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Posts Tagged ‘Safety’

Bike Readiness & Helmet Safety

During the summer months, it is important to verify bike readiness by running through this checklist to ensure your children’s safety.twenty20_fc896173-a5ae-4b99-8237-0ab82975d14a

  • Make sure their helmet still fits properly. If the helmet is too small or has previously been involved in a crash or has been damaged, replace it.
  • Clean off all the dust on the bike and check for loose parts, this includes the seat and handlebars.
  • Check and inflate the tires. Also, check for tire wear and dry rot.
  • Adjust the seat. Your children have grown since the last time they rode their bikes. When seated on the bike, your child should be able to stand on the balls of both feet.
  • Check the handlebars. They should be easy to grasp without leaning forward.
  • Make sure the brakes are working properly and there is no wear.
  • Buy the appropriate sized bike. Never buy a bike that your child will “grow into.”

Bike Helmet Safety

Many children do not like wearing helmets because they fear they are “uncool.” Because of this, it is important to have your children start wearing a helmet with their first tricycles or play vehicles to get them in the habit. Let your children know you expect them to wear a helmet every time they ride. Be a role model and wear a helmet when you ride your bike; your children are more likely to wear a helmet if they see you demonstrating good safety.

Allowing your children to choose their own helmet will increase the probability that they will want to wear it. Make sure when purchasing a new helmet that it is the correct size. Never buy a helmet that your child will “grow into.”

  • The helmet should sit level on your child’s head. It should be low on the forehead, about one or two finger widths above their eyebrows.
  • Adjust the straps so they meet in a “V” right under each ear.
  • Adjust the chinstrap snugly under the chin so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap. Keep the helmet tight enough so the helmet pulls down when you child opens his or her mouth.
  • Always make sure helmet straps are buckled when your child is riding.

Summer Sun and Heat Safety Tips

Keeping cool throughout hot summer months can be a challenge, especially in hotter and more humid climates. Tune in to the weather reports on exceptionally hot and humid days and share the tips below with your family.

Apply Sunscreen before Leaving the House

Whether you are headed to the pool, the beach or your back yard, make sure you apply sunscreen to yourself and your children. Don’t miss the tops of the ears and the hands. When applying sunscreen to the skin around the eyes, try using a tear-free sunscreen specially formulated for the face. Sunburns can occur in fifteen minutes of sun exposure and can even occur on cloudy days, so applying sunscreen before heading out and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is important.

Keep Activity Levels Low When the Humidity Is High

Stay safe on extremely hot and humid days by keeping an eye on weather advisories and the Heat Index graph the National Weather Service publishes. If your children play outside in humid weather, have them come inside and drink water every fifteen minutes.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Children should typically drink five to eight cups of water every day, depending on how active they are.  On extremely hot and humid days, offer your children more than the recommended daily amount, especially before, during and after physical activity. Since children model their behavior on ours, we need to make sure we’re getting enough water every day, too.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Normal reactions to hot weather include heavy sweating, a red face, heavy breathing, thirst and muscle cramps. However, if your child exhibits these reactions along with dizziness, fainting, clamminess, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or a lack of sweat, your child might have heat exhaustion. If your child shows any of these symptoms, take your child indoors or to a shady spot and give your child plenty of water or an electrolyte drink. If the symptoms do not subside in an hour, seek the help of a doctor.  Keep your child indoors until all the symptoms clear up and your child is feeling better.

Play Indoors

If it is too hot and humid for outside play, try one of these simple indoor activities.

  • Create an indoor beach day. Unpack your beach towels, sunglasses and hats. Fill a large plastic bin with sand from your sand box or from a home improvement store. Put the bin on a blanket or sheet to catch any sand that may spill. Toss some beach toys in the bin and let your children play in the sand while enjoying your air conditioning.  Grab some favorite beach treats like ice cream sandwiches or popsicles.  Better yet, make your own ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream.
  • Go fishing. Craft your own indoor fishing game by cutting a big piece of blue felt into a round shape, like a pond or lake. Lay the blue felt flat on the floor. Cut felt or cardstock into fish shapes and punch a small hole in the mouth area of each. Tie a lightweight washer to the mouth of each fish with yarn or twine.  Create a fishing rod with a stick from your yard or a dowel from a craft store. Tie one end of a long strand of yarn or twine to the end of the stick or dowel and tie a ring magnet to the other end of the yarn. Toss the fish in the pond and have your little ones take turns fishing. (You can also buy indoor fishing games online.)
  • Build a “sand” castle. Use blocks to build a castle with your children. Try different configurations and take pictures of each to capture your indoor beach day memories.

What do you do with your children when it is too hot to play outside?

Concussions in Infants & Toddlers: Sung to the tune of “Five Little Monkeys Jumpin’ on the Bed”

By Jack Maypole, MD
Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

Gravity sucks (well, actually, it pulls). If you are an infant or toddler, The Goddard Schoolanyway, it remains one of the greatest challenges you face. One does not need to be a phrenologist to know that the noggins of our littlest children get bumpy as they are knocked and bonked with zillions of pratfalls and tumbles each day. The question is: when is it serious? When should these kids be seen by a doctor?

