MILESTONE CONSULTING, LLC
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Milestone Consulting, LLC is pleased to provide you with the latest issue of The Safety Report. This publication is produced in collaboration with a growing community of respected legal professionals, industry experts and consumer advocates called The Injury Board, all committed to improving everyoneâ€™s quality of life by promoting safety. Our firm is passionate about advocating for consumer rights in the context of financial security. We devote our energy to advising trial attorneys on the complexities of post-settlement issues and guiding plaintiffs through the complicated settlement process. The clients we represent handle cases for families who have experienced serious injury, death, and/or are claimants in consumer class actions. This issue of The Safety Report addresses safety on a number of levels, from an in-depth discussion on autism to tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft. We also explore common financial issues that arise during litigation and offer solutions for mitigating those problems. Our goal is to arm you with useful, practical information for protecting your clients and loved ones. If you know someone who would appreciate a copy of The Safety Report or who may benefit from our representation, please do not hesitate to refer them to us.
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inside this issue On the Cover
doctor phobia : ways to make a visit less scary for kids
get active with your family
choosing the best prepackaged foods
why the pret tiest cars may not be the safest
The ‘A’ Word - Autism: Beyond the Numbers
Perhaps you’ve read the latest stats: 1 in 50 school-age children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. While these numbers are scary, most doctors agree the number of autism cases hasn’t increased, just their ability to diagnose it. The problem is, this is where most people stop reading—afraid to know what happens beyond the numbers and behind closed doors. In this issue, we break down that barrier to learn more about what happens in the daily life of a child with autism.
trending topics how much caffeine is in your energy drink ?
aspartame : friend or foe ?
when the bullied becomes the bully
are video games hurting my child ?
news you can use 17
Health Tips for Today’s Man
Surviving Sepsis - Time is of the Essence
The Dos & Don’ts of...Traveling Alone
How Consumer Sharing is Changing Product Liabiliy Risk by Ellie Cachette
onsumerism is changing and for a positive way; currently unused items are being leveraged across other platforms and we see this trend continuing into other areas. First, we saw it with apartments and apartment spaces (AirBnB). Then we saw it with cars (ZipCar, CarShare, GetAround). We even saw it with the service of a ride like Uber and Lyft where you can get a ride from someone else, in someone else’s car. But what does this all mean for liability and where does it start? As the consumer economy evolves and finds ways to maximize existing
material items and any unused services, there are no lines of liability that one can argue are blurred. If you get a ride in someone else’s car by someone else, maybe in the case of an accident it’s quite simple. But do you acknowledge your release of liability or do you intend to be a plaintiff and not a customer? And what about services like TaskRabbit and Exec that have “prequalified” people take care of errands or certain things for you. If they mess up, miss their spot in line at Apple or lose your dog while walking them, who is liable? Those who are paying attention to liability are focusing on the old
ways and habits, not releasing the mountains of opportunity waiting in emerging consumer spaces, some of which are untouched or have little to no precedence set to date. It can be frustrating because many people don’t understand that the technology we have available today reduces risk. It’s important for manufacturers to have the right policies and practices in place. Protection is always key, but when consumers are changing the distribution method and use cases, there are bound to be more complicated issues that aren’t just about the products themselves anymore, but also their use.
The Ins & Outs of Recalls Who does what? Did you know the U.S. was second in 2012 in product recalls by country of origin with 685? China was first last year with 2,124. A number of different agencies serve as watchdog groups for recalls, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
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The CPSC has jurisdiction 15,000+ kinds of consumer products used in and around the home, in sports, recreation and schools including:
Among these categories, home/ household products had the highest number of recalls in 2012 with 1,541. Child products (not including toys) followed at 1,267 and toys were third at 889.
CPSC Report: 75% of Pool Deaths Occur with Children Under 5 Be proactive; teach kids how to swim by Stephanie Andre
new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reveals that children younger than age 5 represent more than 75% of all pool and spa submersion deaths and 78% of pool and spa submersion injuries in the United States involving children younger than 15 years of age. Government data also show that African-American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 are at a higher risk of drowning. “Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 and minority children drown in pools at an alarming rate,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “The lives of countless children can be saved this summer. Take simple safety steps today—teach all children to swim, put a fence around all pools, and always watch children in and around the water.”
Food recalls occur when there is reason to believe that a food may cause consumers to become ill. Some reasons for recalling food include:
The CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign is focusing its attention on populations most at risk of drowning: »» Children between the ages of 1 and 3 represented 67% of reported fatalities and 64% of injuries. »» African-American children between the ages of 5 and 19 are six times more likely to drown in pools than white and Hispanic children that age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data from USA Swimming indicate that 70% of African-American children and 62% of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them more likely to drown. “As we head into summer and families across the country are getting ready to take their kids to the pool, we must remind everyone how important it is
Discovery of a potential allergen in a product
x Discovery of an organism in a product that may make a consumer sick
Mislabeling or misbranding of food. For example, a food may contain an allergen, such as nuts or eggs, but those ingredients do not appear on the label
to keep a careful watch on our children as they swim and ensure that their pools and spas have proper safety equipment,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “Working together, we can improve the safety of all pools and spas by increasing the use of layers of protection and promoting uninterrupted supervision to prevent child drowning and entrapment. With government programs like the CPSC’s Pool Safely, people can learn simple steps to take to save lives.” “Learning how to swim saves lives,” said Suzy DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer for the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross encourages all families to enroll in Learn-to-Swim programs by contacting your local pool.” Families can learn about Red Cross programs and find water safety tips by going to redcross.org.
For vehicle recalls, it’s best to check with the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA’s databases provide an in-depth record of safety issues for the following:
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Bullying STOPs HERE
NO MATTER™ who you are, what you look like, your sexual preferences, your beliefs, we are ALL the same, we are ALL people, NO MATTER! That means no one should ever be bullied in any way -- NO MATTER! Everyone should be treated with kindness and respect … NO MATTER! Every kid and teen has a choice in how they treat others… NO MATTER!
A national anti-bullying and cyberbullying program for kids and teens
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health & wellness
Caffeine is in your
energy drink? Warning labels may be the answer to preventing potential health problems by Brett Emison and Joseph Hoflander
Do you know how caffeine affects the body? Energy drinks regularly include nutritional supplements such as caffeine, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo, etc. that are marketed as improving cognitive abilities, mental focus and endurance. Popular energy drink Red Bull was introduced to the U.S. market in 1997. From 2002-2007, the energy drink market more than quadrupled and included more than 500 energy drink companies worldwide. Sales topped $9 billion in 2011. Because these drinks are marketed as dietary supplements rather than soft drinks, energy drinks are not required to include warning labels that indicate the amount of caffeine content. For this reason, the average consumer of these beverages may never know the amount of caffeine intake simply because the drink makers never tell them. While some studies suggest a small or moderate amount of caffeine may provide benefits, including those that improve temperament, reduce pain, suppress appetite and even protect brain cells from disease, there is a consensus among researchers that caffeine consumption in high doses can result in adverse health consequences. For example, adverse effects of over-consumption may include
nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), decreased bone density and upset stomach. Another harmful consequence of overconsumption is caffeine intoxication—a syndrome recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases. Due, in large part, to the soaring popularity of energy drinks and a steadily increasing amount of consumption by young people, more serious cases of caffeine intoxication are being reported in poison centers. The media has reported multiple cases of caffeine toxicity resulting from consumption of energy drinks affecting a wide range of consumers from middle school-aged children to professional athletes. One serious case occurred in Australia where a 28-year-old motocross athlete’s heart stopped during a competition because he had consumed eight cans of Red Bull in only a five-hour time frame. As evidenced by such tragic anecdotes, different individuals respond differently to caffeine—nonhabitual users may experience dramatic boosts in athletic and cognitive performance because they are not tolerant to caffeine’s stimulant effect.
a p ot e n t i a l r e m e dy ?
A simple solution is for drink manufacturers to simply identify the amount of caffeine in their drinks, as required by soft drink makers. To be effective, the information should include a warning about the dangers of overingesting caffeine. Going even further, drink makers could employ warning labels similar to those provided on tobacco products. Tobacco makers are required to display, in a contrasting color, various bold-font warnings approved by the FDA. In addition, such warnings are displayed above the brand label and rotate the warning statements on a quarterly basis. A more proactive solution would include restricting the sale of such beverages to minors. For instance, the FDA could restrict the sale and supply of energy drinks in public elementary and middle schools. Several schools nationwide already ban the sale and supply of energy drinks; thus, this restriction is merely an extension of locally enforced policy. Young people, in particular, feel they need to cram for a test or they want to stay up past when they should be up with friends, and caffeine is a readily available tool. But as seen in the cases seen above, caffeine can be a drug that has consequences we’re only now learning about. h a r m f u l e f f e c ts
tremors, nervousness & anxiety
disturbed sleep & insomnia
upper stomach problems high blood pressure & changes in blood flow worsened heart conditions
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Aspartame: Friend or Foe? by Mike Ferrara
Did you know that more than 200 million people use 6,000+ products that contain aspartame, a sugar substitute with few calories?
has been more than 45 years since a scientist licked his hand and was surprised to find the high level of sweetness in the product. Recognizing its potential for use as a food additive, application was made and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) without ever having been tested on humans. The American Journal of Clinical
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Nutrition sounded a new alarm in its Oct. 24, 2012 issue in which it reported a potential link to non-Hodgkinâ€™s leukemia and multiple myelomas from drinking as few as one diet soda per day. Needless to say, the food industry vigorously debates these studies and contends that the product is safe. Whether you believe these new warnings or not, why take a risk until the full extent of the potential harm is
known? Recall how many scientists and doctors were convinced that smoking was not hazardous to your health? This new study follows a 2006 study done by cancer doctors in Bologna, Italy, that found a link between aspartame use and cancer and a 1998 study published in the American Journal of Nutrition in which researchers reported a link between aspartame and neurobehavioral symptoms.
a s pa r ta m e 101
So what is aspartame? Simply put, it’s the excrement of genetically modified E. coli bacteria. It is comprised of 40% aspartic acid, 50% phenylalanine, and 10% methanol. Aspartic acid acts as a neurotransmitter, and too much can actually over-excite the cells, thus stimulating them to death. Keep in mind the blood brain barrier cannot prevent this in many, as it does not fully protect all areas of the brain, especially in people already suffering from other chronic diseases and disorders, and is not fully developed in children. While phenylalanine is an amino acid already present in the brain, excess levels can cause serotonin to decrease over time, which can lead to chemical imbalances that cause depression and other mood and emotional disorders. Methanol, an industrial solvent, is used as fuel and antifreeze, and is a main ingredient in many paints and varnish removers. The EPA warns that methanol ingestion may result in neurological damage (specifically permanent motor dysfunction) and visual disturbances that may lead to blurred or dimmed vision and eventually blindness. In addition, the methanol in diet soda manifests into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. t h e co n t r ov e r s i a l h i sto ry o f a s pa r ta m e
The fascinating background to the aspartame story began in 1965 when a chemist unintentionally discovered it while he was working on an anti-ulcer drug. “I licked my finger and it tasted good,” he later recalled, according to a Harvard report. And with that, a new, low-calorie sweetener was born. Once aspartame had been more thoroughly tested and successfully repro-
duced, a Skokie, Ill.-based pharmaceutical company by the name of G.D. Searle & Co. resolved to manufacture it. In 1973, Searle filed a food additive petition for aspartame; entering aspartame into the vigorous sugar-substitute competition and beginning a battle that would last for more than 25 years.
rubber stamp approval as a favor to Donald Rumsfeld, a friend and then-CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. Of course, Rumsfeld later became the Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration. But for every conspiracy theory and negative story, you’ll also hear just as
Ultimately, if you want to be safe, wait 10 years or so for the final evidence to come out before using aspartame. According to the Harvard report, included in Searle’s petition was extensive data from the research that had been performed on aspartame, all of which purported the safety of the additive. While initial FDA approval came in 1974, the company’s troubles began soon after when the FDA commissioner publicly concluded that the evaluation of the data in the food additive petition for aspartame justified amending the food additive regulations to provide for the same use of aspartame under specified conditions. Many years, task forces, inquiries and studies later, the FDA actually found that aspartame should not be approved for use without additional testing. However, after appeals were filed, the commissioner was charged with reviewing each one. Upon finishing his appeals review, in 1981, he sided with the sweetener manufacturer, citing errors he believed the board made when reviewing the request for approval. This jaw-dropping decision prompted numerous conspiracy theories, including one that President Reagan asked the FDA commissioner to give the sweetener
many that support use of the product. According to the Calorie Control Council, aspartame is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients ever, with more than 200 scientific studies supporting its safety. In addition to the FDA, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Union (SCF) and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for use, according to the nonprofit, which provides an objective channel of scientific-based communications about low-calorie foods and beverages, to assure that scientific and consumer research and information is made available to all interested parties. making the choice f o r yo u r s e l f
Whether or not you believe aspartame is harmful, the choice is yours. Ultimately, if you want to be safe, wait 10 years or so for the final evidence to come out. Why take unnecessary risks?
