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CONSUMER REPORTS RECALLS INITIAL REPORT: Revises Position on Infant Seat Safety In a story in Consumer Reports in the February 2007 issue, it was said that infant car seats performed poorly in frontal and side crash tests. Research results stated that only two out of twelve car seats tested performed well. This report ignited fear in parents who were using the car seats that performed poorly, even though passing federal safety standards. The story further implied that tougher safety tests were needed and that problems with Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) should be addressed. LATCH devices attach the base of a car seat to the car. By contrast it was noted in the Consumer Reports September issue that the first report was recalled due to poor research and was therefore “flawed.” Eleven out of twelve car seats that were named in the February 2007 issue were re-tested. Federal guidelines require that car seats and booster seats pass frontal impact at 30-mph. With these guidelines in mind, car seats were tested using a 22-pound dummy at a 30-mph head on collision. Each seat was crash tested twice, once using a seat belt to secure the

Helmets are for Geeks By Tom Metcalf, MD

“Are you pretty good?”, I ask. “Yeah, pretty good. I keep up,” he says. “Do you wear a helmet?” “Naw, they look dorky, and I don’t do any dangerous stuff.”

He’ll never be the same Brandon I knew before, a little brash, with a bit of bravado. He’ll never live on his own, he’ll never marry, or have kids, but he’ll be smart enough to wish that he’d never lived through it all, that he were dead. He also wears a helmet, nearly all the time, in case he has another seizure, and falls. As I sit there with this mom, I know she’s lost this specific contest of adolescence. No way this kid’s going to wear a helmet to skateboard. It’s just not cool. Go figure. Parents, you have to start early. I used to be asked, “How do I keep my kid in his car seat?” Now it’s a given. So think of helmets as a test of parenting. If you can’t get your wee one to go to bed at night, that’s a bad sign for the future unless you learn how to set limits.

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I’m sitting with an adolescent and his mom, doing a well-kid check-up. His grades are good, and he plays clarinet in the orchestra. I ask him what sports he likes, and he replies that he is an avid skateboarder.

As I sit there, I see another patient of mine, Brandon, in my mind’s eye. He spent one month in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), two weeks on a ventilator, six months in South Davis Care Dr. Tom Metcalf, Pediatrician Center, another month at Primary Children’s, and is now home with on-going rehab, physical and occupational therapy. All from hitting a manhole cover he didn’t see at about fifteen miles an hour, crashing his brain, without a helmet.


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I ask his mom, “How do you feel about that?” She replies, “I’d like him to wear one, but he won’t.” “How do you enforce it?” “Well, I try to talk to him, but he won’t listen.” “How ‘bout not letting him have his board unless he’s wearing his helmet?” They both say, “Wow.”

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Kitchen Safety for the Holidays. . . . . . Carbon Monoxide Poisoning . . . . . . . . Safety Gear Needed with Heelys . . . . . Cough and Cold Medicine Alert . . . . .

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Remember Kitchen Safety for the Holiday Season Safe Kids Utah offers kitchen safety reminders The holiday season will soon be here and Safe Kids Utah reminds parents and others to check the kitchen for hazards and to watch children at all times. Caregivers should keep cabinets closed and locked, and store harmful products out of reach. The most needed safety measure in the kitchen is constant, close, attentive supervision. Simply being in the same room as a child is not always enough. An actively supervised child is in sight and in reach at all times.

Never carry a child while cooking or holding hot items.

Cook on back burners and turn all handles toward the back of the stove.

Don’t allow loose-fitting clothing in the kitchen.

Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Be very careful around tablecloths — children can pull hot dishes down onto themselves.

Tie up electrical cords. A toddler playing with a dangling cord can pull a toaster or microwave down from a counter. Another major hazard in the kitchen is poison. Store hazardous goods, such as cleaning products and alcohol, in locked cabinets and out of reach. Install a carbon monoxide detector to signal when to get out of the house in the event of a buildup of the odorless toxic gas given off by fuel-burning appliances.

Burns — from spills, steam, a hot surface and a flame — can be serious injuries. Because young children have thinner skin than adults, they burn more severely and at lower temperatures. Scald burns from hot liquid or steam are the most common type of burns among children ages 4 and under. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of being exposed to 140-degree water, and will need surgery and skin grafts.

