Author Archive

27

National TV Safety Day is January 31st

Jan

A report released by Safe Kids Worldwide and SANUS revealed that every three weeks, a child dies from a television tipping over and nearly 13,000 more children are injured each year in the U.S. This represents a 31 percent increase in TV tip-over-related injuries over the last ten years and young children are at greatest risk of TV tip-overs. 7 out of 10 children injured by TV tip-overs are 5 years old or younger. This age group also accounts for 9 out of 10 serious injuries requiring hospitalization, including head injuries, which are among the most severe.

Every 45 minutes, or less than the length of a Sesame Street episode, a child visits the ER because of a TV tipping over.

Dramas and tragedies should be on TV, not caused by them. Many TV tip-overs are a result of unsteady TVs that are not secured to the wall. Flat screen TVs that are top-heavy with narrow bases can be easily pulled off an entertainment center or table. Large and heavy old-style tube TVs placed on dressers or high furniture can also tip over if children climb the drawers to reach a remote control, a piece of candy, a video game or anything else that attracts their attention. Three out of four parents don’t secure their TV to the wall. Most families are unaware that securing a TV is an important safety measure. Others decide not to mount their TVs because of concerns about damaging the wall or installing the TV incorrectly. You wouldn’t think to bring a baby home from the hospital without a car seat or have your child ride a bike without a helmet, mounting your TV will protect your TV, and most important, your child.

Safe Kids Worldwide is launching a national effort to prevent injuries from TV and furniture tip-overs and educate communities by calling on families to conduct a quick TV safety check, which includes the following steps:

*Check Your TV. Assess the stability of the TVs in your home. Remember, a curious, determined child can topple a TV. Children playing with friends or pets could knock a TV over, while other kids might be tempted to climb up to reach items placed on or near a TV, such as remote controls or candy.
*Secure Your TV. Securing your TV to the wall is a safe solution. Much like child proofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, TV mounts and furniture straps are necessary precautions for keeping your family safe.

For more information about TV tip-overs, 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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20

Medication Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Jan

Every minute of every day, a poison control center answers a call about a young child getting into medicine or getting too much medicine. In 2012, there were almost 64,000 emergency department visits that involved a child exposed to medicine. Every one of these emergency department visits involved a scared child and a worried family, and could have been prevented. On top of that, an estimated $34.4 million is spent every year on medical costs for trips to the emergency department as a result of medicine exposures in young children, twice what the federal government spends annually on poison control centers.

While medicines are important for helping us get well and stay healthy, we know that more can be done to keep young children from gettinginto medicine and dfrom being given too much medicine. Children often get into medicine that is left in an easy-to-reach place like a purse or bag, or on a nightstand or dresser.

Check out this infographic for more information:


For more information about medication 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

Winter Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Jan

Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings or just cold temperatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm.

Hypothermia

  • Hypothermia develops when the body’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite

  • Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen.  This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.
  • If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. 104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • Do not rub the frozen areas.
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink.
  • If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

Winter Sports and Activities

  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Have children come inside periodically to warm up.

Ice Skating

  • Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces. Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved.
  • Advise your child to:
    • Skate in the same direction as the crowd
    • Avoid darting across the ice
    • Never skate alone
    • Not chew gum or eat candy while skating.
    • Have your child wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads.

Sledding

  • Keep sledders away from motor vehicles.
  • Children should be supervised while sledding.
  • Sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, may prevent head injuries.
  • Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.

Sun Protection

  • The sun’s rays can still cause sunburn in the winter, especially when they reflect off snow. Make sure to cover your child’s exposed skin with sunscreen and consider using sunglasses.

For more information about winter 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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06

Safe Kids Grand Forks talks Snowmobile Safety

Jan

Snowmobiles offer kids and adults a great chance to go off and explore, it’s important to take time to teach kids that every adventure starts with safety.

So here are 5 safety tips to help keep kids safe on snowmobiles:

  • Never snowmobile alone. Much like swimming, teach your kids to snowmobile with a partner, every time.
  • Wear helmet and appropriate gear. Be sure to protect kids by ensuring they wear a helmet and protective gear to keep them safe.
  • Ride with your kids. Riding with adult supervision is always best, but we also understand that some kids will want to go off with their friends as soon as they can. Before you allow this to happen, ride with your children and monitor their ability. Do they use good judgment? Are they staying on a safe path? Make your kids prove that they are responsible enough to ride without an adult.
  • Stay in areas designated for snowmobiles. Snowmobiles provide a great sense of freedom and it can be tempting to wander off and explore. Help your kids understand it’s important to ride only in areas where snowmobiles are permitted. It will help ensure that every ride is a safe ride.
  • Understand the laws in your state. There are many states that allow young children to operate snowmobiles. It is important to know the laws and regulations specific to your state.