The top 6 worst sources of aspartame SUG
d i e t s o da s
yo g u r ts
co o k i n g sau c e s
sw e e t e n e r s
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on Antioxidants The real reasons they’re important to your health
foods high in antioxidants The following is a sampling of antioxidant-rich foods Corn Lime Kale Lemon
by Stephanie Andre
Dates Chiles Cloves
top me if you’ve heard this one: you should eat foods that are high in antioxidants, such as blueberries or pomegranates; they’re “good for you.” What does that even mean? Why are they so “good for you?” Well, it starts with basic nutrition. Nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, along with other substances in plant foods, are antioxidants that can help slow down or prevent damage to body cells that can lead to chronic and deadly health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, according to livestrong.com. Here are some reasons why antioxidants are so important to your health, courtesy of livestrong.com.
p r o t e c t i o n ag a i n s t h e a r t d i s e a s e
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a diet high in fruits, vegetables and other foods that contain antioxidants to help fight cardiovascular disease. They do not recommend antioxidant supplements, however, because there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that they have any beneficial effect on heart disease. Several studies have indicated that antioxidants in red wine and grapes may help reduce the risk of death from heart disease, and the AHA acknowledges that further study in this area is merited. These studies also say that drinking wine should not replace exercise and a diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables to increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure is a means to fighting heart disease. p r o t e c t i o n ag a i n s t c a n c e r
Similarly, studies that began in the 1970s showed that the antioxidant vitamin betacarotene (the form of vitamin A found in 10 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
plant foods) have shown that eating orange and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits that contain this nutrient have a protective effect against lung cancer. Subsequent studies have shown, however, that taking beta carotene supplements can increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. One of the first studies to show that a specific antioxidant in a specific food could help fight cancer was at Harvard University in 1995, where researchers discovered that tomato products in the diet reduced the risk of prostate cancer. Further research narrowed the benefit down to an antioxidant in tomatoes known as lycopene. Lycopene is concentrated in tomato soups, sauces, tomato paste and other tomato products, and is also available in smaller amounts in fresh tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit.
boost in immunit y
Vitamin C’s ability to reduce the severity of the common cold is indicative of its effect on the immune system, according to experts at the Cleveland Clinic. Most fruits and vegetables provide some Vitamin C. Citrus fruits, kiwi, tomatoes and sweet peppers are particularly good sources.
f i g h t ag a i n s t ag i n g
While it has not been shown that antioxidants actually increase anyone’s lifespan, they do protect against some of the degenerative effects on the body of age-related diseases that can lead to early death. Studies on laboratory animals at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service suggest that a diet high in antioxidants, especially those found in blueberries, strawberries and spinach may also help fight the loss of brain function associated with aging.
Grapes Black currant Pomegranates Squash Millet Peppers Berries Carrots Almonds Oregano Spinach Broccoli Apricots Cinnamon Tomatoes Blood oranges
Pineapple Red beets Goji berries Acai berry Coconut oil Mangos Broad beans Wheat germ Pinto beans Hempseed oil Barley & rye Prunes Olive oil Sweet potatoes Raw nuts & seeds Whole grain brown rice
What’s in Your Makeup Bag? How to protect yourself from harmful products by Brittany Monbarren
any people believe that if a product is being sold at a supermarket, drugstore or department store cosmetic counter, it must be safe. This is not true. In fact, most of the cosmetic products on the shelves today contain active ingredients that can harm your well-being and overall health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to require companies to test products for safety. Translation: the FDA doesn’t always review or approve the vast majority of these products or their ingredients before they go on the market. Many of the popular
cosmetic products that women use on a daily basis contain more chemicals than we think and many can be linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities skin problems and other harmful health effects. In fact, according to research provided by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, more than 1 in 5 personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer, 80% contain ingredients that have hazardous impurities and 56% of personal care products contain penetration enhancers, which means that it has the ability to deliver harmful ingredients deeper into the skin. Another popular belief? That products labeled as “organic” or “natural” are always safer for your health. This is not true. Products labeled in this manner can often contain
synthetic chemicals and are not necessarily risk-free. Fortunately, there are ways we can protect ourselves from these harmful products. With organizations such as EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, we are able to find cosmetic products that are less harmful to our health and learn more about the products to avoid. EWG is one of the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organizations. To enhance the quality of information provided to consumers, it created the Skin Deep database (ewg.org/skindeep), an online resource center that provides detailed information on cosmetic products and personal care products. With more than 60,000 products and 2,000 brands in the Skin Deep database, consumers are able to see the safety rating for a wide range of products and ingredients that are on the markets. The database also provides product details, such as what
chemicals are used and what side effects each ingredient can cause. Plus, it rates the products on a 0-10 hazard level scale. Another helpful group is the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Its website (safecosmetics.org) allows you to read recent reports on cosmetics hazards and safety, provides tips for keeping yourself safe when using cosmetic products and also supplies detailed information on ingredients and contaminants to avoid, based on the science linking them to health problems. Take a moment to do your research before purchasing your next cosmetic or personal care product. This information isn’t just suggested for women either. Men and children are also exposed to a number of harmful ingredients on a daily basis. Do yourself and your family a favor and keep upto-date on the latest cosmetic and personal care safety information.
More than 1 in 5 personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer, 80% contain ingredients that have hazardous impurities and 56% of personal care products contain penetration enhancers. Source: the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
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Why Are You Really Tired? steps for ensuring a better nightâ€™s sleep by Craig Kelley and Christina L. Koch
Sleep is a necessity for good health, top cognitive functioning, mood and wellbeing. According to a survey completed by the National Sleep Foundation, at least 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders and 60% of adults have problems sleeping at least a few nights per week. Many who suffer from sleep disorders go undiagnosed or do not seek treatment if they have been diagnosed. This can interfere with activities, such as work, school or driving, causing safety concerns. The Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit published a study in 2004 that demonstrated that sleepiness takes a toll on effective decision making. The effects of sleep deprivation can cause injuries at work or behind the wheel of a car or tractor-trailer by slowing the reaction time or causing deficits in decision making ability. According to the Department of Transportation, 1-4% of all highway crashes are due to sleepiness, and in rural areas, 4% of these crashes are fatal. There are a number of factors that increase the risk of driving drowsy, including late night or early morning driving, patients with untreated sleep disorders and people who obtain six or fewer hours of sleep a day. Certain occupations hold a higher risk as well, such as medical residents, who tend to work very long shifts or night shift
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workers and commercial truck drivers. It is a common misconception that you actually need less sleep as you grow older. As you get older, you may find it is more difficult to stay asleep eight hours, however, the average person requires eight hours of sleep for health and wellness. Some people actually may need a minimum of 10 hours of sleep each night in order to perform well. The length of time slept is important; however, it is equally important that the sleep is restful. Restorative rest value is diminished when a person sets their alarm for a shorter period and hits the snooze alarm over and over as it reduces the restorative value of the rest a person gets throughout the night, according to Rush University Medical Center psychologist Edwards Stephanski, Ph.D. This is known as sleep fragmentation
and refers to the shortening of REM sleep cycles (rapid eye movement), which is when deep sleep and dreaming occurs. There are steps that can be taken to ensure you get enough sleep. First and foremost, have a regular routine for your wakeful hours and your sleep hours. It is important to develop a regular bedtime and go to bed the same time each night, even as an adult. Plan out your schedule to get eight hours of sleep per night. If you or a loved one believes you have a sleeping problem, you should keep a sleep diary and see your doctor. Some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can be dangerous if not treated. Remember not to drive or operate machinery if you are drowsy and make getting enough sleep a priority in your daily life.
Top 5 tips for getting better rest 1
Avoid caffeine for four to six hours before bedtime and minimize the amount of caffeine you have during the day.
Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before you sleep and don’t smoke.
Get regular exercise.
Minimize noise, light and excessive temperatures during your sleep.
Incorporate relaxation techniques into your evening routine and avoid daytime naps.
poll : exercise key to good sleep
Exercise can affect your sleep. The results of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America poll show a compelling association between exercise and better sleep. “Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. exercisers say they sleep better
Self-described exercisers report better sleep than self-described nonexercisers even though they say they sleep the same amount each night (6 hours and 51 minutes, average on weeknights). Vigorous, moderate and light exercisers are significantly more likely to say “I
had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers (67%-56% vs. 39%). vigorous exercisers report the best sleep
Vigorous exercisers are almost twice as likely as non-exercisers to report “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night during the week. They also are the least likely to report sleep problems. More than two-thirds of vigorous exercisers say they rarely or never (in the past 2 weeks) had symptoms commonly associated with insomnia, including waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep (72%) and difficulty falling asleep (69%). non - exercisers are sleepiest, have highest risk for sleep apnea
Non-exercisers tend toward being more excessively sleepy than exercisers. Nearly one-fourth of non-
exercisers (24%) qualify as “sleepy” using a standard excessive sleepiness clinical screening measure. This sleepiness level occurs about twice as often than for exercisers (12-15%). Also, about six in 10 of non-exercisers (61%) say they rarely or never have a good night’s sleep on work nights. less time sitting is associated with better sleep and health
Separate from exercise, spending less time sitting may improve sleep quality and health. Those who sit for less than eight hours per day are significantly more likely to say they have “very good” sleep quality than those who sit for eight hours or more (22%-25% compared to 12%-15%). Furthermore, significantly more of those who spend less than 10 hours per day sitting mention excellent health, compared to those who spend 10 hours or more sitting (25-30% compared to 16%).
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Is the Mirena IUD a Safe Choice for Women? Like with any drug and/or device, make sure you know the risks by Gregory Spizer
Mirena is one of only three intrauterine device (IUD) contraceptives available for use in the United States. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s New Drug Application for Mirena in December 2000. Over the past decade, it is estimated that Mirena has been used by millions of women in the United States and more than 15 million women worldwide. The Mirena IUD is a small T-shaped device, measuring 32 mm in both the horizontal and vertical direction, made up of flexible plastic that is inserted into the uterine cavity by a trained health care provider during a regular office visit. A thin tail-string hangs from the bottom of the IUD into the upper vagina, so the device can be removed by a clinician and checked periodically by the user. Mirena works by releasing a hormone called levonorgestrel into the uterus in order to provide birth control, for up to a period of five years. In 2009, Mirena was also approved for and has been prescribed to help treat women who experience heavy menstruation cycles. Although the exact science behind what levonorgestrel does once released into the uterus is still unknown, it is believed that Mirena prevents pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, inhibiting sperm movement, and/or thinning the lining of the uterus.
However, despite these FDA warnings and the vast MedWatch Adverse Event reports concerning the Mirena becoming embedded, migrating, and/or perforating the uterine wall, the IUD’s label continues to be void of any warnings related to these very serious medical events. Once the Mirena IUD has migrated or perforated the uterine wall, it can travel throughout the abdominal cavity or other bodily areas. Women have discovered the Mirena IUD in a number of areas such as the bowels, intestines, spine, hip and pelvic area. Unfortunately surgery, sometimes in the form of a hysterectomy, is often needed in order to properly remove the IUD once it has migrated. If a Mirena user experiences pain related to the device, it is recommended they seek immediate medical attention and undergo a physical examination, and, if necessary, a diagnostic test, to confirm that it remains in the proper location. Women who are using the Mirena IUD should be mindful of the risk of spontaneous migration after it is initially inserted. As a result, women should follow up with their health care providers regularly to ensure that the IUD remains in the proper location.
Recently, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Bayer alleging that the Mirena IUD has spontaneously migrated and/ or perforated the uterine wall. While Mirena’s label indicates that it can perforate the uterus during the initial insertion period (four to six weeks), Mirena’s label fails to warn about the serious risk of spontaneous migration of the IUD after the initial time frame. In the past few years, the FDA has issued Bayer two warnings for overstating the efficacy of Mirena while failing to adequately convey information related to its risks. 14 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
Photo courtesy of Bayer HealthCare AG
Doctor Phobia Is a trip to the doctor a traumatic event for your child? Do you have to drag him/her, kicking, screaming and crying? Do you spend the entire visit wrestling for control, embarrassed by an emotional tirade? As parents, it’s easy to become so overwhelmed by our child’s emotional outburst that we forget that there is most likely a rational basis for this seemingly irrational fear. As with nearly every phobia, the fear is generated though negative experiences. Think about it: most of your child’s doctor visits for the first four years are associated with the pain of vaccinations, a clearly adverse event for the child. For your child, the doctor’s office has become “that place we go where someone pokes and prods me, and sticks me with a needle and makes me cry.” Children also often reflect a parent’s anxiety. Perhaps you too dread doctor visits, and your child mirrors your own emotions. Don’t be discouraged. There are things you can do to help alleviate your child’s fear of medical visits. Compassion and advance planning can make going to the doctor a stress-free and even entertaining event.
10 Ways To Make Doctor Visits Less Scary For Kids by Mary Watters
PREPARE IN ADVANCE. For young children, there are numerous books and videos that talk about “going to the doctor.” Find a book or video that stars one of your child’s favorite characters attending a doctor visit, and read or watch it often. This practice may help desensitize your child as the event becomes routine, not a major ordeal. Read and watch with your child so that you have an opportunity to discuss the details of the doctor visit, noting that “Look, Elmo/Blue/Mickey goes to the doctor too. The doctor listens to his heart, looks in his ears, etc. Oh look, Mickey got a shot—whew, he’s OK!”
BUY A TOY DOCTOR SET. Play doctor with your child. Let your child examine you, the family and the pet. Take the time to examine your child, going through each step of the process. Talk about what you are doing and make it a fun experience. “Can you listen to my heartbeat with your stethoscope? Now listen to me breathe (dramatic inhale and exhale). Now my turn: I can hear your heartbeat; now take a deep breath. Everything sounds good!” The more you can play doctor, making it a fun activity, the less frightening the actual doctor’s examination will be.
CALL THE DOCTOR BY NAME. If you know your child’s doctor outside the confines of the doctor office, be sure to have friendly encounters and refer to him or her as “Dr. SoandSo.” If you do not have an outside relationship with the doctor, when you talk about going to the doctor’s office, talk about “going to see Dr. SoandSo” giving the doctor a personal identity, not just “the doctor.” Talk about how Dr. SoandSo is going to check to see how much you are @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 15
growing, or if your child is sick, remind him or her: “Dr. SoandSo is going to help you feel better.”
