Author Archive

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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18

The Dangers of Winter Coats in Car Seats

Nov
No Comments   Posted by safekids |  Category:Uncategorized

As temperatures dip we bundle our children up to prepare them for the elements, but even with good intentions, a bulky coat and a car seat is a dangerous combination.

We all want to keep our children warm while traveling in the car, but there are ways to safely transport children in the cold weather while still keeping them warm.

As a general rule, winter coats should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. A bulky coat under a child seat harness can result in the harness being too loose to be effective in a crash. Here is a simple way to check if your child’s coat is too big to wear under their harness, as well as what you can do test if it’s too big:

  • Put the coat on your child, sit them in the child seat and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
  • Without loosening the harness, remove your child from the child seat,
  • Take the coat off, and put your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness straps, which are still adjusted as they were when he was wearing the coat.
  • If you can now pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.

If you find that the coat cannot be safely worn under the harness, here are a couple things you can do to keep your child safe and warm in his/her child seat.

  • After securing your child in his/her child seat, turn the coat around and put it on backward with their arms through the arm holes and the back of the coat acting like a blanket
  • Lay a blanket over your child to keep him/her warm.

One of the most common misuse conditions seen in child seats is that the harness is too loose, and wearing a big winter coat under the harness is just one of the ways that it can happen. It is very important that the harness is tight enough that you can’t pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. Extra slack in the harness can be very dangerous; it can lead to too much excursion or even ejection during a crash.

These tips should help keep your precious little ones safe and warm this winter.

For more information about car seat 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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11

Carbon Monoxide Alarms Could Prevent Half of All CO Deaths

Nov

With the arrival of the holiday season comes the arrival of colder weather, as well as an increase in the number of fuel-burning appliances being used in the home. These appliances include ovens, space heaters, generators, indoor grills and fireplaces, and they can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in the home.

Families today are better at understanding the importance of having working smoke alarms in every sleeping area, but what about carbon monoxide alarms? Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it is odorless, invisible, and it can kill. CO can make a child seriously ill in small doses that might not noticeably affect an adult.

According to a study from 2004 to 2006, children younger than 5 years old have the highest estimated rate of CO-related visits to the emergency room each year among all age groups in the United States.  More than 25 kids die from CO poisoning every year.

Important safety tips to protect families from CO poisoning:

*Prevent CO buildup in the first place – make sure heating appliances are in good working order and used only in well-ventilated areas.

*Don’t run a car engine in the garage, even to warm it up; move the car outside first.

*Install a CO alarm outside every sleeping area, on every level of your home and at least 15 feet away from every fuel-burning appliance.

*When you check your smoke alarm batteries each month, check the batteries on your CO alarms at the same time – and replace the batteries twice a year.

*Never use a stove for heating.

*Have all gas, oil or coal burning appliances inspected by a technician every year to ensure they’re working correctly and are properly ventilated.

*If a CO leak is suspected, open windows to allow fresh air into the home. If someone who has been in a poorly ventilated room with a fuel-burning appliance exhibits symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or confusion, move the victim to fresh air and call 911.

If more than one person in the home suddenly feels ill for no apparent reason, or if a CO alarm goes off, get everyone outside immediately and call 911 from a pre-arranged meeting place. CO alarms are available at hardware stores for about $20. That is a small price to pay to help detect odorless, poisonous gases in the home before it’s too late.

For more information about CO poisoning, 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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04

Hunting Safety Tips from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Nov

Did you know that half of all households in America have at least one firearm? For that reason and now that it is gun hunting season, it is important that all guns and firearms be properly locked and stored. Approximately 150 children age 14 and younger die each year from accidental gunshot wounds and hundreds more are injured or permanently disabled.

Accidental shootings among children most often occur when children are unsupervised and out of school. You can help enforce gun safety by following these guidelines:
1) Assume all guns are loaded. Before handling a gun, make sure it is unloaded.
2) Keep guns out of sight and reach of children.
3) Always keep guns unloaded and locked up.
4) Use a trigger lock on all guns.
5) Lock ammunition in a separate place from the gun.
6) Teach your children to stay away from guns.

Parents should teach children to follow a safety procedure if they see a gun:
STOP! -
DON’T TOUCH -
LEAVE THE AREA -
TELL AN ADULT –

Gun locks are available free of charge at the Safe Kids Grand Forks office and the Grand Forks Police Department.

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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28

Halloween Safety with Safe Kids Grand Forks

Oct

The leaves are falling, the air is colder, and Halloween is almost upon us. Halloween is a fun holiday and a great time to reinforce some general safety tips with your children as well as some safety precautions that apply mainly to Halloween. Below are some important safety tips to keep your Halloween safe.

Pedestrian and Motorists Safety Tips:

  • • Decorate costumes with retro reflective tape or stickers.
  • • Use costumes that are light or bright to make children more visible at night.
  • • Teach children to walk, not run while trick-or-treating.
  • • Remind children to stop at all street corners before crossing.
  • • Remember to cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • • Look left, right, and left again before crossing & while crossing.
  • • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • • Watch for children walking in the street or on curbs.
  • • Enter and exit driveways very carefully.
  • • Teach children to enter and exit cars on the curbside, away from traffic.

General Halloween Safety Tips:

  • • Accompany children under age 12 while trick-or-treating.
  • • Attach the name, address and phone # in the children’s clothing in case they get separated from their parents.
  • • Instruct children to travel in familiar neighborhoods and along designated routes.
  • • Instruct children to never enter a home/apartment unless accompanied by an adult.
  • • Be careful with costumes around jack-o-lanterns or candles that may be serving as a porch/step decoration.
  • • Tell children to bring all treats home before eating them. Carefully inspect items to be sure they have not been tampered with and are safety sealed.

Halloween Falls Safety Tips:

  • • Apply face paint rather than wearing a mask. If a mask is worn, be sure that it fits properly and the eye holes are large enough for full vision.
  • • Give trick-or-treaters a flashlight to use.
  • • Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping.
  • • Secure hats so they do not fall over children’s eyes.
  • • Dress in shoes that fit. Large, adult size shoes make it easier to fall.
  • • Allow children to carry only flexible knives, swords or props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
  • • Teach children not to cut across lawns. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are “hidden hazards” in the dark. Stay on the sidewalks at all times.

Halloween Burn Safety Tips:

  • • Look for flame resistant labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
  • • Use fire resistant materials when making costumes.
  • • Avoid costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy sleeves, tails or flowing skirts. They are more likely to come in contact with exposed flames.
  • • Keep candles, pumpkins with candles, matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • • Use flameless candles in pumpkins rather than ones with true flames. (Safe Kids Grand Forks has them for sale.)

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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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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