to supervise younger children on rides.

Always use the safety equipment provided. Safety belts, lap bars, chains, handrails and other safety features are there for a reason.

Be careful when getting off a moving ride. Wait until the ride comes to a complete stop. Also, if a ride stops due to a mechanical problem or safety concern, stay seated and wait for instructions.

Don’t let children ride if they’re too tired or scared to comply with safety procedures. On some rides, it’s important to stay upright and face forward. Don’t pressure kids to go on a ride they’re afraid of, as they’re more likely to sit incorrectly or even try to get off.

Note the limitations of safety devices. Lap bars and chains are not physical restraints – their main function is to remind the occupant to stay seated. If a small child sits next to a large adult, a lap bar might not offer the child much protection.

Trust your instincts. If a ride looks like it is poorly maintained or an operator seems to be inattentive or unfit, don’t let your children ride. As in any industry, while most operators pay close attention to safety, there are exceptions.

To find out about the law in your state, please visit: http://www.saferparks.org/regulation/state. For additional information about summertime 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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