DON’T MAKE A BIG DEAL OF THE DOCTOR VISIT. Make the
doctor visit a minor activity in an otherwise busy day, and talk with your child about the day’s activities. “First we are going to have breakfast, then we will get dressed and go see Dr. SoandSo. Then we are going to the grocery store/lunch/home.” BRIBERY CAN BE A GOOD THING. Offer your child an incentive for good behavior. “If you behave when we see Dr. SoandSo, we’ll do a special activity.” Be sure to identify the activity specifically and make sure it is something that will motivate your child. PAIR THE DOCTOR VISIT WITH A SPECIAL ACTIVITY. Routinely associate a fun, special activity with doctor visits. For example, every time we go to the doctor, we get to have lunch at a favorite place or go get ice cream. Choose places that you do not frequent too often so that it becomes a fun part of seeing Dr. SoandSo. TAKE A DISTRACTION WITH YOU. This is a great time for fish crackers or video games. Allow your child to bring a special toy or a snack to keep him or her occupied during wait times.
YOU GO FIRST. If your child panics when the exam begins, you go first. This will, of course, require cooperation from the medical care providers, but being able to demonstrate for your child may ease his or her mind through the process. Be sure that you continue to talk with your child about the exam. “First, Dr. SoandSo will look at Mommy’s ears—everything looks good—now it’s your turn!” HOLD THE CHILD DURING THE EXAM. A parent’s touch and even gentle embrace during the examination will help the child remain more calm and be more easily consoled when parts of an exam are uncomfortable. Holding your child gives the added benefit of allowing you to help gently steady the child so that the examination can be performed safely and with less trauma. KEEP YOURSELF CALM. Don’t be frustrated by your child’s anxiety. Remain calm and interact with your child in a soothing way. If he or she associates doctor visits with happy one-on-one time with a parent, this can turn out to be an opportunity for quality time. Read a book, hug your child, let him or her know you understand and love them. The child will then look forward to special time with the parent when it’s time to see the doctor. With advance planning, plus a healthy dose of parental love, you can prepare your child in a way that will make the doctor visit at least tolerable and possibly even enjoyable for your child.
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useful resources Handling your child’s doctor phobia doesn’t have to take over your life or theirs. Visit these websites to help you better understand and handle your child’s phobia.
Kids Health provides tips and educational information for parents on how to prepare and handle a child’s unsettling and challenging experience before, during and after a doctor’s visit. v i s i t : k i d s h e a lt h . o r g
Iatrophobia Iatrophobia a site strictly dedicated to educating society about Iatrophobia, a disease also known as the fear of going to the doctor. v i s i t : i at r o p h o b i a . co m
BlueSuitMom.Com offers useful tips on how to ease the butterflies for both you and your child during a doctor’s visit. v i s i t : b lu e s u i t m o m . co m / h e a lt h
Boston Children’s Hospital provides helpful information for parents on how to deal with your child’s phobia. v i s i t : c h i l d r e n s h o s p i ta l . o r g
Tips for Today’s Man by Greg Webb
If a man asks 10 different physicians for their advice on maintaining health, he’ll probably get 10 different opinions. Following is a list of ways to stay healthy by talking to physicians and by using the ultimate source: Google. Some of these tips may not seem very medical, but are more in the category of good common sense.
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Wear a seat belt. This should become a habit, like brushing your teeth or wearing shoes when you leave the house. The statistics bear out the fact that seat belts save lives. You may have heard someone say, “If so-and-so had his seat belt on, he would have died.” That may be true, but old so-and-so was likely 1 out of a 1,000 who survived because he was not belted, according to NHTSA stats. Quit smoking. This one is obvious, and the overwhelming statistical evidence supports it. There may be a few folks who live to 90 years old and smoke, but that’s certainly not the norm. As a former chief of research and development for a major tobacco company once told me, smoking “puts the pedal to the metal.” We all are going to die of something, but if your DNA map showed you dying at age 80 of some type of cancer, smoking was likely going to significantly speed up your termination date—perhaps by decades. Drink alcohol in moderation. Another obvious one that should require little explanation or convincing. The damage to your body from abusing alcohol on a consistent basis is substantial, not to mention increases the risks of accidents. Exercise and keep your weight under control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting several hours or more of exercise every week has substantial health benefits to everyone.
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Sleep—get enough of it. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that adults get eight to eight-and-a-half hours of sleep each night for optimum health.
Spend time with your friends and loved ones. This ties in with “stress management” somewhat, but statistics again show that folks with strong social and family ties live longer.
Use sunscreen and use it often. According to the experts, at the very least, you need to use SPF 15, but preferably higher protection. Skin cancer risks are real. Plus, it prematurely ages your skin.
Brush and floss. In 2000, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office issued a report linking poor oral health to problems such as diabetes, stroke, premature births and heart disease. Research it if you do not believe it.
Stress management. This is easier said than done. Everybody has stress, but some people, and their chosen jobs or professions, may create more, especially when combined with a “type A” personality. Stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and a host of other health problems. Relaxation is imperative; find something relaxing that you enjoy and do it (besides work). Exercise and meditation are also good stress reducers. Take vacations; enjoy your family and friends. On your death bed, you will likely not say: “I wish I had worked more.”
Get regular health check-ups. Men have a tendency to completely ignore this one because they are too busy, too tough or too hard-headed (or all of the above). This boils down to general preventative maintenance. You wouldn’t ignore your car by not having it serviced. Why ignore the most important “machine” one owns by not getting regular check-ups or physicals? Routine screens, blood tests, prostate exams, colonoscopies and the like are very important, especially as a man enters his 40s and 50s. Your family history is very important in determining what exams or screenings may be necessary. A history of a parent dying in his/her 40s of colon cancer, for example, is a red flag for your physician to have you tested at an earlier age than otherwise. These are great health tips for an onthe-go, busy, distracted and over-stressed man. Try to incorporate these into your life over the coming weeks, months and years. And remember to go easy on yourself…it will not happen overnight.
A Silent Killer? by Jon Lewis
ver the last several years, there have been numerous studies about how harmful monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is to the human body. Recent news has only gotten worse. It is now thought that MSG could be worse than alcohol, nicotine and drugs. MSG is found in countless foods in your pantry, grocery store, restaurants, school cafeterias and more. You can even find this “poison” in baby formulas and baby food. Recent studies have also found that MSG is one of the leading causes of obesity in the United States. MSG sets off certain systems inside your body to produce visceral fat, the most dangerous kind, which surrounds your organs and increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, insomnia, type 2 diabetes and more.
so, what exactly is msg?
It was first identified as a flavor enhancer in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of Japan, who found that soup stocks made from seaweed contained high levels of the substance. His discovery led to the commercial production of MSG from seaweed. It is now produced using a bacterial fermentation process with starch or molasses as carbon sources and ammonium salts as nitrogen sources. Chemically speaking, MSG is approximately 78% free glutamic acid, 21% sodium and up to 1% contaminants. Although many people use MSG in order to enhance the flavor of their food, this is a misconception. MSG has very little taste at all. When you use MSG, you think the food you’re eating has more protein and tastes better. It does this by tricking your tongue, using a little-known fifth basic taste: umami. The ingredient didn’t become widespread in the United States until after World War Il, when the U.S. military realized Japanese rations were much tastier than the U.S. versions because of MSG. In 1959, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled MSG as “Generally Recognized as Safe,” and it has been that way ever since. But, it said a lot when just 10 years later a condition known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was created, describing the many side effects from numbness and heart palpitations people experienced after consuming MSG. why is msg so dangerous?
There are a couple of reasons why MSG is one of the worst food additives on the market. According to Russell Blaylock, M.D., author of the highly recommended Excitotoxins, The Taste That Kills, MSG is an excitotoxin, which means that it overexcites
your cells to the point of damage, acting as a poison. This can cause brain damage to varying degrees, trigger or worsen learning disabilities, lead to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more, and even result in death. Part of the problem also is that free glutamic acid is the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body. Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such Huntington’s chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to the nerve cells of the brain. Adverse reactions to MSG include: numbness, burning sensation, tingling, facial pressure or tightness, chest pain or difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness and weakness. how do you avoid msg?
It’s very difficult to avoid this toxic ingredient. Food manufacturers try their best to hide the fact that they use MSG in their processed foods. They hide it by using other names. The best way to avoid using MSG is not eating processed foods. If foods are processed, chances are it contains MSG (or one of its ingredients). So, if you stick to whole, fresh foods, you’ll avoid this toxin. The other place where you can watch out for MSG is restaurants. You can ask your server which menu items are MSGfree and request that no MSG be added to your meal. But, of course the only way you can guarantee you’re not consuming this poison is by preparing food in your own kitchen. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 19
Surviving Sepsis t i m e
t h e
e s s e n c e
by Scott Marshall
epsis is a stealthy killer. It is vicious. It is fast. It is indiscriminate. It doesn’t care how healthy or young or fit you think you are. It can strike an infant, a grandfather or a professional athlete. It will descend upon you with a vengeance. It sneaks up on you when you least expect it, thinking that you have only a minor infection, and then it balloons into a fight for life and limb. Compounding this devastation, it is widespread. According to WebMD, sepsis occurs in 1-2% of all hospitalizations in the U.S. It affects more than 1.6 million Americans every year, over 258,000 of whom die. We know how to treat sepsis, the problem is that many times it is simply overlooked until it is too late. The best defense against sepsis is awareness. Early detection is the only way to prevent tragedy. s o , w h at i s s e p s i s ?
Sepsis is a form of blood poisoning. It is the body’s overwhelming and often toxic response to an infection or injury. It can cause systemic blood clotting, which reduces blood flow to the vital organs and limbs. It causes widespread inflammation. Both of these conditions can lead to the failure of vital organs, such as your lungs, kidneys, and/or liver—which, in turn, can lead to death. It can come from an 20 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
elective surgery. It can develop from a bacterial infection (most common), viruses, parasites and fungal infection. It can start anywhere in the body: secondarily to a urinary tract infection, a cut on the skin or an ingrown nail, just to name a few. h ow d o yo u r e co g n i z e s e p s i s ?
Symptoms can vary, but often include one or more of the following: »» Fever »» Hypothermia (low body temperature) »» Elevated heart rate »» Rapid breathing »» Altered mental status (decreased alertness, confusion or coma) »» Swelling »» Decreased urination »» Elevated blood glucose »» Diarrhea »» Nausea and vomiting
// sepsis occurs in 1-2% of all hospitalizations in the
u.s. it affects more than 1.6 million americans every year, over 258,000 of whom die.
Awareness of these signs could save your life. If you or a loved one develop any series of these symptoms and something seems amiss, don’t be the tough guy. Get to the nearest emergency room immediately. Minutes count. According to a study quoted by the Sepsis Alliance, the risk of death increases 7.6% with every hour that passes before treatment is initiated. Once it progresses, you can develop a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock. Death rates in the United States are 20% for sepsis and 60% for septic shock. Even if you survive, it is likely that you may have some permanent organ damage or even loss of limb(s). There are many other signs or symptoms of sepsis that may be determined by your physician with a variety of tests, but the key is to make sure your doctor orders those tests and rules out sepsis. If your physician, or the triage nurse at the emergency room, or any other medical provider for that matter, seems to think your condition is no big deal or tells you to take some Tylenol and go home, do not be afraid to ask them if they have ruled out sepsis.
BY THE NUMBERS
of Sepsis occurs in all hospitalizations in the United States.
Unfortunately, in our healthcare system, many emergency room physicians and staff work long hours and can become numb to the daily grind, thus overlooking this devastating diagnosis. Healthcare providers have a duty to rule out the worst possible cause of your problems before they do anything else. If they tell you that you do not have sepsis, then ask them why they think that. Do not give in and accept a “you’ll be fine” without a detailed explanation from your physician or triage nurse or whomever. If you are still not satisfied with the answer, demand a second opinion. Chances are that if you develop sepsis, you will be relying on someone close to you to communicate for you. If you are that communicator, remember, never leave the affected person alone. Emergency rooms are busy, often chaotic places. Immediate treatment of the disease is essential. Do not be afraid to speak up and demand attention. It is much better for you to apologize later for being demanding than to have to accept the condolences of ER staff when your loved one dies.
It affects more than 1.6 million Americans every year; 258,000 of whom die.
Those hospitalized for sepsis had an average length of stay that was 75% longer than those hospitalized for other conditions.
In-hospital deaths were more than as likely among patients hospitalized for sepsis (17%) compared with other diagnoses (2%).
At a minimum, treatment should include IV fluids and IV antibiotics. Blood tests must be ordered immediately to identify the bacteria that is/are present. This will help the medical provider determine which drugs may be most effective to combat the infection. Ron Daniels, M.D., a physician in the United Kingdom, and executive director of the Global Sepsis Alliance, helped develop a treatment plan called Sepsis Six: six tasks to perform to treat and monitor sepsis. If these steps are administered within one hour of the initial diagnosis, mortality can be reduced by half. More information about Sepsis Six can be found at www.survivesepsis.org. The Sepsis Six are: »» »» »» »» »» »»
Give high flow oxygen Take blood cultures Give IV antibiotics Start IV fluid resuscitation Check hemoglobin and lactate Monitor accurate hourly urine output
Make sure the hospital staff and physicians are aware of the Sepsis Six and ask them to begin treatment immediately.
For those over 65: Those hospitalized had an average length of stay that was 43% higher than that of other patients.
how do you treat sepsis?
Some 13% of those hospitalized for sepsis died in the hospital, compared with 1% of those hospitalized for other conditions.
For those under 65: Hospitalization had an average length of stay that was more than double that of other hospitalizations.
26% Those hospitalized were 26% more likely to have seven or more diagnoses than those hospitalized for other conditions.
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is not a very long time.
But when you’re behind a steering wheel and your eyes leave the road—that ONE single second can change a life. ONE second is all it takes to be distracted. When you are driving, it should not be a secondary task—it should be the only task. EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) was established to raise awareness and generate action against the epidemic of distracted driving. Distractions include:
Taking eyes off the road
Taking hands off the road
Taking mind off the road
While texting and talking on the phone are both mental and physical distractions, cellphone use is attributed to 18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes.