Children who can follow directions may be ready to help out in the kitchen with tasks that do not involve knives, appliances or heat. Don’t give children knives or let them handle any hot items until they have shown they are mature enough and can coordinate this safely. Some children will do this faster than others, so it’s up to parents to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities.

To prevent kitchen burns Safe Kids Utah advises: •

Never leave a hot stove unattended.


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base of the car seat and a second time using a LATCH device. Certified safety technicians also installed the car seats and evaluated how difficult it was to use the seat when installing in a car. Results indicate that all eleven car seats tested met government crash standards for both seat belt and LATCH restraints. Seven of the eleven car seats were rated as good or excellent because they were easy to use and install in the car. The report found that some car seats were easier to install depending on the car.

Your kid’s first skateboard, or bicycle, or snowboard, skis, ATV, dune buggy, snowmobile, scooter, dirt bike or motorcycle, simply must be paired up with a helmet - always one with the other. Knee-pads and elbow pads may be helpful, but not as critical. Doctors can fix fractured arms and legs; fractured brains can’t be fixed. It’s that simple. Show your kids pictures of the pros; the champions in all of these sports wear helmets. They’re required to even if they don’t have sense enough to do it themselves. So this mom flunked the parenting test. I just hope her kid is as good as he says he is, so I don’t have to meet him at Primary Children’s, or worse.

The updated report reveals that car seats help protect and save children’s lives. The first report also demonstrates the need to critically examine the source of data when interpreting safety results. This is crucial when results can change federal guidelines and affect infants’ lives.

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This Sentinel issue was made possible by a generous donation from Sate Farm Insurance. State Farm Insurance is a proud supporter of Utah Safe Kids and has been a contributor since 2002 with in-kind donations as well as $15,000 in philanthropic giving. This year, State Farm donated $5,000 to Utah Safe Kids to be used in conjunction with National Safe Kids Week. State Farm values the importance of keeping our neighbors safe and serves as an active leader in the community to help ensure that children are buckled safely. Through child passenger safety education and in partnering with organizations like Safe Kids, State Farm continues to focus on and support auto safety issues.   


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Carbon Monoxide: Invisible Winter Hazard Safe Kids Utah recommends home CO detectors

should be installed at least 15 feet from fuel-burning appliances. Check the batteries for detectors and smoke alarms monthly.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odor free, unseen gas that can build up near fuel-burning appliances such as ovens, generators and stand alone heaters.

Working smoke alarms should be installed in every sleep area, but what about CO detectors? Carbon monoxide can kill and it can make a child very ill in small doses that might not affect an adult.

If someone has been in a poorly vented room with a fuelburning appliance and begins to feel sick, drowsy or confused, or complains of a headache, move the victim to fresh air and call 911. If more than one person in the home feels ill for no clear reason, or if an alarm goes off, get everyone outside quickly and call the fire department from a planned meeting place.

Each year, in the United States, nearly 4,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for CO gas, and about 28 die — not counting fire caused CO deaths. Half of all these deaths could be prevented by CO detectors. Detectors are sold at hardware stores for about $20, a small price to pay to help detect gas in the home.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a danger when using a stand alone generator or pressure washer. To protect your family while using a generator or pressure washer, keep these safety tips in mind:

Safe Kids suggests these safety measures to prevent poisoning: •

Prevent gas buildup in the first place — make sure heaters are in good working order and used only in well-vented areas.

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

Install a CO detector outside every sleep area and on every floor of the home. Detectors


Smoking is also another source of CO.

o Never use the generator indoors or in a garage car port, or basement. o Put the generator or pressure washer motor outside and away from doors, windows, and vents. o Read product directions for other safety tips. o Install a battery-powered CO alarm near the bedrooms. o Chain the generator to a tree or other fixed object to prevent theft. * Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Safety Gear Needed with Heelys

eelys are those new trendy wheeled sneakers that let kids zip down sidewalks, across playgrounds and through mall crowds. They have been called the latest gear among kids worldwide and are sold in 70 countries. This fun and trendy shoe could also send users rolling into the emergency department.

As these shoes are sold in stores, parents buying them may assume a false sense of safety -- that they are like any other shoe. Heelys and their knockoffs look like gym shoes, but with wheel sockets in each heel. They can be used for walking, but the wheels pop out when users shift their weight to their heels.

