Little hands and fireworks – not a bright idea

The summer months are a time when families enjoy a variety of activities outdoors; however, it’s also when fireworks cause devastating residential fires and serious injuries to children. According to the United States Fire Administration, fireworks injure nearly 9,000 people annually. Children younger than 15 years old account for 39 percent of the estimated fireworks injuries, which include serious burns. In 2009, 67 percent of fireworks injuries occurred between June 19 and July 19.

The National Fire Protection Agency reports that sparklers, which typically are viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries, accounting for one-third of the injuries to children age 5 and younger.

Safe Kids USA urges parents to practice these safety tips recommended by the United States Fire administration to reduce the risk of a residential fire or a trip to the emergency room and ensure this summer is a safe one for your family.

Fireworks safety

  • The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays hosted by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
  • If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.

For more information about summer fire safety, visit www.safekids.org.

~ Lisa Klindt Simpson, coordinator, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin

Updated car/booster seat recommendations – make sure your child is riding safely

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with updated recommendations regarding our children’s car and booster seats. If you’ve had your seat installed or checked by a certified car seat technician with Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin Coalition or  Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, then you already may be familiar with these recommendations. They aren’t laws, but they do mirror the best practice messages we teach parents served through our car seat clinic and car seat check events.

The recommendations can get a little confusing, so here’s a breakdown:

  • Rear-facing: Your child should stay rear-facing until at least age 2 (longer if he or she still fits within the weight and height of his or her rear-facing seat). If your child outgrows his or her rear-facing infant seat before age 2, move the child into a seat that can remain rear-facing but accommodates higher weights and heights. Many seats now have rear-facing weight capacity that go up to 30-40 pounds. Rear-facing seats offer much more protection in a crash protecting a child’s back, neck and head. One-year-olds are 5 times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing seat, according to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. crash data.
  • Forward-facing: Once a child has outgrown his or her rear-facing seat and is at least 2 years old, he or she may be turned forward-facing in a harness seat – preferably a five-point harness. The child should remain in the forward-facing harness seat as long as the child is within the weight and height requirements of the forward-facing seat. Many forward-facing seats now have harnesses that can accommodate children from 50-80 pounds and are taller than they’ve ever been in the past. The five points of contact the harness provides the child offers much more stability in a crash, reducing the risk of injury, than the three points of contact a seat belt provides. Minimum requirement by Wisconsin law says your child must stay in a harness seat until he or she is 4 years old and 40 pounds. If he or she is in a higher weight harness seat, your child can stay in a harness much longer than this minimum requirement. …Continue reading →

Keep your child safe and comfortable this winter

Currently, the temperature in Milwaukee is 26 degrees. It’s cloudy and winds are out of the west at 5 miles per hour. That means it’s time to bundle up. It also means it’s a good time to check your child’s car seat. Puffy winter coats do affect how snug a seatbelt or car seat harness straps fit someone:

  • It’s more difficult to maneuver.
  • The harness straps or seatbelt doesn’t fit as tight as usual.
  • A combination of layers of clothing, a heavy winter coat or snowsuit and a padded car seat also can lead to your child overheating.

What parents can do.

  • Try layering with fleece and a thinner winter coat over top. You also may try thin, more fitted jackets.
  • Just as we would not enjoy driving our vehicles in a snowsuit, babies and kids are not comfortable with too many layers, and do not need to be excessively bundled up.

Harness should fit snugly.

  • Rear facing seats- the harness height should be at or below the top of the child’s shoulder.
  • Forward facing seats – the harness height should be at or above the top of the child’s shoulder
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  • Harness should fit snugly, parents should not be able to pinch any slack in the harness at the shoulder, only one finger should fit snugly between the shoulder and the harness.
  • The chest clip should always be at arm pit level.

Here’s hoping your children stay warm and safe. For more resources, click here.

~ Lisa Klindt Simpson, coordinator, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin

Safe peddling for the warmer months

A child is 14 times more likely to survive a bike crash if he or she is wearing a helmet.

Each day in emergency rooms across the country, more than 700 kids are treated for injuries received while riding bikes, skateboards and scooters. Many of these injuries are life-threatening and disabling. Wearing helmets and other protective gear, and following the rules of the road can help prevent injuries.

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Protect your child from window falls

It’s finally here: spring! It’s time to open the windows to let in some fresh air!

But wait, this also is the time of year when you hear news reports about small children falling from windows. In fact, every year, thousands of children fall from open windows causing serious injury or death. This year, there already have been at least two incidences in our area.

Window screens are not enough. They are made to keep bugs outside – they won’t keep children inside. There is an effective device that can help protect children from falling out of windows – window guards. These guards are easy to install and have a release mechanism in case of an emergency.

Remember, no device replaces active parent supervision. Safety items such as window guards are an aide to help busy, overworked parents.

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