What makes up the other 82%? »»Putting on makeup »»Reaching to grab a drink »»Changing the music »»Dealing with the GPS »»Eating on the go The distractions are endless. But they don’t have to be. The Core Mission of EndDD Our core mission is to preserve life and promote safety on a large scale through advocacy, education and action. It is our hope that we can prevent families and friends from suffering the loss of a loved one because of distracted driving. Together, let’s work to prevent distracted driving from claiming another life.
Visit us online web: twitter: facebook:
End Distracted Driving is sponsored by the Casey Feldman Foundation and is dedicated to inspiring individuals and communities to take action to end distracted driving. CONTACT US toll-free at 855-363-3478 or info@EndDD.org
endDD.org @end_DD EndDistractedDrving
Get Active with Your
v o i c e s
Family by Jessica Hoerman
you really want to encourage your children to develop a love of healthy living—show them how to have fun with exercise. Gym class is a great diversion from math, but the reality is that childhood obesity is growing at a record pace suggesting that most of our kids don’t take their gym class activities home with them. In fact, the average American kid sits in front of the TV about 24 hours a week; this stat does not include time spent on computers and smartphones. There should be no surprise that there is a direct correlation between the time spent on the couch and weight gain. So, what is a busy parent to do? Most of us work 9-5 jobs and come home just in time to get a meal on the table before responsibilities of the night take over. Signing your kids up for sports that they enjoy and taking the time to support their activities is a good answer, but, here is an even easier one: at least once a week, put away the workout video or skip the trip to the gym, and go
play with your kids! This year, the Midwest saw some incredible snowfalls and my kids, like the rest of the neighborhood, were jumping at the chance to hit the hills with sleds in hand. One perfect winter morning, I got my workout gear on thinking I would drop the kids off to sled themselves into exhaustion while I ran to the gym and jogged on the treadmill. That paragraph should be read with complete disgust—jumping on a treadmill alone instead of on a sled with my favorite people? I didn’t hop on the treadmill that day. Instead, I grabbed a heart rate monitor, some warm clothes and joined the family on the hills. It was great family day. We spent hours laughing and came home completely exhausted. Later, when I stripped out of the wet clothes, I noticed my heart rate monitor recorded “calories burned” at more than 1,000—a feat I was not likely to achieve watching TV from a treadmill. Showing your kids how to live a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring. Active play energizes you and
Outdoor Workouts for the Whole Family ball sports In addition to having fun, sports work agility, reaction, and vision training. 30 or 40 minutes of playing catch or basketball will also go by a lot faster than running on the treadmill. Make sure to emphasize fun and activity, not necessarily being competitive.
driving range or b at t i n g c ag e After being cooped up all winter, going out to hit some golf balls or baseballs can be a fun way to stay active and relieve some stress!
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gives you a sense of optimism that a fitness class or video cannot do. If the activity feels like a responsibility, it isn’t likely to be kept up with in any meaningful way. Waiting for that perfect snowfall is not necessary. Just grab your favorite ball and make up a game. What about a jump rope or a bike ride? My family always loves a trip to the local skating rink—no sitting on the sidelines allowed! Playing actively as a family does more than show your children you believe in the value of a healthy active lifestyle, it serves as “glue” to keep a family together when communication becomes challenging. A teenager may not want to sit at dinner and answer questions, but even the most stubborn of teenagers is a good candidate for small talks while on a ski lift or while engaged in a heated ping-pong battle. Make your family time active time for the fun of it. I think you will find that the activities will benefit you more than you had originally considered.
utilize the forest preserves
Walking, running, or biking on the trails is much more scenic than the streets. Your also going to get added benefit from training on unstable terrain. Another idea is to bring your dog to go with you.
Fresh Air Fun Ideas for Getting Active Outside by Nathaniel J. Fick
Any Natural Place to Explore. In every state and every county, there are wonderful outdoor spaces within a short drive or walk if planned for and executed. The great outdoors offers a possible return to some level of physical activity, even in just walking, that can energize body and mind. Take along a baguette, an apple and a small block of cheese; with a pocket knife and something to drink, you have a feast. If adults, perhaps a bottle of wine; even wine enjoys fresh air.
Especially with Children, but Even Entertaining with Adults. Wake Up the Brain. Yours, and whoever is with you. The visual stimulation, oxygen and fresh air help stimulate brain function. Play a game, look far, look near. Play “unusual”—what do you see that’s fresh and unusual? Find objects starting with letters of the alphabet or of specific colors.
Revisit an Old Enjoyment. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, tennis, Tai Chi, Qui Gong, bicycling, are all great outside activities. You can reconfigure games to gather different ages, just forget the rules and true competitive play. Make it fun!
Find an Entertaining Vista. This is great because it gets you outdoors, which is what it is all about. Whether a sunrise or sunset, a coming storm, a mountain or valley, shoreline or wildlife, it gets you out into the fresh air to breath, relax, stretch and shed stress. A local footpath, a “rails-to-trails” conversion of railroad bed, or a path near a local reservoir—all fair game. Many local governments shut down roadways near their reservoirs on the weekend to allow families to just get out and walk. And, bring a picnic! o matter the weather, the ages and stages of life, or your location on the globe, there is fun to be had outside. Adventuresome individuals and families can find this fun whether in the Canadian Rockies or down on the Gulf Coast. Join in, and continue to expand your own universe. The youngest of children can find adventure in something as simple as a stroller ride in the neighborhood or a park. A toddler can spend what seems almost forever watching a bug or digging for worms. Leaves and trees, cracks in the sidewalk, small streams and the local public park can each become part of a wonderland to explore. Yes, this means taking a break from your cyber-life and the distractions of day-to-day life that capture us inside our homes and workspaces. You may just be creating a wonderful lifestyle change for yourself, children, teenagers, and adults, which will carry on forever. Here, we identify five fresh-air ideas to build into your coming days.
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Find a Local Landmark. State and local governments also have archives and historical societies. Much is online. Find some historical building, path, or marker from the 1700s, and get out there and learn about some aspect of the history and the lives of folks who lived there before you. So much, right outside your doorstep. Embrace it, and enrich all of the rest of the days of your life. Enjoy!
Making these small changes will provide a big reward. After all, if you are not going to enjoy your own life, who will?
v o i c e s
Funon the Run
by Jaime Jackson
Run. Run a lot. The more you run, the better your body and brain will learn to do it. There are a lot of people who absolutely hate running and only run to keep their weight off or to start losing weight. All too often, people quit running because they are bored with it or don’t see the weight loss results. But, you aren’t going to see results in a day or even a week. You need to put some time into it to get the results you want. Consistency is key. The trick is to keep your running interesting. Here are a few tips how to make running more fun and therefore more enjoyable to do. learn to do it
It does not have to be every day, and it doesn’t have to involve awful workouts that leave you sprawled out on the track by the time they are done. But it does have to be consistent. It may kill you to run 3 miles now, but the more running becomes part of your regular routine, the more your body will crave that endorphin rush or just plain good feeling of a job well done when you finish a good run. pick a huge goal
Maybe it’s a 10k, half marathon, marathon or ultramarathon. Who knows? Make it one that will make your friends laugh when you tell them about it. That’s how you pick an inspiring goal. Then focus every day until you make it happen. Create a training plan and stick to it.
MapMyRun. listen to a good audio book or podcast
Too busy to read a good book? Well, queue up an audio book you have been meaning to get to and start jogging. go to the track
Go to a local high school track once a week, meet friends there and mix it up. If you have never done any speed work on a track before, you’ll likely see big returns almost right from the start. run for a cause
Team in Training is a big one, raising money for the Leukemia Society, but there are plenty of other runs for raising awareness. heart rate training
There are some excellent heart rate monitors out there. Not only will these devices help you with proper training intensity, it is fun and interesting to watch your heart rate and keep track. There are a lot of advanced workouts using heart rate zones that correspond to different intensities and you can shoot to stay in the zones for prescribed amounts of time.
Running and talking with friends is a great way to keep in touch. It also helps you get out the door on those days when you don’t want to go. The companionship and in–this–together mentality also helps with accountability. It’s a lot harder to hit the snooze button when you know you’ll be letting a friend down. run alone
The quietness and solitude of a long run is totally refreshing. Leave your stresses and problems on the floor the minute you lace up your sneakers and just move forward continuing to put one foot in front of the other. find a runners club
Runners clubs are all over the place. It’s amazing how many people so close to you feel the same way about running and are endless sources of information to share. create while you run
Whether you are an artist, student or a business person, it’s worth it to try brainstorming about a project during your run. Many find that their focus and creativity are heightened after 20-30 minutes of relaxed running. reward yourself
I started running because we always finished our runs at the local pub.
Not another mundane training guide, but find a book that will inspire you. Two good ones include Ultra Marathon Man and Born to Run. listen to music
Try trail running. There is so much beauty out there.
While some like the quiet solitude of mindless running, most everyone likes to listen to good music, constantly update your running playlist.
If you feel like you cannot spend another day on the same road, find a new one. Running apps are plentiful; a good one is
run with friends
read a great running book
bored with the roads
find a new route
marking it on your calendar makes it real. The beauty of running is everyone who participates wins. It’s not whether you come in first, 50th or last, it’s that you did it.
sign up for a race
Something about putting up money and
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How to choose the best
prepackaged food by Victoria Santoro
ome of us have grand dreams of cooking healthy meals for ourselves and our families every night. But with work, activities, errands and socializing, who has time to not only buy healthy food, but also prepare it and cook it every night? It’s no wonder we turn so frequently to prepackaged food. With some information and insight, prepackaged food can be not only easy and convenient, but healthy too. The bad news: prepackaged food can be chock-full of sodium, additives, trans fats and sugar. Eating a healthy meal means reducing the amount of each of these ingredients. The good news: eating healthy, prepackaged food is possible. It all comes down to reading the label. Sodium is an undercover assailant, as most people don’t realize (a) how much they should be consuming, (b) how much they are consuming and (c) how much extra sodium is in packaged food. While the FDA recommends daily sodium intake should stay under 2,300 mg, the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,500 mg. The average American? Unfortunately, we consume 3,436 mg of sodium daily. Look for low-sodium or no-sodium options when you’re browsing the freezer section or canned food section at your grocery store. Lean Cuisine products, for 28 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
example, although low in calories, often carry hefty amounts of sodium (700 mg). The same goes for regular soups (up to 800 mg). Take a moment to look at the labels and reduce your sodium intake. The same is true for the other nutritional culprits. While limiting your calorie intake is to be commended, focusing on this one criterion can lead to disaster in other areas. To make up for the lack of taste in low-calorie snacks, crackers and cereals, manufacturers often sprinkle in additives, sugar and fat—a basic granola bar can be full of high fructose corn syrup and trans fats.
Be sure to look for something made with whole grains, such as Nature Valley, or something that contains protein and/or fiber. The same can be said for your cereal. Again, stick to whole grain cereals (focus on the list of ingredients, not on the misleading advertisements shouting at you from the front of the box!) or oats. Quaker makes “Quick Oats,” that can be
made in one minute, that are not only whole grain but are also, you guessed it, sodium free. People naturally eat what is easy and available. So look for whole foods, such as nuts and veggies, that are precut and prepackaged into 100-calorie snack packs to take with you to work or out on the weekends. Emerald Dry Roasted Almonds, for example, come in easyto-open snack packs perfect to throw in your bag. Other snacking options include dry fruit and applesauce, but again be sure to read the label and check that there is no sugar added. Even when it comes time to put a full meal together for a family, there are healthy packaged options. There are bagged salads available at nearly all grocery stores. Even precut, precooked chicken strips, turkey and beef patties can be healthy—and fast—when you’re looking to whip up dinner in a hurry. Keep in mind that there are alternative options, such as vegetable burgers or turkey sausage, in the frozen foods section that, with minimal time in the microwave, can form the basis of a healthy dinner. With these small changes in the way you approach prepackaged food, you won’t have to sacrifice your health, but you will still be able to maximize the speed and ease with which you prepare your meals.
