Across Wisconsin, families are gearing up for another school year. It’s a good time to remind drivers to slow down and be aware of your surroundings, especially in school zones. According to Safe Kids research, 1 in 6 drivers driving in school zones is distracted. In 2009, 13,000 pedestrians age 14 and younger were injured. …Continue reading this post
There are two “must do’s” every parent should be aware of when it comes to their children and boating safety:
- Make sure your child wears a life jacket properly.
- Actively supervise your children on the boat.
Drowning causes nearly three-fourths of boating accident deaths each year. On average, 84 percent of these victims were not using a life jacket. …Continue reading this post
It’s a warm summer day and you’re at the pool with your kids. Your cell phone rings and you answer it, shifting focus from your kids to the phone conversation. Good idea? Not at all. It could even be deadly. Most kids were under an adult’s supervision just before they drowned.
Active supervision is the most important precaution for drowning. A supervised child is in sight at all times …Continue reading this post
Throughout the country, temperatures are climbing into the upper 90′s with heat indices well above 100. This is a perfect time to remind everyone about the dangers of heat stroke in cars. We all forget things, right? But what about our own children? That’s nearly impossible, isn’t it? As schedules get more hectic, multitasking has become the new way of life. This can cloud our brains, causing us to forget something very near and dear: our kids.
Between 1998 and 2009, 445 children died in the U.S. from heat stroke because they were left unattended in cars that became too hot for them to survive. More than half of those children were forgotten by a caring adult because he or she got distracted after leaving the vehicle. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent this nightmare from happening to you:
- Set your cell phone reminder to be sure you drop your children off at daycare.
- Set your computer programs to ask, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
- Place your cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase or gym bag on the floor in front of your child in the back seat. This forces you to open the back door and see your child when you leave the car.
- Ask your child care provider to call if your children do not arrive when expected.
You can learn more about the dangers of children left in vehicles at SafeKidsWI.org.
~ Libbe Slavin, coordinator, Safe Kids Wisconsin Coalition.
Where did the time go? This is what we as parents ask ourselves as our child turns 18. An adult – no way – but not a child either. The new adult often feels empowered, anxious to make decisions, and to determine their own course. For example, having to sign a release of information to allow mom and/or dad to talk to the doctor is a real eye opener for both the adult child and for parents.
As in all of life, adulthood is not an event but a process that starts way before age 18. By slowly giving and trusting your child with age-appropriate responsibilities, turning 18 becomes just another step in growing up. However, there are some big time legal changes that all teens need to be aware of. Below is a short list of suggested discussion points about adult rights and responsibilities. Good Luck!
- You are legally responsible for your actions – please think before you act.
- You can own things; a car, a credit card – money is needed to pay for these things.
- You can vote – a right many other countries do not have.
- If you break the law you will pay the fine or perhaps go to jail.
- Risk taking behavior is part of early adulthood – be aware.
- I am here to help you make good choices – I will listen.
The State of Wisconsin Bar Association is revising its publication, On Being 18. You can currently only find it on-line.
~ Darcia Behrens, LCSW, supervisor/clinician, Family Services, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
As the weather gets warmer, kids are eager to play outside. Help protect your children with these helpful tips.
What you use
- Wear a helmet if you are moving faster than you can run (scooters, skateboards, bikes and rollerblades). Certain sports require styles of helmets that meet sport-specific risks.
- Wear wrist guards with any skating activity.
- Wear protective eyewear with any racquet or paintball activity.
- Wear a mouth guard for sports including football, martial arts, volleyball, soccer and skateboarding.
Learn more about bicycling, in-line skating and skateboarding safety and injury prevention tips here. You can buy safety helmets at the Emergency Department/Trauma Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for $10 to $15. Care partners will size and fit the helmet for your child. No appointment is necessary. Get directions here.
What you drink
Drinking plenty of water is especially important in hot weather. It can prevent cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends these guidelines for proper fluid intake:
- Drink 16 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise.
- On warmer days, drink an additional 8 to 16 ounces of fluid 30 to 60 minutes before exercise.
- Drink fluids regularly during exercise.
Where you play
- Ensure safe surroundings from traffic or other people.
- Check for clear, clean and safe areas (free of glass or debris).
- Wear proper sun protection when you are outside, even on cloudy days (protective clothing, hats, long sleeves and sunscreen of at least 15 SPF).
For more information about youth sports safety, visit the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation website.
~ Stacy Stolzman, MPT, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Home can be a great place for families to exercise together – especially when the clouds and rain make it difficult to get outside. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says more than 25,000 kids are injured by home exercise equipment every year. It is important for families to learn how to use home exercise equipment safely.
Treadmills are a top safety hazard. Children are fascinated by treadmills and want to imitate their parents by walking on them. On a moving treadmill, children can slip and fall, get clothing or hair caught in the belt or sustain burns from the moving belt.
Children younger than 10 should not use a treadmill. Children older than 10 should be watched closely while using a treadmill. When not in use, the activation key should be placed out of reach and the treadmill should be unplugged. If possible, the room where the treadmill is located should be locked.
Weightlifting equipment also can put children at risk for injury through misuse. Until children are preteens, they should use only body weight or resistance bands for strength training. Children do not have the understanding of their limits that is required for controlled weight training. This can lead to overuse or trauma injuries. A child also can easily get a hand caught in the pulleys of weight equipment.
To prevent weightlifting injuries, place weights in a locked cabinet or room so children do not have access to them. Instruct preteens and teens in proper weight training techniques. Parents should seek information through the school gym teacher, a fitness instructor or athletic trainer.
Other safety tips
In general, parents should not wear headphones while exercising to be more aware of the environment. This can help prevent children from sneaking up and getting hands caught in pedaling bicycles, treadmill belts or plates of weight-training equipment. Parents also should explain that exercise equipment is for adults only.
~ Stacy Stolzman, MPT, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
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 →
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 .
- 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.
As usually happens this time of year in Wisconsin, the snow has arrived and more is on its way. The forecast of snow is a good opportunity to remind your teen driver about safe winter driving habits. Here are some starters:
- Check the current road conditions before you leave.
- Review how to operate the wipers, headlights, and defroster.
- Before driving, clear snow and ice from all windows, the headlights, tail lights, and mirrors too.
- Drive slowly and give plenty of time to slow down, come to a stop, change lanes, or turn.
- Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do.
- Be aware that it may be more slippery on bridges and freeway ramps or from drifting snow.
- Don’t use the cruise control. Tapping the break to turn it off can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Braking correctly in snowy conditions is different. It takes more time and distance to stop in slippery conditions, and larger vehicles need more stopping distance than smaller ones. Vehicles with 4-wheel drive may have better traction getting started but still need a longer distance to stop. If your car has anti-lock brakes do not pump the brakes to stop; instead keep braking steadily and steer out of the situation.
The DOT website has more information about driving in winter weather conditions: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/winterdriving/driving-tips.htm. For more information about keeping your teen driver safe, go to www.bluekids.org/cruisecontrol. To read more about motor vehicle safety, click here and remember to drive safely!
-Deena Liska, motor vehicle safety educator, Children’s Health Education Center