Most child poisonings result from common household products. Every seven minutes, a child arrives at an emergency room due to a suspected poisoning.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission tells us the in 2003 there were about 78,000 children under the age of five visited hospital emergency rooms due to unintentional poisonings. More than nine in ten are suspected poison exposures that occur in the home. The cause is readily available household products. About thirty children will die from poisoning this year. This figure is down considerably since the 1960, where the prediction was approximately 450 children would die.
Parents can do their part. They can keep harmful products and all medications out of the reach of children. Storing those products in their original containers and properly using child resistant packaging.
So of the most potentially toxic household products that involved calls to the Poison Control Centers were:
Two groups that can help with child safety are grandparents and senior adults.
Those who care for their grandchildren should keep their prescription drugs in non-child-resistant pillboxes. Seniors who use weekly pill distribution containers can also be diligent and keep this out of reach. Children mimic those they love and want to emulate them.
Many poisoning occur while the products are in use and the parent or caregiver steps away or is distracted for a moment. Children can get hold of a product and swallow it in the time it takes to answer a phone call or the doorbell.
My personal experience in having the Poison Control number (1-800-222-1222) close to the phone centers around my daughter. As a young child, she had insatiable appetite for eating hand soap. We were able to control her ability to obtain this item by keeping it safely out of her reach. Nothing is more frightening then the first time you realize that your child has something in their mouths and you are not sure what the consequences are going to be.
As a parent who has been frightened by such an incident, I will like to at least try to prevent another parent from going thru such an ordeal.
Parents, PLEASE KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE.
Last year, just before school ended, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of 5th graders and their parents, about fireworks. One of the students had brought some fire crackers to school and he and some of his friends decided to “have some fun” and light them off in the playground. Fortunately a teacher saw this and confiscated the firecrackers before anyone was injured. During the meeting with this group, one youngster who I will call Randy, had a little smile on his face and actually snickered at one point. To make matters worse, his father had the same little smile. My sense was that they both thought this was some kind of joke.
A few days before the holiday, paramedics were called to the home of an 11 year old boy with a hand injury. It was Randy. An M-80 had exploded before he could throw it. His hand was mangled by the explosion and the paramedics were questioning whether two of his fingers could be saved. Today Randy has limited use of that hand and more than likely, it won’t get any better in the years to come.
Where would an 11-year-old get such a device? M-80 firecrackers are illegal in Maine. How does a child get possession of such a thing, you might ask. His Dad bought them. Dad, the one who ‘taught’ his son about fireworks, the one who snickered when I talked to him about how dangerous fireworks are in the hands of children, is now in tears. His son may lose his hand and he’s asking me, “Why didn’t I listen?”
As we approach this 4th of July holiday there’s a few things you might want to think about. First, the above situation did not have to happen and yet it’s repeated in emergency rooms over and over and over again. Second, fireworks are illegal for a reason. Quite simply, they are dangerous. They can maim or even kill those who mean the most to us – our family or even ourselves.
Fireworks displays are wonderful to watch. They are displayed by licensed pyro-technicians who are required to adhere to some extremely tight safety rules. Enjoy them. Take advantage of the displays in your community. But if you choose to do your own, you may be comforted to know that some very good hand and eye surgeons will be on duty this weekend, and you may get to meet them.
The popularity of candles has increased rapidly in the past few years, as have the number of advertisements in newspapers, catalogues, and magazines for mood candles, scented candles, novelty candles, and the like. We see that this popularity has even spread to our grocery stores in Maine where up to 168 square feet of floor space is devoted to nothing but candles. We even have our own cottage industry in the state that is manufacturing candles that are being shipped all over the world. Unfortunately, because of the popularity of candles and people not using them properly the number of fires in our cities and towns has dramatically increased.