Committing to the
What you should know before undergoing plastic surgery by Brittany Monbarren
rom breast implants and Botox to liposuction and tummy tucks, the demand for plastic surgery procedures has increased dramatically over the years. Every day, millions of people are opting for plastic surgery to improve or enhance their bodies and appearance. With the increase in popularity of plastic surgery, it should come as no surprise that in 2012, more than 10 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed by boardcertified doctors in the U.S., according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The decision to go under the knife is one that should not be taken lightly. Before you decide on a little nip or tuck to alter your appearance, ask yourself some important questions and consider the following advice from the Cleveland Clinic. the need of the surgery
One of the most vital factors you should consider before undergoing plastic surgery is the need for the procedure. You may be doing it for reconstructive purposes, either because of a congenital defect or as a result of an injury. Or, you may want it to slow your aging process or enhance your appearance. Whatever the reason might be, it is important to ask yourself if it is necessary for you to go under the knife and why. your expectations
Plastic surgery is not a miracle procedure. You cannot go into the process anticipating perfection. People have plastic surgery to help improve, enhance or alter part(s) of their body; it doesn’t turn you into a movie star overnight. You must have realistic expectations when considering plastic surgery. know before you go
Before you decide to pursue plastic surgery, it is important that
you obtain any and all information about the procedure. It is best if you seek a balanced opinion of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. They can help you obtain information about before and after the procedure, discuss your expectations for surgery, and help you evaluate the hospital and physician before you proceed. It is also helpful to talk with friends and family who have undergone similar surgeries. Or, you can ask the doctor if he/she can recommend any former or current patients who would be willing to discuss the procedure with you. choosing a qualified surgeon
One of the most important factors when committing to plastic surgery is finding a qualified plastic surgeon. Follow these tips to help make your surgeon selection: »» Board certification is best. Always select a physician who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Selecting a certified physician means that he/she has completed specialized training in cosmetic surgery and has passed written and oral exams to earn the certification. »» Experience. Don’t go to a surgeon with minimal experience. Always do your research. Find out the background and experience of the physician. How long has he/she been performing the procedure? Using the latest technology? If so, where did he/she obtain special training for the technology? You can also check online for physician reviews and see what past patients thought. »» Communication is key. After you have chosen your physician, it is important that you feel comfortable. Always make sure you have been informed of the possible risks, side effects and recovery time associated with the procedure, and that you can ask questions. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 29
All the Small Things What you may not realize about identity theft
»» Guard your financial information. Only provide it when you are paying for something. »» Keep your Social Security number confidential. This is the key that unlocks all personal information. »» Keep your mail safe by protecting the personal information mailed to you by banks. »» Get off credit marketing lists. Thieves steal mailings and apply for credit in your name.
by Brian Nettles
»» Memorize your passwords and pins. Don’t leave them where someone can find them. »» Stay safe online. When inputting credit card information, the address bar should change from “http” to “https” or “shttp.” Identity theft, the fastest-growing crime in the U.S., occurs when someone steals your personal data for their own personal gain. This information usually takes the form of a Social Security number, canceled checks, a driver’s license number, a birth date, a consumer’s address of record, or a credit card/credit card statement. With this data, thieves can open a new credit card, open a new line of credit at your bank, get a new driver’s license or Social Security card, or acquire wireless accounts—all under your name. While it’s difficult to prevent identity theft and it is frustrating, time consuming and sometimes very costly, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of being a victim. Here are just a few:
If you are a victim of identity theft, contact the three national credit reporting agencies’ fraud departments (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) and place a 90-day initial fraud alert on your credit reports. Explain to the agency that you believe you are a victim of identity theft. The initial fraud alerts on your credit reports will keep the thieves from obtaining new credit accounts in your name. Taking these immediate steps will help protect you against further identity theft.
ATV’s & Kids: A Dangerous Mix From 1982-2008 nearly ONE-THIRD of the 9,633 All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) related deaths were children under 16. Over one hundred children are seriously injured EVERYDAY and approximately one dies EVERY OTHER day from an ATV related crash. Injuries to children from ATV accidents cost society OVER 2 BILLION DOLLARS annually in medical and economic costs.
PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE. Don’t allow children under the age of 16 to ride ATV’s Concerned Families for ATV Safety
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Visit www.ATVsafetynet.org for more information.
pam is a popular canned lunch meat sold by contact phone number to a business as part of a transaction and Hormel. It is also the name for unsolicited bulk then, out of nowhere, the cellphone numbers are captured to mail or electronic messages, usually sent for send automated spam text messages. advertising or marketing purposes, and delivered The consumer will then start receiving spam messages, en masse with computerized automatic telephone dialing soliciting new business from the consumer, that are sent as a systems. massive text message process. Sometimes, the spam message Recently, unscrupulous “marketing” companies have found will have a contact number for the consumer to reply “STOP” a new way to invade our privacy and time by sending spam or “HELP,” but that does not make the message legal. The text messages. Spam text messaging is even more insidious only legal text messages are those messages the consumer has than email spam because text spam ties up our cellphones with provided prior express consent to receive, sent with automatic interruptions that are delivered to us dialing technology. anytime, anywhere, that we have As a consumer, you can bring our wireless device. Text spam a claim for violation of the TCPA can be delivered while we are if you show that a text message driving, during dinner or any was delivered to your cellphone time we have our phone with with an automatic telephone us, day or night. dialing system and you never Thankfully, we consumers gave prior and express consent have recourse to take action to to the company to send you the stop text spam. That recourse text message. is the right to sue spammers Many times, the text message by Ed Normand and recover damages for every will be sent via a short code, unsolicited bulk text message usually a five-digit phone delivered to our mobile phones. number, listed as the sending A federal law, called the number. This is usually a sure Telephone Consumer Protection sign that the text message Act (TCPA), protects was sent with automated consumers from unwanted dialing technology. A and unsolicited spam text short code number messages. Under the is not required, TCPA, consumers however, and have a private right many auto-dialed of action to sue text messages spammers for come from each and every text “regular” 10-digit message they cause to be delivered to a cellphone with bulk phone numbers. Consumers should also know that companies automated messaging. cannot first send the message and then ask permission or Under the TCPA, consumers can recover a $500 penalty for ask the consumer to opt out or reply “STOP.” That very first every spam text message delivered to their phone and up to message is a violation as well as any subsequent messages that $1,500 per message found to be sent as an intentional violation are sent to the consumer without first getting permission. of the TCPA. The text message does not even have to be an The TCPA makes sense. It prevents the invasions of privacy, advertisement or marketing message to be in violation of the and the lost time and money we spend in having to deal with TCPA. The act prohibits any auto-dialed calls (including text text spam messages that can be spit out by computers in huge messages)—ads or not—that are sent to cellphones. bulk mailings at little or no cost to the advertiser. The TCPA also has separate provisions that prohibit as Consumers are free to accept text spam, but only after they additional violations the delivery of certain advertisements are first asked and only if they grant permission with prior and solicitation calls and messages. Thus, any consumer who express consent specifically authorizing delivery of the text gets a text message they did not authorize should investigate message to their wireless device. to determine if they have a right to recover damages for that Imagine if we all were barraged with dozens of text message message under the TCPA. advertisements to our cellphone each day. The distraction and At present, spam text messaging is a growing problem, invasion of privacy would be tremendous. So would the forced but it can be stopped if consumers take action against the cost as many consumers must pay for each text message they spammers. Do your part to stop spam and consult with receive, even when sent to them without permission. The TCPA qualified legal counsel if you or a family member is harassed works to stop those unwanted messages before they are sent, by text messages delivered without your advance permission. but it only works if we take action. Working together, we can do our part to keep our privacy and A typical TCPA violation occurs when a consumer provides a peace of mind and stay free from unwanted text solicitations.
help stop text spam
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cove r focus
autism: beyond the numbers by Stephanie Andre
erhaps you’ve read the latest stats: a staggering 1 in 50 school-age children in the United States has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. These numbers, along with others released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show an uptick in diagnosed children. In fact, that same survey—a telephone survey by the CDC—reported 2% of 6- to 17-year-olds had a diagnosis for an ASD, which is higher than the 2007 estimate of 1.16%. The authors of the CDC’s latest report largely attribute the change to doctors identifying the disorder more often now than they did just a few years earlier.
“Much of the prevalence increase from 2007 to 2011 [to] 2012 for school-aged children was the result of diagnoses of children with previously unrecognized ASD,” they wrote. But beyond the numbers, reports and surveys, there lies something people talk about less often—and perhaps don’t want to talk about: the daily life of raising a child with autism. What are the struggles? What becomes your new “normal?” How does the family cope, yet also find strength? Here, we focus not only on the disorder’s complexities, but also on what it takes to make each day work—from therapy sessions and doctor visits to communication struggles and the constant fear of wandering. What is it like to be the mother of a child with autism? Read here to see life through her eyes.
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Through a Mother’s Eyes Mary Beiler and
her youngest son
ary Beiler is an active mom of three in her mid-30s. A former newspaper reporter, she now dedicates her life to her family, based in Pennsylvania. Busy with three children—Anne, 9, Steve, 6, and Dave, 5, whose diagnosis is “classic” autism—Beiler wears many hats these days: mother, advocate, taxi driver, safety patrol, therapist, playdate, motivator, teacher and, oh yes, wife. Beiler doesn’t get much of a break from her busy life—filled with Dave’s therapy sessions, preschool dropoff/pickup and doctor’s appointments. That also doesn’t include the more “typical” stay-at-home mom jobs, such as cleaning, cooking and laundry, among other things. But even given all of this, Beiler doesn’t mind. In fact, she’s extremely thankful that she and her husband, Brian, have created a life in which she can stay home. “When you have a child in the spectrum like Dave, it’s really hard not to stay home,” she explains. “For us,
we made the decision that he needed that attention and help. Who is going to drive him to school or therapy? We are fortunate that I can stay home. I don’t know where his development would be if I was still working full time.” Here, Beiler talks candidly about Dave’s disorder, the ups and downs of daily life and what she wants people to understand about autism (hint: less pity, more support!).
because it helps when he does try to tell me when he wants something. From the physical development side, he’s super active: on the trampoline or the couch; he even takes a private gymnastics class. In these things, he’s thriving. He’s just very athletic, which is different than a lot of kids on the spectrum. We keep him very busy; he goes to two different preschools, therapy and every Thursday, we have a scheduled playdate.
Stephanie Andre: Tell us about Dave. Mary Beiler: Dave is my soon-to-be kindergartener. I am so proud of him. He’s made huge strides in the past year. We focus on the little positives; they then add up to something big. It’s easy to focus on the negative, so we work really hard to look at things the other way around. Dave is very sweet by nature. His teachers, therapists—everyone loves him. He’s also very sensitive. Most autistic children tend to lash out, but he’s never gotten aggressive. That’s really beneficial
SA: Take us back to when he was first diagnosed. MB: When he was younger, he seemed to be developing well. He was talking. It didn’t seem like a problem. Knowing what I know now, I realize that he was talking, but was only labeling things—using nouns. We were educated enough at the time, but it was the subtle things we didn’t pick up on. Initially, we sent him to speech therapy, and there, they told us he should be evaluated. We talked to our pediatrician
t h e s tat s o n au t i s m The percentage of children and teens ages 6 to 17 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) increased to 2%—or 1 in every 50—in 2011-2012, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health. That’s up from 1 in 88, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 34 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
the percentage of students with autism who finish high school.
about it. He thought Dave was just “delayed,” but we weren’t sure so we went to the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. We knew we could trust them. When the diagnosis for “Classic Autism” came back, it was shocking, but in a way, it wasn’t. I thought, “OK. I was blinded a bit.” That said, we knew that early intervention was key to doing the most we could for him. Today, our biggest challenge is still language and communication. He has some sensory issues, but we find ways to manage. Talking is the biggest concern. SA: What are the issues you’ve been dealing with most since his diagnosis? MB: Dave wanders off, which is very common in autistic children. It’s almost like an elderly person with dementia— they gravitate toward or away from something or someplace. Before Dave was diagnosed, he ran out of our backyard. We thought he was just being a toddler. Now, we know better. Our house is equipped with alarms and locks, so we’ll know if he gets out. We also have stop signs on the doors to get him to stop and think. The backyard is fenced in, too. We also made sure all of our neighbors know; we’ve handed out flyers with his face on them and tips for what to do if they see him. Drowning is the number one cause of death in autistic children; we now know where every pond in our area is located. But, even now, getting out and wandering is still a big concern.
Dave has figured out how to unlock the doors—by grabbing a chair and standing on it to reach the lock. It’s a daily challenge. SA: What’s your average day with Dave like? MB: It varies, depending on the day. Some days, we are very busy, going from preschool to therapy sessions (which are multiple days a week). Other days, we’re home more. One of the major differences with Dave, compared to my daughter, for example, is that she would have playdates and play by herself, and we’d interact and play together. Now, if I wanted him to, Dave wouldn’t bother me all day. He’s in his own world. The onus is on me to solicit that interaction. If I don’t get him to respond, he’s less likely to “come back” to me. Some days he’s “with me;” other days, he’s not. It can be very emotionally draining. Every day is a challenge to see what I can get from him. How I can reach him? What will be the trigger that gets him to communicate with me today or look into my eyes? SA: Let’s talk about your family for a minute. How has that dynamic changed? MB: My husband is great, but we each now have very different roles. He’s working and providing financially for our family; I am on the front lines with autism. We’ve each accepted our roles and do the best we can to help each other—both with the kids, but also just emotionally.
Helpful Apps for Kids with Autism
Emotions and Feelings — Autism This app, by TouchAutism.com, uses social stories and simple illustrations to show what different feelings look like. ($2.99; iPhone, iPad, Android) Starfall ABC/Learn to Read Starfall ABCs teaches the alphabet by helping kids sound out the letters. Once children have mastered this, the app helps emerging readers by introducing 15 simple sentence stories and fun songs. ($2.99; iPhone, iPad) Super Why! This app allows your child to go on a hunt identifying letters, trace letters, practice rhyming words, and help select words to finish a story. ($2.99; Android, iPhone, iPad) Agnitus — Games for Learning This app offers a variety of interactive games, some of which focus on identifying and matching shapes, colors, letters and managing selfhelp skills. (Free; iPhone, iPad) Doodle Buddy Kids can draw, scribble, write and color on a blank canvas or upload photos to personalize with stamps, stencils, and quote bubbles. (Free; iPhone, iPad)
the 1 percenters Studies in Asia, Europe and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an average prevalence of about 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%.