More information on ND snowmobile laws and regulations can be found at http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/recreation/snowmobile/lawsandregistrationsnow.html

For more information about snowmobile 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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30

Choking and Suffocation Facts from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Dec

Suffocation, choking, aspiration & strangulation are the leading causes of unintentional injury-related death among infants under age 1.

Aspiration – Child inhales and causes an object to be sucked into the windpipe or lungs.

Choking – Objects block their internal airway.

Suffocation – Materials block or cover their nose and mouth.

Strangulation – Items become wrapped around their necks and interfere with breathing.

• Children under 3 are especially at risk due to their small airway, inexperience with chewing and their natural tendency to put things in their mouth.

The Facts Are In

• Each year approximately 900 children ages 14 and under died from accidental airway obstruction injuries. Of these children, most were ages 4 and under.

• Children sustain approximately 17,200 suffocation injuries each year.

• Since 1990, at least 57 children, nearly all ages 3 and under, have died due to entrapment in bunk beds.

Did You Know?

• The majority of childhood choking, strangulations and suffocations occur at home.

• 60% of infant suffocation occurs in the sleeping environment.

• Infants can suffocate when:

a. Their faces become wedged or buried in a mattress or soft cushion.

b.When someone in the same bed rolls over onto them.

c. Their mouths or noses are covered by or pressed against a plastic bag.

• Children placed in adult beds are at increased risk for airway obstruction injury.

• Since 1990, at least 209 children ages 2 and under have died in adult beds from smothering as a result of being laid on by another person.

• Annually, cribs and play yards are involved in over 53% of all nursery product-related deaths among children age 5 and under.

• Cribs are responsible for about 26 strangulation and suffocation deaths each year (primarily older, used cribs).

• Children are at risk for choking on small round foods such as hot dogs, candies, nuts, grapes, carrots and popcorn that pose choking risks.

• Nonfood items tend to be round or conforming objects, including coins, small balls and balloons.

• Balloons are the most common cause of toy-related choking deaths of children.

• Unlike other causes of choking death, balloon-related deaths are as common among children ages 3 and older as younger children.

• Strangulation occurs when items (clothing, drawstrings, ribbons or other decorations, pacifier strings and window blind/drapery cords) become wrapped around the neck.

• Children strangle in openings big enough for parts of their bodies but too small for their heads. These include spaces in bunk beds, cribs, playground equipment, baby strollers, carriages and high chairs.

Steps To Safety

• Place infants to sleep on their backs on a firm, crib mattress in a crib that meets national safety standards.

• Never allow a baby to sleep on a couch or bed with an adult. They need to be alone, on their backs and in a crib to sleep at all times during sleep.

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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23

Battery Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Dec

Christmas and Birthdays in most households means lots of new toys. Some of those new toys may require batteries. More and more household items and toys are using button batteries. While these batteries are great as they are tiny and high powered, they can cause serious damage to a child if one is swallowed.

Learn the Facts about Button Batteries

  • When a child swallows a button battery, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.
  • The scary part is that it may not be obvious at first that there is something wrong, since kids can still breathe and act normally after ingesting a battery, though it may seem like your child has a cold or flu.
  • Repairing the damage from battery ingestion is painful and often involves multiple surgeries. Even after a battery is removed, kids can experience terrible side effects to their vocal chords and windpipe.

Keep Button Batteries Out of Reach

  • Search your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain coin-sized lithium batteries.
  • Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, flameless or tea light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations all contain button batteries.
  • Keep loose batteries locked away, or place a piece of duct tape over the controller to secure the battery compartment.

Get Treatment Right Away

  • If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately. Don’t induce vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until assessed by a medical professional.
  • The symptoms may be tricky to recognize (they include coughing, drooling and discomfort), so if you have even the smallest doubt, don’t take any chances. Go to the emergency room right away.
  • Enter the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) into your phone right now. Call anytime for additional treatment information.

Tell Your Family and Friends

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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16

Fireplace Safety Tips from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Dec

When enjoying your fireplace, safety is a must! It is important to remember these basic safety precautions:

*Never leave a young child alone near a gas fireplace; they can be burned before, during, and after use of the fireplace.

*Create a barrier around the gas fireplace with the use of safety guards can be installed to keep your child at a safe distance at all times. Safety gates can keep your child from being in the room alone.

*Fireplace glass and other surfaces get extremely HOT and can cause burns if touched. Consider purchasing a safety attachment designed to disperse heat from the fireplace doors.