The fires that have occurred have not been limited to any one group of people, age group, or even one section of our cities or towns. Portland, Maine in one ten day period this year had six fires that were attributed to candles. These fires were caused by candles to close to drapes in a bedroom, a candle placed on computer paper in a bedroom, to a candle in a bathroom that caught towels and toilet paper on fire. Two other fires occurred when candles that people thought they had put out weren’t. These candles burned down to below one inch causing the glass to crack and ignited the material underneath. These fires caused thousands of dollars in damages, the good news is no body was hurt because the smoke detectors in these homes were working!
These fires could have been prevented, if the person when they lit them had just look on the bottom of the candle and read the instructions on candle safety, or used a method called
“Six Point Candle Circle of Safety”.
You might ask what is this six point system is. It is as follows
If we follow these few basic rules candles can provide a great joy to all that gaze upon them, but if we don’t tragedy is just around the corner.
In the next couple of days many people in Maine will be going on vacation either to the Caribbean or to some place warm in the United States. Just because you’re going away and will be staying in a hotel or motel, doesn’t mean that you should forget about fire and life safety. In recent years, many hotels and motels have done a lot to keep guest safe from fire. Fires can happen in any building. You can increase your chances of surviving a hotel or motel fire by being prepared and doing the right thing in an emergency. Take the time to become familiar with your surroundings and to plan your escape in the event of fire. If a fire starts, follow the tips in this letter and, above all, stay calm.
Please remember that if you are vacationing outside the continental United States, that fire and life safety laws are not always the same as living in America. Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, as well as emergency plans that you find behind your door showing directions on how to evacuate your room safely might not be there.
Please take it upon yourself to check your escape route, as well as maybe taking a smoke detector with you on vacation just in case your vacation resort does not have them.
Before you leave you’re home to go on vacation though please make sure that someone will pick up your mail, cancele the newspaper and lower the heat. If you lower the heat to about 58 degree’s make sure you open the water cabinet doors so your water pipes will not freeze.
Other web sites that might help you make an informed decision on your vacation safety are:
Here’s a pretty common scene in homes everywhere. It’s Saturday night and you’ve got a dinner date. The baby sitter arrives and you inform him or her where you will be, a phone number in case of an emergency and an inventory of what’s in the refrigerator. You are out the door and the sitter settles into the television or the phone. Sound familiar? Well, here’s a little wake up for you. Have you ever thought about the awesome and overwhelming responsibility this babysitter has just assumed? You have left the most precious things in your life, your children, in the hands of a young person who will now be making some very serious decisions that will impact you for the rest of your life.
Heavy? I suppose so. But the safety and well being of your children are heavy items also and you need to protect them no matter what.
To be sure your children are safe and secure there are a few things you can and should do. First, before hiring a sitter make sure you know this person is responsible. Next, be sure that all the emergency numbers are written down and placed next to the phone. Go over these numbers with the sitter. Include the phone numbers of fire and police, the family doctor, ambulance, poison control and of course, a neighbor.
Take the sitter on a tour of the house. Your children may be familiar with the layout of the house but the sitter is not. Make sure they know their way around. Show the sitter the location of the fuse box, test the smoke detectors as you go through the house, and be sure they know where all the exits are.
Inform your sitter about any medications that must be given, the children’s sleeping habits and what time the children must be in bed. Tell them about rules such as what they may or may not eat and where in the house they can do this. You should also talk about rules concerning the sitter such as food, visitors, using the phone or stove, or if smoking is allowed in your home.
The sitter should know exactly what to do in case of emergencies such as a fire, an injury such as a cut or a head injury, nose bleed, or any other situation where they may need help.
Taking the time to check out your baby sitter can make a great difference to you and certainly to them. Teenagers who sit regularly to make extra money are usually very dependable and responsible. So before you leave your children to their care be kind to yourself. Take a few minutes to check them out. Your evening out will be much more relaxed.
For more information about baby sitting call your local fire department.