boys vs girls
asds do not discriminate
asds are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
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The Importance of Early Intervention
Like with any disease or disorder, early intervention is vital. For children with autism, this is especially true. High-quality early intervention for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can do more than improve behaviors; it can improve brain function. Being nonverbal at age 4 does NOT mean children with autism will never speak. Research shows that most will, in fact, learn to use words, and nearly half will learn to speak fluently. Though autism tends to be life long, some children with ASD make so much progress that they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. High-quality early intervention may be key. Many younger siblings of children with ASD have developmental delays and symptoms that fall short of an autism diagnosis, but still warrant early intervention. Research confirms what parents have been saying about wandering and bolting by children with autism: It’s common, it’s scary, and it doesn’t result from careless parenting. Prenatal folic acid, taken in the weeks before and after a woman becomes pregnant, may reduce the risk of autism. One of the best ways to promote social skills in grade-schoolers with autism is to teach their classmates how to befriend a person with developmental disabilities. Researchers can detect presymptom markers of autism as early as 6 months—a discovery that may lead to earlier intervention to improve outcomes. The first medicines for treating autism’s core symptoms are showing promise in early clinical trials. Investors and product developers respond to a call to develop products and services to address the unmet needs of the autism community. Source: Autism Speaks
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Things like dinner are difficult. I couldn’t tell you the last time we went out to eat. It’s just not worth the effort. Even when we eat at home, dinner is usually Brian, Anne and me. The boys tend to eat on their own time. Plus, autistic children are very picky eaters and Dave certainly falls into that category. He’s very sensitive to textures and smells, so I usually will cook at least two different meals every night. SA: Dave starts kindergarten this fall. How are you preparing for that? MB: His therapists and teachers are doing everything they can to prepare him. Even now, therapy includes play exercises, where a therapist actually gets on the floor with him. They also work on sharing. It’s very basic. It’s simple things, like how to play with toys. It’s a big switch for us because he will be leaving his current environment, which is somewhat protected, and heading to a regular elementary school in an autism-supported classroom. We are very lucky in that he has great support. He also has a TSS (a therapeutic staff support person is a paraprofessional who provides one-on-one support) who goes to school with him and comes to the house. We are incredibly lucky that we have had the same person for three years. They’re not paid well so the turnover is typically pretty high. At this point, he’s really like a member of our family. SA: Coping in the confines of your home is one thing, but dealing with mainstream society is a completely different issue—how do you handle that? (see more, page 37) MB: People can be very cruel. However, you kind of learn to grow thicker skin. I would like to think that any mother would do anything for her child. I have to stand up for him because he can’t do it for himself. It’s difficult, but
in times of frustration with people and cruelty, I try to look at it as an opportunity to educate someone. There are situations though that I can see coming up in the future that may be tough. For example, even though Dave is going to a school very close to our house, the district sent me to a different school for kindergarten orientation. I had to sit through the entire presentation and listen to them explain all the milestones my child wasn’t hitting. It’s this type of ignorance that is difficult to handle sometimes. As the parent of an incoming kindergartener, I was required to go to orientation. Yet, this presentation was not about my child at all and it was painful to sit through. When you have a child with autism, you come to grips with it and where they are. You reassess what your life’s goals for him are going to be. Where’s he going to be at 25 or 35? Then, I was put in that situation and you don’t expect it. It brings everything back. I cried all night. But, the next day, I got myself together and wrote a letter to the district suggesting that they have a special orientation for the parents of children with special needs. SA: What advice would you give to parents with children who’ve been recently diagnosed? MB: The first thing I would say is, you know your child best. Don’t underestimate what your child can do. Only you are going to do what’s in his best interests. Someone else is not going to have the same investment in your child. You’re with them their entire life. Second, I would find your support group—meaning, this is the time when you find out who your true friends are. Who will be judgy and question everything versus who is going to stand by you. Foster those relationships, because at the beginning, so much of the attention will be on
I have to stand up for him because he can’t do it for himself. ...I try to look at it as an opportunity to educate someone.” - MARY BEILER, MOTHER OF THREE
the child. But, you need that support as well. Lastly, and most importantly, learn to be your child’s advocate. It sounds simple, but it’s not. I really had to get over caring about what others thought. I’ve gotten over not being confrontational. You have to do what needs to be done. SA: Last question: What do you want people to know most about children with autism? MB: Autistic or not, every child should be loved. We are going to do whatever we need to do for him, but we don’t want pity or sympathy, just support. That’s the difference and that’s what Dave and others like him need.
I like my bubble. It’s safe. It doesn’t contain questioning looks, or judgmental stares, or pain, or sometimes, even reality. It does contain love, support, and a sense of my own definition of “normal.”
Bubble by Mary Beiler
Today, I stepped outside my bubble. And it was painful. My son has a private gymnastics lesson every Tuesday. Lately, we have had a hard time getting him to follow the routine. He just wants to go in there and do what he wants to do. When we try to give him some direction, he flops on the floor and cries. You might expect this behavior from a 2-year-old. My son is 5. There is a “Mommy and Me” class immediately following my son’s lesson every week. The instructor suggested we stay for part of that, thinking that it might be helpful for my son to see other kids on the equipment and maybe he could just follow along. While the other kids in the room did get him to climb on some of the equipment, he still did things “his way,” choosing to walk down the ladder instead of up. Or going down the slide head first on his back instead of on his behind. These “unusual” behaviors caused the other parents to sneak glances at me and my son, glances that contained questioning looks. At 5, my son towered over the little 1- and 2-year-olds in the “Mommy and Me” class. I started to feel self-conscious and singled out. I could almost feel the other moms’ brains going off, trying to figure
out what diagnosis my child must have. I was reminded why I like my bubble, and why I very seldom step out of it. In the safe world I have created for me and my child, I don’t have to deal with such things. We surround ourselves with therapists and great friends who “get it” and make me feel comforted and supported. Before the session was over, I grabbed my son and made him put his shoes on. He didn’t want to leave; he was having fun. But I knew if I didn’t get out of there, I was going to make a scene by blubbering uncontrollably. I could already feel the tears stinging at my eyes. It’s not easy to watch your child around other children and realize how far behind they are developmentally. I think of myself as a positive person, always celebrating the “little things.” I guess I’d better get used to it. The developmental gap only seems to be getting wider the older he gets, and I’ve already been warned that the issues I am dealing with now will multiply tenfold as he gets older. For now, I’ll decide to have a good cry, dry my tears, then climb back into my safe bubble. I’ll call a good friend and talk it out; then I’ll give my son a big hug. Because when it all comes down to it, I know those other people don’t matter. HE DOES! So I’ll let myself have my little breakdown, but I’ll be stronger for it in the end. To read more from Mary’s blog, please visit autismmommyyork.blogspot.com.
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H O M E & FA M I LY
How to stop the cycle before it gets worse by Wayne Parsons Dad and mom noticed their 11-year-old son was less energetic than usual for the last week or two and was not eating as well—even when it was something he really liked. He was getting behind in school work and seemed troubled. Dad finally sat down in a quiet place and asked what was going on. Eventually, his son told him about a boy at school who was making fun of him and occasionally would grab him and threaten or slap him. Dad told his son that the next day at school, as soon as he got the chance, he should walk directly up to his tormentor and without saying anything punch him in the face a couple of times, hard. He made his son promise to do that, stating, “That’s the best way to stop a bully.” That night, the boy didn’t sleep much. When he got to school, he did what his dad told him to do, and the bully was shocked. And it “worked”—his tormentor didn’t bother him again. But as the boy threw the punches at his tormentor, the seed was planted in him that would later lead to him becoming the abuser, the bully. Those seeds of aggression and violence would predispose this young victim to a life with serious psychological deficits. Whoever came up with the idea that the best way to stop bullying is to fight back?
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Bullying is serious and complex. Just as abusive parents often were abused as children, bullying has a cycle of repetition where the victim becomes a bully. The victim of bullying, as well as the bully, is at high risk of suffering long-term psychiatric disorders if the situation is not addressed promptly and properly. A recent study of bullying in JAMA Psychiatry, “Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence,” shows conclusive evidence that a bullied child often becomes a bully to someone else. The cycle continues. Kids who are bullied have a higher rate of childhood psychiatric disorders. They are 4.6 times more likely to suffer agoraphobia, 2.7 times more likely to suffer generalized anxiety and 3.1 times more likely to suffer panic disorder, according to the study. And these psychiatric disorders continue as the child reaches young adulthood and even into their adult lives. When a child who has been bullied becomes a bully to others they have a 4.8 times great risk of young adult depression, a 14.5 times greater risk of panic disorder. Females suffer a 26.7 times greater risk of agoraphobia and males suffer a 18.5 times greater risk of suicidal thoughts. Agoraphobia is intense fear and anxiety, often associated with fear of being trapped someplace. Bullies alone have a 4.1 times greater risk of antisocial personality disorder. These high rates of childhood psychiatric were determined after removing the effects childhood psychiatric problems or family hardships. A group of 1420 students were followed from the age of 9 to 26 constituting one of the more carefully controlled studies on bullying. The study concludes that “[t]he effects of being bullied are direct, pleiotropic [have multiple effects], and long-lasting, with the worst effects for those who are both victims and bullies.” Catherine Bradshaw, deputy director at the Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence at Johns Hopkins University, said of the results of the study that, “[t]he experience of bullying in childhood can have profound effects on mental health in adulthood, particularly among youths involved in bullying as both a perpetrator and a victim.” Telling a child who is being bullied to hit back sends the wrong message that abuse solves abuse. Most victims aren’t able to fight back. They are often less physical and outnumbered, and on the case of cyberbullying how would a child strike back? The child who is incapable of fighting back can feel even more inadequate, exacerbating the psychological injuries suffered. School officials and/or parents also tolerate and ignore the behavior make matters worse. The bully should be stopped and an effort made to understand the source of the bullying behavior. If it is simply showing off to peers, developing awareness in the school about the seriousness of the injuries caused by bullying behavior will create peer pressure to refrain from bullying. At the same time, teachers and parents should talk to the perpetrator and find out what is motivating the behavior and if other problems exist that are contributing to the behavior. Questions about what they were feeling before, during and after an incident will give insight. Likewise, the victim should see that others, particularly their role models, parents and teachers, support them and are treating the bullying with the seriousness it deserves. Without that immediate and significant response the victim can feel helpless and that hopelessness can in some cases lead to suicide. Lecturing, scolding and admonishing will not work alone. Ask the children questions about their feelings and motivations and listen to their answers. Don’t argue with them but try to understand them and let them know that what they feel matters to you. And consider involving a psychologist who understands bullying who can communicate more effectively with the bully as well as the victim. Let a professional help the kids avoid a lifetime of psychological problems.
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Bullying by the numbers A recent study shows conclusive evidence that a bullied child often becomes a bully to someone else. The cycle continues. Kids who are bullied have a higher rate of childhood psychiatric disorders.
»» 4.1 times more likely to have an antisocial personality disorder. These high rates of childhood psychiatric were determined after removing the effects childhood psychiatric problems or family hardships. A group of 1,420 students were followed from the age of 9 to 26, constituting one of the more carefully controlled studies on bullying. »» 4.6 times more likely to suffer agoraphobia, an intense fear and anxiety, often associated with fear of being trapped someplace »» 2.7 times more likely to suffer generalized anxiety »» 3.1 times more likely to suffer panic disorder when a child who has been b u l l i e d b e c o m e s a b u l ly t o others...
»» They have a 4.8 times greater risk of young adult depression »» 14.5 times greater risk of panic disorder »» Females suffer a 26.7 times greater risk of agoraphobia »» Males suffer a 18.5 times greater risk of suicidal thoughts
Source: JAMA Psychiatry, “Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence”
hurting my child? Recent studies suggest such practices are beneficial...in moderation by Mark Bello
What may seem to be a simple question with an even simpler answer may be much more complex. While some experts opine that a childâ€™s excessive video game playing can have a negative impact, it is also important to note that much research has been done on the social, emotional, mental and physical benefits of such gaming. So, moms and dads, listen up; the results of this research may surprise you. Apparently, video games have considerable real-world benefits. Would you believe that many scientists and psychologists find that many video games teach kids high-level thinking skills? Since
these video games create interaction with other gamers, they can actually help teach social skills, such as leadership, teambuilding and delegating responsibility. Teamwork and cooperation with other online players encourage gamers to not only make the most of their individual skills, but also to use those skills in a way that contributes to the team. These interactive game types may also teach listening skills as kids seek out and listen to the ideas of others while formulating a plan to reach common goals. According to Daphne Bavelier, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of Geneva,
may boost self-confidence as kids master various games
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video games actually help gamers focus better and improve multi-tasking skills. Bavelier’s research also found that gamers’ data-tracking abilities exceed those of non-gamers; a gamer can quickly parse through mass amounts of information to identify specific data. The most telling aspect of her research was the positive changes in a gamer’s brain. Our world has rapidly become high-tech and sophisticated; the use of video games is one helpful way to introduce kids to computer technology, social networking and media, and global connectivity through the Internet.
Video games help kids adapt to and create comfort with the concepts of computing. And, because video games are fun, kids will keep practicing, which will improve learning skills and decision making. Additionally, video games may boost self-confidence as kids master various games. Since the cost of failure is low, the child is more apt to take risks.
Other positive effects of video games: Video games improve reading skills in young gamers. The brain gets a real workout because of the skills needed to follow instructions, directions and storylines. Kids must gather information and think quickly.
Video games train the brain in problem solving and logic. The gamer must come up with creative ways to solve puzzles and other problems, usually very quickly. Certain types of games also help develop and improve math skills. Playing video games assists in the development of hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and coordination, as players must keep track of the position of the character, their speed, direction and maneuvers. In higher levels of a game, players need perseverance to succeed and will keep trying to reach success and get to the next level. Playing video games can be similar to working through a science problem. In some games, players constantly try combinations to defeat an enemy or master a skill. If one does not work, they change hypothesis and try the next one.
Moderation is Key Let’s return to our initial question: Good or bad for our children? When answering the question whether too much time playing video games can hurt a child, a comparison to fast food or junk food comes to mind—everything in moderation. As with your child’s food diet, parents must look at their children’s leisure time “diet.” Are they well-balanced? There must be a balanced diet of games versus other activities and games that send positive messages versus those that may have negative connotations. 42 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
The bottom line: there is no hard and fast rule. Parents overwhelmed with concerns about video games may find comfort in the knowledge that tens of millions of people, in every age group, play video games regularly and safely every day. Video games are not going away; instead of finding ways to avoid them, studying and learning those positive and negative aspects of gaming will help parents make an educated decision as to what is right for their child.
n o w a n d ag a i n , e v e r yo n e n e e d s a h e l p i n g h a n d ... f o r t h i s , l aw y e r s a g a i n s t h u n g e r i s t h e r e .
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For more information or to donate, visit lawyersagainsthunger.com.