To truly gain insight into this phenomenon, let us turn to the celebrated case study of the “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”

To the less initiated, this case presented as follows. Five infant and toddler primates were performing gymnastics in a bedroom. In succession, each individual was observed to fall, striking some aspect of his or her brainpan.

Their parents wisely and serially put the question to the on-call clinician: how will I know if my child has a concussion?

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,
One four-year-old fell off and bumped his head
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said:
“Look at the bump: is it bleeding, swollen or red?
As for the kiddo, check STAT for these signs
(as a pediatrician and dad who’s done this a few hundred times):
Most worrisome is a child who is unconscious or seizes
Or who oozes blood or fluid from their nose, mouth or earses.
If that happens, it suggests urgency,
Call 911, or get the to a room of Emergency…
Or — think right away, did he cry right after?
Was he quickly recovering with grinning and laughter?
That’d be reassuring, to see a smiling squirt-
Headbonked, perhaps, but likely not badly hurt.
There are some things in which you can trust,
That’ll manifest sooner or later, in a littlun concussed.
But then four little monkeys were jumping on the bed,
The 3-year-old fell off and bumped her head. Papa called the NP and she said:
“Cried right away! Good, she’s awake, and again busy?
Ask her if she feels a headache, pukey, or dizzy.
She might feel funky, get crabby, or throw up in your flowers.
These symptoms usually show up in the first six to eight hours.
For toddlers and up a mild headache or single throw-up can be par for the course;
I’d consider a callback to the doc if you think it gets worse.
These could herald a mild brain injury, or concussion;
To the ER or clinic you’d best go, to have that discussion.
And soon three little monkeys were jumping on the bed,
Then the 2-year-old fell off and bumped her head. Zen-like, Momma called the on-call doc and he said:
“Thanks for calling, now ask me your questions.
I’ll ponder the story, and make some suggestions.
Can she sleep? Sure. That the concussed can’t is a myth. (Lethargy is the concern, and is hard to miss!)
Might she be crabby? Somewhat is okay,
but unceasing crankiness get check’d, forthwith!
Most kids should respond to “supportive care”-
Hugs, chilling out and Motrin work there.
And, on cue, two little monkeys were left on the bed,
and the yearling old rolled off and bumped his head.
Papa called the clinic and the care provider said:
“For these kids who cannot talk yet,
Our approach is as much doctor as it is vet.
Fortunately, we consider lower risk for the kids with lesser falls,
Like sliding off a couch, stumbling over their feet, or careening off walls.
These tend to be a bit more tame;
(though we take ’em all seriously in the head injury game!)
But folks should check ’em out, just the same.
And for all kids who fell farther, or with a ’worse mechanism of injury’
Like a car crash or sledding accident when do you worry?
We’re extra cautious for them, as for babies of six months or less.
Consulting a doc for all these may be best.
And do a headcheck as a part of routine:
Kids with scalp dents or babies with big bumps may need to be seen.
Ditto for headaches, copious vomiting, or confusion;
Your clinic’s contact info might need using!
And then there was a six-month-old monkey snoozing on the bed
While stirring, she slipped, and down to earth she sped.
Momma called the doctor and then Momma said:
“I have successfully prevented an injury to her head!
Carseats, bike helmets, and childproofing our homes
Will lower the rate of bonks to lil monkey’s dome.
Not leaving babies unattended up on high places,
Closing my windows against where they press faces,
Are steps on the road to safety, a trip I’m starting,
To avert the dangers of head injury, as research is imparting…
Concussions happen, and can be treated, ’nuff said.
Oh, and there’d best be no more monkeys jumpin’ on the bed!

Baby Safety Tips: September is National Baby Safety Month

  • Blocks - Infant GirlBabies should always be placed on their backs to sleep—unless your pediatrician advises you otherwise for medical concerns. Remember, bumpers and blankets in the crib are a no-no for infants.
  • Be sure to child-proof your home before your baby begins to crawl. Get down to a baby’s level and crawl around—really look at your home from a baby’s point of view. Child-proof cords, electrical outlets, TVs, etc. accordingly.
  • Until your baby can safely hold her own bottle, be sure an adult feeds baby. Bottle propping can be dangerous.
  • Be sure that all toys are age appropriate. A great rule of thumb: if a toy can fit in an empty toilet paper tube, that toy is too small for baby.
  • Babies are naturally very curious. Be sure to save “No!” for when it really matters—in the case of safety or something you feel most strongly about.

Getting Ready to Fly: Airline Safety for Young Children

These days, many airlines still allow children under the age of two to travel on their parent’s lap. But, did you know that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) recommends otherwise?

The FAA says that “the safest place for your little one during turbulence or an emergency is in an approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap” and “strongly urges parents and guardians to secure children in an appropriate restraint based on weight and size. Keeping a child in a CRS or device during the flight is the smart and right thing to do.”

Take The Safe Driving Pledge

Distracted driving is thought to be the cause of 80 percent of all crashes.  For my family and the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians around me, I promise to cut back on distractions while I’m behind the wheel.