I know that I’m wondering where the summer went, how about you? It seems that whenever I wanted to do anything-it rained. Because of the rain my grass is greener but also taller and I spent a great deal of time trying to keep it under control. Oh and by the way I’m losing the battle. Just like me you are all wondering where the time has gone, and to think that in just a few weeks school will be starting up again. For those of us that are parents, it’s back to school shopping, getting the kids ready for a new sleep schedule and listening to “but I don’t want to go back to school”. But for all of us, whether we have children that are returning to school or not, it’s time to think about back to school safety.
Use this checklist to prepare your children for a safe school year.
If your child is home alone for a few hours after school:
Take time to listen carefully to your children’s fears, and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy. Tell them to trust their instincts. Take complaints about bullies and other concerns seriously. Remember it’s another new school year and although you might think that your children should know these rules, please refresh their memory.
The Shell Oil Company has just released a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones ignited fumes during fueling operations.
In the first case, a phone was placed on the trunk during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.
In the second case, an individual suffered burns to the face when he answered the phone while fueling.
And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car.
Cell phones can ignite fuel and fumes. Cell phones that light up when switched on or that ring, release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition. Cell phones should not be used at filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boats etc.
A Few Rules For Safe Fueling
On an average of three children per day – approximately 1,100 children under the age of 15 – die each year in house fires. Ninety- Five percent of fire deaths involving children occur in homes without smoke detectors. Sadly, many of these tragic deaths could be avoided with working smoke detectors.
You can help protect your family by changing your batteries when you change the time on your clocks this spring.
Most homes have smoke detectors, but nearly one-third of all battery-powered detectors do not work because of worn or missing batteries. The fact is, working smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half.
Maine had 22 fire deaths in 2003. In 8 of those instances there were no working smoke detectors present and in another 8 instances it was unknown if the smoke detectors operated. In many cases, a working smoke detector will make a difference between life and death.
In October, when you turn your clocks forward, take an extra minute to install fresh batteries in your smoke alarms. Then, push the button to make sure they are working properly.
We recommend that families have and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out every room, two ways out of the house, and a meeting place for the family to gather once outside the house. Remember always call the fire department from outside the house. If your smoke detector is not battery operated you should still check it once a month to see if it is working.
Remember, smoke detectors are a family’s best defense against fire. Keep them in top working condition with an annual battery change.
If you insist that your child wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, you’re giving your youngster a caring gift. During an accident, that helmet might save your child from a serious injury. According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 278,725 children ages 5 to 14, were rushed to the U. S. hospitals emergency rooms for bicycle related injuries during 2001.
Why stop at just bicycles? Your child faces similar dangers from skateboards, in-line skates, and scooters. For example in 2001 our countries emergencies rooms treated over 56,000 for in-line skating injuries, 42,000 for skate board injuries, and over 76,000 for scooter related injuries. Many of these cases involved head injuries.
The good news is that CPSC believes that helmets can reduce the severity of head injuries by 85%. To give your child this 85% edge, follow these safety headgear guidelines from the National Safety Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Start the helmet habit early, as soon as the little ones ride that first “big wheel” or tricycle. Let your child participate in choosing the helmets style and color. Letting them take ownership in this decision will make them want to use the helmet.
Buy approved helmets that display the CPSC or other testing laboratory labels.
Get a proper fit. Sit the helmet straight on the head, not tilting forward or back. Place it only two fingers above the eyebrows, but leave a clear field of view. Rest the junction of the chinstraps just below the ears and adjust the straps evenly so the helmet stays in place when the head moves quickly from side to side or up and down. Skateboarders often use helmets that provide more coverage to the back of the head than regular bicycle helmets do.
Purchase a helmet that fits your child now, not one to grow into Replace any helmet that has been in a crash, even if it shows no visible damage.
Another good idea, parents and caregivers should set an example for children by wearing their own helmets. Helmets are affordable; they range in price from $15 to $35 for standard models. So whatever the wheel sport, your family can be safe each time you hop on, lace up, or glide off.