How to help a fa m i ly m e m b e r
suffering with a l z h e i m e r’s by Danny Feldman
d o yo u k now t h e s ig n s of al z h e i m e r ’ s di s e as e ? This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if one’s family does not live in close proximity to the affected person. In addition to the most common signs of recent memory loss and difficulty performing familiar tasks, other common signs include misplacing things and finding them in strange places (earrings in a shoe), changes in mood and behavior, disorientation as to time and place, changes in personality (becoming more fearful, paranoid, confused) and loss of initiative in doing everyday things. Once the family realizes a loved one has the condition, getting that person to realize what is happening and accept 44 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
help is the next step. This may take a number of conversations. Remember to be respectful and compassionate as the family member’s decision-making ability will likely be affected by the disease. Often, both the person with the disease and the family will want to keep him/her in their home. Given that the person is likely already having trouble with confusion and memory, moving someone out of a place they have typically lived in for years will want to be avoided if possible. Of course, depending on the severity of the disease, continuing to live at home may or may not be possible.
the lead in providing and/or finding competent care for the suffering patient. There are a number of businesses and groups that provide non-medical care, such as shopping, food preparation, light-housekeeping, driving, etc., for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s patient who no longer is able to do so. Ultimately, a good relationship between the Alzheimer’s patient and the caregiver greatly depends on communication, which can be difficult. Respect and specificity have been shown to be the
Remember to be respectful and c o m pa s s i o n at e a s t h e fa m i ly m e m b e r ’ s d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g a b i l i t y w i l l l i k e ly b e af f ec t e d by t h e d i s e as e .
Alzheimer’s is progressive so it may be possible to keep him/her in their own home during the early and middle stages of the disease. Of course, much depends on where the rest of the family is located—does someone live in the same town? Does that person have the time to spend with the family member who is affected? Even if there is someone available, is that family member suited to providing the care? Or, will the family member quickly become angry and resentful about being a caregiver? It often makes sense for one member of the family to take
These services can greatly enhance the patient’s living experience and allow the family caregiver some needed “breaks” in being the caregiver. Even in the best of conditions, being the primary caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient can place terrific stress and strain on the caregiver. Of course, hiring a caregiver that mistreats, abuses or ignores the patient can have negative consequences. Accordingly, hiring someone or some business that has properly screened its caregivers, not only to ensure they are not criminals, but also to ensure that they have the right temperament to be a caregiver, is important. The person in charge of looking out for the caregiving can also obtain a power of attorney so that the financial affairs of the person suffering from the disease can be kept in order and protected from persons who otherwise would be in a position to take advantage of the Alzheimer’s patient. A durable power of attorney also would allow the family member to make medical decisions for an
two most important factors in successful communication. For example, rather than hollering from across the room “lunch is ready,” a more willing and immediate response will likely be achieved by extending a hand to the patient, addressing them by name, and stating, “Bob, please come to the table with me; it’s time to eat lunch.” Addressing the patient by name and then sharing the meal together also serves to help the patient preserve his self-identity. Also, sharing a meal provides an opportunity to talk and allows the person suffering from the disease to talk about and remember their role in life, whether with their family, their work, or whatever it may be, thereby allowing them to preserve their uniqueness and selfidentity. There is nothing easy about dealing with a family member stricken with Alzheimer’s, but this is something that more and more Americans will face as the population ages. With patience, understanding and action, the situation can be successfully handled.
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v o i c e s
UPS AND DOWNS OF
EMPTY NESTING by Michael Bogdanow
First, you were a kid in the back of a station wagon with no seat belts, heading to a national park with your parents. Before you knew it, your children were in the back of a minivan, as you drove them to Disney World. Now you’re an empty nester, and the back seat is, well, empty. In fact, how about a small car without a back seat? My wife and I began empty nesting in 2007, when our youngest child headed to college. Although we had greatly enjoyed 24 years with children in the house, I assumed empty nesting was going to be wonderful, a second honeymoon, a mid-life adventure. I was relatively unfamiliar with the term “empty nest syndrome,” the feeling of grief some parents experience when their children leave home. In the beginning, empty nesting lived up to my excited expectations about it. We went to Fenway Park, the Red Sox won, and we didn’t need to rush home to see our kids while they were still awake. Of course, had we done so, we would have simply found an empty house. Instead, we strolled leisurely along Newbury Street, stopped a bit and eventually headed home. For many, empty nesting isn’t as simple as a romantic, late night walk in town. It can be a period of loss and sadness at home, and fears and worries about the offspring who are away. It is particularly tough when those children are unhappy. My empty nest honeymoon ended one night as we were walking along the Boston Harbor, and received a call from our daughter, all alone late at night in a desolate bus station, waiting for the bus back to college, and unhappy with much of her initial college experience. How awful it can be to feel that your child is so sad and lonely, and you are too far away to help! Empty nesting has its ups and downs. Our daughter not only survived those initial experiences, but eventually loved her college. My wife and I developed some wonderful rituals that we hadn’t taken the time for while our children were at home, 46 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
such as going out for Sunday brunch or taking those postFenway strolls. We started a whole new adventure by leaving the suburbs and moving to a 130-year-old house in Cambridge. It’s wonderful when our children come home; we are sad when they leave, but we still enjoy getting back to our “no kids at home” routines. There are many ways to enjoy the empty nesting experience. You can rearrange your house to cater to your needs, rather than to those of your children, or move to a new home altogether. You have more flexibility and more time for your relationship with your spouse or partner—to go out, linger over dinner, watch the programs you choose, visit friends and spend time however you wish. If you are single, you have more time to connect with others and develop new relationships. This is a great time to pursue new activities, take classes, join groups, explore hobbies, see or participate in the arts or become involved in volunteer work. Recently, I had professional meetings scheduled for one weekend in Austin and the following weekend in Santa Fe. My wife noticed that the New Orleans Jazz Festival was the weekend before the Austin meeting. So, road trip! Our last road trips were with the kids: Boston to Orlando, and even Boston/Toronto/Detroit/Cleveland (the explanation for that itinerary is for another article). This time, just the two of us are planning to drive from New Orleans to Santa Fe, via Houston, Austin and places that we are leaving entirely unplanned, taking full advantage of our empty nesting period. Empty nesting has its ups and downs, and always will. That’s life. By using it as an opportunity to have more quality time with your spouse, partner and friends, and as a chance to give yourself time for long-postponed activities, it can be a great time of life. Enjoy the adventure!
Exploration Tips for keeping your children safe when using the web by Brittany Monbarren
Tip 1: Decide the sites that your child can and cannot visit. It is important that you visit some sites for kids and pay attention to which sites collect personal information. If a site has a privacy statement that you don’t agree with, find a similar site that doesn’t request yours or your children’s personal information. A good way to avoid sites like that or sites with inappropriate content is to block or filter sites based on your child’s age. Use the parental controls in your computer’s settings to help monitor, manage and administer your children’s Internet use. You can also purchase a special parental control software.
Tip 2: Increase security and privacy settings. As important as it is to monitor inappropriate sites, it’s just as important to block pop-up sites and downloads that may be a risk to your security and privacy. When a child visits an inappropriate site or downloads a game or music, it can expose your computer to unwanted software that can infect your computer with viruses. The best defense against unwanted viruses is to install antivirus and antispyware software, which helps disable and remove any potentially hazardous programs. Also, you can set a limit to how many downloads your computer can allow. Your children may download programs without your permission and setting a limit to download helps decrease harm.
While the world of Internet exploration opens a whole new realm of learning and growing for children, it also opens different types of risks and challenges that are very dangerous. When a child uses the web, there is a chance that he/she may be exposed to content that is violent, sexually explicit, prohibited or even illegal. They may experience cyber bullying or even worse, share personal information—unknowingly—with a stranger that they may come in contact with. As a parent, it is important to protect your children’s privacy and safety when they’re using
the Internet. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help your children have a safe and positive experience online. Follow these simple tips provided by www.microsoft.com to help safeguard your children online. Protecting your children from harm is just as important online as it is in the real world. By taking an active role in teaching yourself about security and talking to your children about the risks associated with the Internet, will not only increase their safety but also help them better understand Internet exploration.
Tip 3: Monitor what your children are doing online. It may sometimes be difficult to be present whenever your children use the Internet, but it’s not difficult to see where they have been and what they’ve done online. Always check the web history after your children have used the computer. This not only protects them, but it also protects you and your family.
Tip 4: Talk to your children about the Internet. This should be a no-brainer. As with any activity your child partakes in, it is important to educate them on the dangers of using the Internet. Show them what sites are allowed. And if they are of age to use social media, always remind them to not talk to strangers, only use their first name, never give out personal information like a phone number or address, and never agree to meet up with someone. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 47
A Loving & Happy
HOME Keeping the relationship alive—for you and your kids by Stephanie Andre
eeping up with work, your kids’ schedules and your to-do list is enough. Then you want to add working at your marriage? Who has time for that? Well, the answer to this is, you do—at least if you want to stay in a fulfilling relationship. Sure, you and your spouse could lose yourselves to the day-to-day hustle and bustle, but where’s the life in that? Yes, we’re all busy, but making the time to work on your relationship—which was there before the kids—is vital. Here are some great tips, courtesy of mightymommy.com.
woo with the written word
Next time you’re in the store, pick up a romantic card or two that you can mail to your honey’s workplace. You can also stick a love note in his briefcase, her lingerie drawer, or on the dashboard of the car. Just because. get physical
Instead of sitting alone in your favorite chair, snuggle up next to your partner while you’re both on the sofa watching TV. Every chance you get, steal a kiss, give a hug, squeeze their leg while you’re driving, greet one another with a passionate kiss when returning from work instead of a rote peck on the cheek, make eye contact with one another while you’re sitting amongst your kids or in-laws. Sometimes the little touches mean the most and work to keep you connected.
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Cook your partner’s favorite meal for no reason at all. Drop by the office with a plate of those homemade double chocolate chip cookies that you know he or she loves. Stop by the store and pick up a slice of her favorite cheesecake or a bottle of his favorite wine. Put the kids to bed, cook a meal together, and have a cozy dinner for two in your bedroom.
When you were dating, the conversations between the two of you were about your goals, dreams, fears, quirks and hopes for the future. Once married with kids, those stimulating conversations are replaced with to-do lists, the best way to combat the latest outbreak of head lice in the fifth grade and the outrageous prices of gas these days. Try to have several intimate conversations throughout the week that revolve around just the two of you. Use your time together to rediscover your partner. By connecting with personal conversation you can build intimacy back into your marriage. Ask each other personal questions such as: How have your goals changed over the past five years? What does the future look like now? What do we need to do to get to that point? What are your cares and interests today? What can you do to support or encourage these interests?
When your spouse comes home from work, be interested, really interested in how their day was. We take one another for granted without even realizing it, so get in the habit of learning more about what makes you both tick during the day. Sometimes we just need a friendly ear to share how desperate we felt when our toddler threw a tantrum at the grocery store. grown - up time
The next time you two are alone in the car, do what you used to do when you were dating—make out! Surprise your spouse with a last-minute luncheon date during the workweek. Instead of eating at a restaurant, bring along some sandwiches and go eat at the park and just spend time together. If you have young kids that still nap, take advantage of their down time for some grown-up romantic time for the two of you. finding the time on friday night
Make Friday night a regular “date night.” It’s OK to tell a little white lie and make the kids believe it is really an hour later than they thought. It will give you a little extra (and much needed) alone time at the end of the week. keep in touch
Send a text to your significant other just to say “I love you” or “Can’t wait to see you tonight” or “Your new hairstyle is so sexy.” How often do we base our communications on to-do lists, grocery needs and complaints? Too often. surprise!
Not everyone loves surprises, but when it comes out of the blue from your sweetheart, it can make everything all right with the world. Send a written invitation to your spouse suggesting a private rendezvous for the two of you. Make dinner reservations at their favorite restaurant, line up a babysitter, and call them up for a date. This includes ringing the doorbell and standing outside the front door with a pretty little bouquet of daisies instead of just plowing into the house and telling them you’ll be waiting in the car.
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Behind this SUV is a group of daycare children. Not one of these children can be seen by the driver behind the wheel.
WORKING TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE IN AND AROUND VEHICLES Before you turn the keyâ€Śmake sure you can see! Most drivers are unaware of the large and very dangerous blindzone that exists behind all vehicles. Every week at least 50 children are seriously injured or killed after being backed over because a driver was unable to see them behind their vehicle.
Help save the life of a precious child Donate to KidsAndCars.org
LOG ON TO DONATE: http://kidsandcars.org/donate.html
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Simple Cleaning Tips for Even the Most Complex Projects by Brittany Monbarren As the weather gets warmer, we open up the windows—before closing them again to turn on the A/C—and suddenly realize how messy a room has gotten, that the house needs a fresh coat of paint and that the clutter has piled up in your garage. For many, it’s a season for rolling up your shirt sleeves and working on the dreaded house chores. However, what most individuals forget to realize while tackling their spring and summer cleaning projects is the importance of cleaning safety and the risks that involved. Whether it’s detailing your car or cleaning your house, it is important that you take the necessary safety precautions. Consider these simple cleaning tips as you take on your next project. Take time to think about your project. Most of the time when people start a new project, they do not take the time to actually break down the task and think about the safety aspects of it. Before you start tearing apart your house, take a few minutes to think about the project. Always have a cleaning plan and think about how you can complete your project as safely as possible. Always follow the safety instructions and recommendations on the labels. Cleaning supplies can be very hazardous to your health, it is important to read and follow all of the directions. Some cleaning supplies may create nasty fumes, the instructions may suggest opening the windows and doors or
to turn on a fan to circulate air flow while using that product. The cleaning products will also suggest never mixing two together. Since some products have different ingredients than other, combining different chemicals can create a dangerous mixture. Don’t leave buckets full of cleaning chemicals or cleaning supplies around your house. Always make sure you empty any excess cleaning liquids from your buckets or put your supplies in an inaccessible area if you walk away from it for a second. Leaving buckets of dangerous cleaning chemicals around your house can be very hazardous. Put away ALL of your cleaning supplies when you’re done. Once you are finished cleaning, you may say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll put this away later.” Don’t listen to that! Always put all of your cleaning supplies away when you are finished cleaning. Cleaning supplies attract the attention of animals and children. It is important that you thoroughly wash and dry all of your cleaning materials and put them in a locked/childproof cabinet for their safety. (continued, next page) @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 51
Worried About What’s in Those Cleaning Solutions? There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives that can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications. »» Baking Soda - cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
Take a peek at some of these homemade substitutions
alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See drclark.ch/g) »» Cornstarch - can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs. »» Citrus Solvent - cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)
»» Soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
»» Borax - (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
»» Lemon - one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
But is Borax safe? Borax is considered a mild skin irritant similar to baking soda. The MSDS lists borax as a health hazard of 1, similar to salt and baking soda. A health concern with borax is with its potential to disrupt the reproductive system. Studies have not been done in humans regarding this; however, potential reproductive issues in mice are suspected from high levels of ingested borax. Use of borax for home cleaning formulas, where no borax is ingested, has not been shown to pose health hazards. Borax is a natural substance which is non-carcinogenic, does not accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment.