*Fireplaces, stoves and inserts (and their surrounding material) will remain hot for a period of time after being turned off, so caution should be used at all times.

*Keep clothing, furniture, draperies and other flammable materials a safe distance away.

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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09

Toy Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Dec

More than 3 billion toys and games are sold annually in the United States. Although they are meant to provide joy and entertainment, toys are often linked to injuries. Children ages 4 and under are at especially high risk. While choking accounts for many of these deaths and injuries, children can also suffer from falls, strangulation, burns, drowning and poisoning while playing with toys.

Although the majority of toys are safe, they can become dangerous if misused or used by children who are too young for them. Appropriate selection and proper use of toys, combined with parental supervision, can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of such injuries.

1. Use Mylar balloons instead of latex balloons. Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. If you must use latex balloons, store them out of reach of children, do not allow children to inflate them, and deflate and discard balloons and balloon pieces after use.

2. When selecting toys, consider the child’s age, interests and skill level; look for quality design and construction; and follow age and safety recommendations on labels.

3. Ensure that toys are used in a safe environment. Riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools.

4. Always supervise children at play. Play is even more valuable when adults become involved and interact with children rather than supervising from a distance.

5. Teach children to put toys away safely after playing. Ensure that toys intended for younger children are stored separately from those for older children.

6. Consider purchasing a small parts tester to determine whether small toys may present a choking hazard to children especially under age 3. A toilet paper tube can also be used as a guideline. If the toy fits in the tube, it is a choking hazard.

7. Inspect old and new toys regularly for damage and potential hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately or discard damaged toys.

8. Check the website of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) regularly to obtain information on recent toy recalls. Mail the warranty and product registration forms for new toy purchases to ensure that you will be notified of any recalls.

9. Young children should never play with toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches, which can unintentionally strangle them.

10. Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Children under age 8 should not use toys with electrical plugs or batteries. Another concern when shopping for toys this holiday season is the presence of magnets in toys. There have been an alarming number of recalls on toys that contain magnets in recent years. Two magnets that are swallowed have the potential to attach to each other and can cause serious problems. The magnets may attract to each other inside the intestines and cause perforations and or blockages, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Physical symptoms may not appear for several days after ingestion of a magnet or magnets. Some symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea and pain. Ingested magnets are only visible on an x-ray.

For more information, visit CPSC.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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02

Holiday Safety from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Dec

The Holidays are a time of year where there are extra safety concerns. Here are some tips on Christmas trees and poisonings.

Christmas Tree Tips

• Never leave a lit Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
• Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree within three feet of a fireplace, heater, radiator or heat vent.
• Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
• Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
• Do not put candles on a tree or a natural wreath, or near curtains or drapes, and keep matches and lighters locked out of reach of children.
• Battery-operated flameless candles are an alternative that do not have a fire risk. Decorative lighting should be labeled with the seal of an independent testing lab and should only be used outdoors if it’s labeled for outdoor use.

Safe Kids Grand Forks also offers these tips to prevent accidental poisoning:

• Keep alcohol (including baking extracts) out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
• Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach. Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.
• Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.
• In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Hotline at 800-222-1222 to be routed to your local poison control center.

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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25

Safe Kids Grand Forks Talks Holiday Travel

Nov

The holiday season is on its way which means extra travel for many people. Here are some travel safety tips to remember any time of the year.

Car/Booster Seats:
Before leaving home, familiarize yourself with the child passenger safety laws for where you are traveling. However, regardless of the state laws, follow “best practice” for use of car seats and booster seats. For example, a state may require only children under 4 to use car seats. The “best practice” is for a child less than 4’9” to be in a car seat or booster seat.

In general, car seats with an internal harness system can be used on airplanes. Check the label for FAA approval and check with the airline you are flying for restrictions. Children under age 2 are safer riding in a car seat than on your lap. Booster seats cannot be used on airplanes.

Packing:
If you are planning activities make sure you think about the safety gear, including helmets that may be needed. Either pack them along or check to see if the appropriate sizes are available where you are going.

Consider packing “child-proofing” materials such as outlet plugs, blind cord wind-ups, cabinet locks and door knob covers.

Prepare an emergency kit for your car. Include a flashlight, first aid kit, jumper cables, blankets, water and non-perishable food.

Medications:
Ensure you have packed all essential medications for you and your child. Leave medications in their designated bottles with child-proof caps.

Upon Arrival:
When staying at a hotel or resort, familiarize yourself and your children with the fire escape plan. Know where the exits are located.

Remember hotel rooms and family and friends homes are not all “child-proof”.

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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