Drying clothes in a clothes dryer is something almost everyone does. Just drop them in, turn the dryer on, and then off you go to do something else. How many of us turn the dryer on and leave home for a while? This practice is very dangerous. January 20, 2005 in Yarmouth, Maine the residents of 41 Woodbury Street left to go to work, but prior to going they decided to dry their clothing. When they returned at 5:45 PM they would encounter heavy smoke and flame coming from the basement. The fire department was called but the fire had a head start and was difficult to put out, causing extensive damage to the home. The cause of the fire would be determined to be the clothes dryer catching on fire.
Research by the National Fire Protection Association found that between the years 1994 and 1998, clothes dryers accounted for a significant portion of appliance fires. In fact clothes dryer’s fires caused and average of 14,800 home fires, more than 300 injuries and 16 deaths per year.
The following safety tips should prove helpful:
It doesn’t take much time to keep your dryer in working order and safe. A home fire can be devastating, as the residents of the Yarmouth home found out. Dryer fire can be easily preventable if you just take the time to check your appliance.
Who is this EDITH that can save your life? This EDITH is not a person, but a plan you make to escape from fire in your home. This EDITH stands for
Fires in the home are the cause of many deaths. In fact, 70% of all fatalities by fire occur in private residences. And, most of these could have been prevented if the families had a fire escape plan and if they had practiced the plan regularly. A good time to practice is during Fire Prevention Week in October.
Design A Plan
If you haven’t already designed a step-by-step plan for your emergency fire escape, sit down with your family today and make one. Plan for a least two-escape routes, in the event that fire blocks one of these routes. If the escape route is from the second floor, be sure there’s a safe way to the ground. If fire strikes, get out as quickly as possible. If it’s smokey stay low and crawl fast. Make sure that no one goes back into the house for anything.
Pick a Place to Meet
One of the most important parts of your plan is to designate a place outdoors where the family is to meet for a head count. That way you can make sure everyone has exited the building safely.
Practice Your Plan
After checking the plan on paper, actually go over the entire escape route with your family. This will ensure that everyone knows what he or she should do in case of an emergency.
Test Smoke Detectors
For the plan to be effective, your home has to have a working smoke detector. They should be positioned in your bedroom, outside your bedrooms as well as in your kitchen and in your basement. Test your smoke detector monthly and replace the battery at least twice a year. Make certain the fire department telephone number is attached to your phone so that found and dialed quickly in case of an emergency.
Check the Door
If you do suspect fire, test the door! If it’s hot, use the alternate escape route. If it’s cool open it a crack to check for smoke and heat. If smoke and heat come in use the alternate route out. Always keep doors closed between you the smoke and fire.
Tell the Kids
Tell little kids never to hide if there’s a fire… not in closets under beds or under their blankets. Tell them to wait by a window and signal with a bed sheet or flash light. Sit down with your family and make your escape plans and practice them! Exit drills in the home may save your life, or the life of someone you love!
E.D.I.T.H. can save your life! Make your escape plans and practice them today!
It’s a beautiful sunny day the birds are chirping and it’s time to lose those ten extra pounds I gained during the winter months. What a great day for a bike ride. I go to my shed and take out my mountain bike and head on down the road to the park. As I’m riding down the road I keep on feeling that I forgot something.
Bicycling is a fun and healthy exercise. But before riding your bicycle on the road or in the woods, take the time to learn the rules. Many bicyclists are seriously injured in accidents because they are less protected than drivers of automobiles and /or they do not practice safe riding skills.
Lets talk about the Dos and Don’ts of Bicycle Safety.
Wear a bike helmet at all times; bicycle helmets are essential element to bike safety. Always strap on an approved ANSI safety helmet before you ride.
Traffic laws apply to people riding bicycles. The laws are the same for cars as well as bikes.
So strap on that helmet after you’ve had a safety check at your local bike shop, head out and have a good time. I don’t know what I enjoy more the sound of the birds or me huffing and puffing on down the road.