From now on, when driving I will not:

  • Use my cell phone or any handheld devise
  • Fiddle with my GPS
  • Change CDs or DVDs
  • Retrieve objects from the floor or glove box
  • Put on makeup or fix my hair
  • Do anything that takes my focus off the road

If I’m a passenger in a car with a driver who breaks these rules, I’ll speak up.

When it comes to the children in my car, I will not:

  • Pass toys or snacks to kids sitting in the backseat
  • Allow them to throw anything inside our vehicle (and I’ll impose a punishment if they do)

The next time I shop for a car, I’ll look for one with anti-distraction features.

Information provided by Parents.com/driving-pledge

Child Proofing Your Home

Blocks - Infant GirlAs a parent, you probably never stop worrying about your child. Is he or she happy? Healthy? Safe? While you can’t control everything, there are steps that you can take in your home to help improve your child’s safety and well-being.

Childproofing your home can be an overwhelming task. The most effective way to start is to evaluate your home, room by room, from your child’s perspective. If your child is crawling, get down on your hands and knees. Is your child toddling or walking? Get down to his or her level and check out the view. If you were crawling, toddling or walking where would you go? What looks tempting or interesting? What is within reach? Where could you climb? While not all accidents can be avoided, below are some general childproofing tips to help you get started. Remember to evaluate every area in your home for potential dangers.

Also keep in mind that childproofing is an ongoing process. As your child grows and develops (e.g., crawling, toddling, walking), you will need to reevaluate your childproofing efforts upon each milestone.

Furniture & Appliances

  • Secure heavy furniture and appliances to walls wherever possible.
  • Store heavy items on the bottoms of furniture such as bookshelves and cabinets so they are not top heavy.
  • Keep furniture and/or office drawers closed when not in use – climbing children tend to use these as ladders.
  • Make sure heavy appliances, such as televisions and computers, are pushed back from the edges of furniture – bolt them to the wall if possible.
  • Cover pointed edges of furniture with guards or bumpers
  • In the kitchen, use a stove guard to prevent your child from touching the burners or pulling at hot pots.
  • Use plastic covers if the stove’s knobs are within your child’s reach.
  • Always lock your oven or invest in a lock to prevent your child from opening the oven door.

Doors & Windows

  • Keep windows and doors closed and locked when not in use.
  • Use door knob covers. Be sure that these covers are sturdy enough not to break, but also allow doors to open quickly by and adult in case of emergency.
  • Use door stops or door holders on doors and hinges to keep little fingers safe.
  • Place marks or stickers on glass and sliding doors to make them visible.
  • Keep furniture away from windows.
  • If you have double hung windows, open them from the top.
  • Never open low windows more than four inches.
  • Use window stops, to prevent windows from opening more than four inches.

Blinds, Curtains & Draperies

  • Keep your child’s crib or bed away from blinds, curtains or draperies.
  • Keep blind, curtain and drapery pull cords out of your child’s reach.
    • Cut or remove pull cords.
    • Replace pull cords with safety tassels.
    • Use inner cord stops.
  • Make sure that older blinds and drapery cords have tie-down devices to hold the cords tight.
  • When purchasing new window coverings ask for those with child safety features.

Bathroom

  • Keep the toilet seat down when not in use.
  • Install a toilet lid lock to prevent your child from lifting the lid.
  • Always unplug appliances such as curling irons and hair dryers, after each use (and never keep anything plugged‑in near water).
  • Keep all medications and vitamins in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep razors, scissors, tweezers and other sharp bathroom objects in a high or locked cabinet.
  • Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees or lower to help prevent burns from hot water.
  • Install anti-scald devices on faucets and showerheads.
  • Use a non-slip mat in the bathtub and on the floor next to the bathtub to prevent slips.

Cabinets, Closets & Drawers

  • Secure cabinets, closets and/or drawers with locks or child-proof latches.
  • Store sharp, potentially harmful objects and dangerous products in high cabinets, out of your child’s reach.

Stairways & Other Areas

  • At the top and bottom of stairs, use safety gates that screw in place; they are more secure than those that stay in place with pressure.
  • Use safety gates that children cannot dislodge, but that you can easily open and close so you will be less likely to leave them open.
  • Use safety gates to prevent your child’s curious exploration into dangerous areas around your home such as the kitchen, bathroom, pool and hot tub.

Electrical Outlets

  • Cover or replace all electrical outlets.
    • Plastic Outlet Protectors –These devices fit directly into the outlet holes to prevent the insertion of foreign objects. If using these protectors; make sure they are large enough not to be a choking hazard.
    • Tamper Resistant Outlet Covers – These outlets look just like regular outlets, but use a plastic shutter to prevent the insertion of foreign objects.
    • Tamper Resistant Outlet Face Covers – These receptacle covers have plates that slide over the outlet holes when not in use. Some require replacing the entire outlet cover, others install over the existing outlet face cover.
  • Use a power strip safety cover on all in-use power strips.

Sources: www.cpsc.gov, www.babycenter.com, www.kidshealth.org