Doctors report treating broken wrists, arms and ankles; dislocated elbows and even cracked skulls in children injured while wearing roller shoes. From September 2005 through December 2006, one death and at least 64 roller-shoe injuries were reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggest helmets, wrist protectors and knee and elbow pads for kids who wear wheeled shoes.

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Balancing on the wheels can be tricky, especially for beginners. Most injuries were in new users and occurred when kids fell backward while trying to transfer their body weight. Balancing on heels can also strain feet and tendons. The shoes are sold with safety information and a recommendation to wear protective gear.

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Cough and Cold Medicine Alert ‘Tis the cold and flu season and cough and cold medicines are common in many households. Adverse effects and overdoses with cough and cold products account for about 5% of calls to the Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) and are more common in the winter months.

Several cough and cold brand names are on the market and they are designed for different symptoms. Many of these products have the same or like drugs. If more than one product is given to a child or adult the chances of adverse effects greatly increase.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted about 1,519 children under age 2 were treated in the U.S. for undesirable effects, including overdoses, due to cough and cold drugs. This report also pointed out the deaths of three infants less than 6 months old in 2005, for which cough and cold drugs were proven to be the main cause of death.

The UPCC reminds caregivers that cough and cold medicines should not be given to any child less than 6 years of age unless advised by a doctor. There are no approved dosing guidelines for any cough and cold products for children under the age of 2 years. To prevent poisoning and decrease negative effects, the UPCC suggests:

In 2006, the UPCC answered 2,250 calls on exposures to cough and cold products, 68% involved children less than 6 years of age and 50 involved children less than six months. Cough and cold drug exposures are common in children for many reasons. A large number of the poison exposures occur when the product is in use. During the cold and flu season, parents often leave the product out so as not to forget to give it to sick household members. Many bottles or boxes are brightly colored and flavored which attracts small children.

Box 142106, SLC, UT 84114-2106 (801) 538-6852

Utah Department of Health Primary Children’s Medical Center State Farm Insurance Utah Student Nurses Association Utah State Office of Education Utah Safety Council Utah Department of Public Safety AAA Utah Utah Poison Control Center Utah PTA Utah Department of Transportation Zero Fatalities American Academy of Pediatrics, Utah Chapter Larry H. Miller Chevrolet KSTU Fox 13 Spokesperson: Derek Parra Olympic Gold Medal Skater Honorary Chair: Bob Evans KSTU Fox 13 Anchor

Safe Kids Utah thanks Intermountain Healthcare, the Utah Highway Safety Office, Utah Department of Health, State Farm Insurance Company and Primary Children’s Medical Center for their generous contributions which allowed us to produce this newsletter

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MMWR Vol 56, No. 1 UPCC 2007 Press Release

Safe Kids Utah

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Store cough and cold products out of reach of small children. • Do not refer to medications as candy. • Use cough and cold drugs only as advised. • Avoid use of more than one cough and cold product. Read all instructions before use. Many cough and cold products can interact with other non-prescription, prescription and dietary supplements. Consult with a doctor about use of any non-prescription medication in small children. •

COALITION CONTACTS Sharon Hines-Stringer Janet Brooks

(801) 538-6852 (801) 662-6585

Local Safe Kids Coalitions Safe Kids Bear River Safe Kids Davis County Safe Kids Salt Lake County

Farrin Wiese Teresa Smith May Romo

(435) 792-6522 (801) 451-3586 (801) 313-6607

Terry Smith Amber Peterson Jeramie Tubbs Andrea Miller Sharon Blad Colleen Cooper Georgina Nowak Geri Essen Dan Davies Penny Cluff Jann Fawcett

(435) 201-4312 (435) 657-3259 (435) 722-6306 (801) 851-7035 (435) 743-5591 (435) 868-5810 (435) 637-3671 (435) 615-3912 (435) 843-2317 (435) 986-2564 (801) 399-7186

Local Safe Kids Chapters Safe Kids Central Utah Safe Kids Wasatch County Safe Kids Tri-County Safe Kids Utah County Safe Kids Great Basin Safe Kids Iron County Safe Kids Southeast Utah Safe Kids Summit County Safe Kids Tooele County Safe Kids Washington County Safe Kids Weber-Morgan


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Fall 2007 Newsletter  

The Sentinel: Making Utah a Safer Place for Kids