»» White Vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up. »» Washing Soda - or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum. »» Isopropyl Alcohol - is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl
Police chases kill at least
innocent bystanders every week.
How many deaths before it’s not okay? Police chases for non-violent crimes often spin out of control, killing and injuring innocent bystanders.
PursuitSAFETY is a national nonprofit organization working to raise awareness about a real crisis that will continue to affect thousands of law-abiding people if we don’t come together and do something about it. Please visit pursuitsafety.org so you can find out more about what PursuitSAFETY is doing to:
• Serve injured victims and bereaved families • Unite people together to solve this global crisis, and • Save Lives by promoting pursuit policies and legislation that strike an appropriate balance between (a) apprehending fleeing drivers or answering first-responder calls and (b) ensuring public safety. Your tax-deductible gift will help us save lives.
A National Nonprofit Organization • PO Box 3128, Chico, CA 95927 • 530-343-9754 • www.pursuitsafety.org 52 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
S M A R T T R AV E L
Prettiest Cars may not be the
Luxury cars may not be as safe as you think
In late 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit organization of insurance companies, reported that only 3 of 11 midsize luxury cars scored a “good rating” on a new crash test that simulated a smaller frontal collision. Among the cars tested, the Infiniti G37, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class—all cars that have a stellar reputation for sound engineering, smooth looks and assumed safety. But apparently spending more for your wheels doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy superior protection in a crash.
by Eric Chaffin
@THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 53
...when considering your next car purchase, you may want to look a little deeper than the name brand.
car crashes still a leading cause of death
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., with more than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers treated in emergency departments in 2009. In New York alone, the cost of deaths from motor vehicle crashes—including medical and work loss costs—was $41 billion in 2005. This doesn’t take into account the impact on the victims’ families. Other states, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, all experienced an increase in car-crash fatalities in 2010. Yet, a Consumer Reports survey in 2012 revealed that when ranking factors in purchasing a car, the majority of consumers consider safety first, over quality, value and performance. Unfortunately, evaluating the safety of a car is not always as easy as you may think.
more stress on a car’s front corners and wheel assemblies. The IIHS says that this kind of crash is a major cause of fatalities, and one that normally goes unaddressed when car manufacturers are designing for safety. “Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the institute and the federal government,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund, “but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year.” Out of the 11 luxury cars tested in this new crash, only two— the Volvo S60 and the Acura TL—scored “good.” The Infinity G sedan was rated “acceptable,” while the other eight 2013 models, including the Lincoln MKZ, Volkswagen CC, Lexus ES and IS and Audi A4, rated “marginal” or “poor.” Meanwhile, more mass-market midsize family cars such as the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord coupe, Kia Optima and Dodge Avenger received “acceptable” marks on the crash.
luxury cars typically test better
raising the bar on safety
Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts crash tests on new vehicles and reports the results on the safecar.gov website. The IIHS also conducts its own testing program and issues its own safety ratings, and Consumer Reports has an auto issue that rates vehicles in terms of overall safety. A thorough examination of the safety of a car will likely involve a review of several safety reports. When looking at general crash-test scores, luxury vehicles typically have good ratings. At the end of 2011, for example, of the 15 midsize luxury SUVs rated by IIHS, 13 earned good ratings in frontal, sideimpact and rear crashes. Meanwhile, a lower percentage of midsize, nonluxury SUVs made the grade. Similar results were found for luxury cars, with 12 of 17 scoring “good” in main tests (71 percent), and for nonluxury cars only 5 of 9 (56 percent) scored “good.” But the new test created by IIHS in 2012 changed the outcome a bit.
The new test “raises the bar” on safety expectations, and will likely encourage companies to make improvements in response to the challenge. Meanwhile, when considering your next car purchase, you may want to look a little deeper than the name brand. Check as many safety results as possible to get a better overall picture of how your new vehicle may perform in a crash situation. things to look for when shopping for safety:
»» A full set of airbags »» Adjustable head restraints in all seating positions »» A telescoping and tilting steering wheel »» Adjustable pedals »» Sonar and backup cameras »» Weight—all other factors being equal, mass is an advantage »» Electronic stability control and traction control
test: family cars score better than luxury
»» All-wheel drive
In 2012, the IIHS simulated a different type of crash—one in which the vehicle strikes a vertical, thin object, such as a pole or a tree, at 40 miles per hour. Called the “narrow offset” test, it is a more severe test than the typical frontal-crash tests, and puts
»» Forward collision warning
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You can also check the IIHS safety awards to determine the crashworthiness of the car you’re thinking about bringing home.
v o i c e s
‘what will it take for us to
Change the Way We Drive?’ end i n g d i stracted dr i v i n g one dr i ver at a t i me by Joel Feldman
id you know that distracted driving is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths and close to 450,000 accidents in the U.S. every year? Or that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted? In fact, drivers who use handheld devices are four times more likely to get into an injury-producing crash. These are just a few of the startling and tragic statistics that result from distracted driving. To combat this, in April 2012, EndDD.org joined with 60forSafety.org to launch a campaign to provide distracted driving presentations to high school students. At press time, nearly 80,000 students alone had already seen the presentation; in total, more than 150,000 people have heard the message. The presentation was developed with the help of psychologists, traffic safety, behavioral change and teen messaging experts specifically to engage teens and not create defensiveness and resistance. Trained speakers include physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists and lawyers. Presentations have been given in more than 30 states, from cities to small towns, and the students have included those from many diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. Many teens admit to driving distracted, but even more talk about how worried they are about their parents who drive distracted, and often with their children as passengers. Like me, many parents have not been good role models for their children when it comes to safe driving habits. Parents are telling their teens not to text, make
phone calls, eat or be distracted while driving, but are engaging in many of these activities themselves. Teens readily describe their parents actions as “hypocritical.” “Do as I say not as I do” is not a wise strategy with respect to teaching our children safe-driving habits. Studies show that teens who grow up in households with parents who drive distracted will be two to four times as likely to drive distracted as teens whose parents do not drive distracted. Teens universally say they would not think of driving drunk, but admit they would likely drive distracted. Studies are now coming out that show that talking on a cellphone while driving can be just as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Distracted driving is selfish driving; we put our immediate needs to communicate, eat, change music or do any of a myriad of things before the safety of our passengers and everyone else on the road. So, “what will it take for us to change the way we drive?”—a question posed by my wife in a PSA we put together for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Hopefully not a personal tragedy like the one suffered by our family in which our daughter died as a result of being struck by a distracted driver. There is pain, anger and much frustration in her question because these deaths and injuries are easily preventable. It took our daughter’s death for us to change the way we drive. Will it take the loss of a loved one for each of us to become safer, non-distracted drivers? @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 55
Used Cars and the Issues with Recalls How consumers can protect themselves from unrepaired issues by Jerry Trachtman
A dealer in Oklahoma sold a used Dodge Durango. While the buyer was driving with her son, the lights, wipers and locks went haywire. “I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone,” said the buyer. “The plastic that covers the speedometer had popped, and smoke started billowing into the vehicle.” She managed to pull over and get her son out as the car caught fire. “We were told it was safe and it would be a safe vehicle for our family,” she said. It was not. The Durango had been recalled for an electrical defect and it was never repaired. The buyer of a used Lexus ES 350 was permanently disabled when he hit a tractor-trailer as the car went out of control on the highway. This car had been recalled for an unsecured floor mat. Even though the repair was simple, it was not done before the sale. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. In fact, according to a recent study by Carfax, an online vehicle history website, more than 2 million unrepaired 56 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
recalled vehicles were offered for sale online in 2012 alone. Since all sales are not advertised online—and the study only includes the websites Carfax catalogues—the actual number could be much higher. Federal law prohibits car dealers from selling or leasing new cars that are subject to a manufacturer’s recall, but there is no law to protect used car buyers. That said, legislation is scheduled to be reintroduced in Congress soon that would prevent used car dealers and all rental car companies from renting recalled vehicles before repairs are made. The law would also apply to the loaner and rental cars offered by new car dealers. The bill, known as the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, is named for sisters who were killed when their rental car caught fire. The defect was the subject of a recall, but the car had not been repaired. The bill was first introduced in 2011, and reintroduced last year, but it never passed. The bill does not apply to the sale of recalled used cars. The U.S. Government Accountability
Office (GAO) has recommended that Congress address this issue: “Many consumers may be unknowingly putting their lives at risk by purchasing a defective vehicle.” Car dealers are not even required to report crashes involving recalled vehicles they sell to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and NHTSA does not have the authority to notify used car buyers of a recall. So how can consumers protect themselves when in the market for a used car? First and foremost, check for open recalls on the car you are considering before you buy it. Easy places to do this include www.safercar.gov and recall.carfax.com. If you are the original owner of a vehicle and receive a recall notice from the manufacturer, do not ignore it. If you have sold your car on your own and receive a recall notice, make sure you give it to the buyer and notify the manufacturer your car was sold. A form to do this will be provided with the recall notice. If you have purchased a used vehicle without doing a recall check, do it now. Your life may depend on it.
Do Red Light Cameras Further Public Safety? by Rodney Gregory
Every state has its own specific red light statutes. Most share two basic elements: motorists are required to stop at a red light signal without entering an intersection and the stopping point is marked by some kind of mark or point on the roadway. Red light tickets are supported by evidence from the testimony of a police officer or a photo electronically generated by a camera that indicates the time and date the designated stopping point at the intersection was breached while the traffic signal was in its red phase. Traditionally, law enforcement officers personally observe the local red light violation and testify, when noticed, in traffic court. Camera-generated tickets as traffic enforcement devices have become the rage. These devices are designed to snapshot a vehicle as it enters an intersection after the light has turned red. what individual states are doing
Major cities across the land use these devices. Several states have had mixed results with the effort. In New Jersey, for example, it was reported recently that about 50% of the pictures snapped at intersections don’t actually result in summons. After a required review by local police, some were not filed because diagnostic testing performed by the manufacturer caused the flash to go off as the driver drove through the intersection, triggering a “flash” as the camera was being reset. Others were thrown out because of the failure to comply
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[Some] 159 lives were saved in a four-year period in 14 of America’s largest cities because of these devices. - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
with prerequisites for the timing of yellow lights that would allow motorists time to safely brake to a stop. Despite that, millions of dollars have been collected by towns using the device, arguably a play to raise revenue for cash-strapped towns. In Los Angeles, for example, the fines used to be voluntary. City officials noted a couple of years ago that there wasn’t any real enforcement because courts found the cases difficult to prove—the person receiving the ticket often wasn’t the person driving the car when the photo was snapped. Hence, courts deemed the photographed violations unenforceable because there wasn’t a live witness to testify against the alleged offender. L.A. and several other California cities dropped their red light camera programs entirely. Houston also banished the cameras. According to Gary Biller, president of the National Motorists Association, at least 15 states have banned the red light camera program, mostly on constitutional grounds. Several others have limited the use of camera enforcement. Florida courts, for example, consistently affirm the constitutionality of the “Mark Wandall Safety Act,” continually upholding the rights of cities to use the 58 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
devices along with the processes they follow to issue violations. The act, enacted in 2010 to create uniform standards for the use of cameras as traffic enforcement devices, was named after Wandall, killed by a red-light runner in 2003. Florida courts describe the law as a safety measure and a legitimate use of police powers. Collectively, the decisions affirm: »» Ticket issuance to the owner of the car—not the driver »» Ticketed owners have the opportunity to challenge the ticket »» Images of a car running a red light, showing the date, time, location and other specifics of the incident are admissible, self-authenticating evidence. the promotion of safety
The promotion of safety on the roadways is crucial. According to an ABC News report, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) contends that 159 lives were saved in a four-year period in 14 of America’s largest cities because of these devices. Further, the study contended that 815 lives could’ve been saved if all 99 of the country’s largest cities had the
devices installed. However, the trend to abandon the controversial cameras may extend nationwide. Would more harm occur if motorists stop short because of camera fear, causing a rear-end collision? What about rolling right turns, another source of red light camera activity? adjustments = safer roadways?
Clearly, strong support of the law enforcement community, combating red-light running is commendable. Every life saved from injury or death is essential to public justice. The balance of safety versus due process to the red light driver is a matter that will continue to be debated. Adjustments, including increasing the yellow-light duration at problem intersections by one second, could be vital. Loma Linda, Calif., did that and realized an immediate and lasting 92% reduction in red light offenses. Consideration of empirical data, not anecdotal comments on whether red light cameras effectively decrease accidents, is necessary. Automated traffic control enforcement should be about safety, not revenue. Cameras should not be used to create new “speed traps.”
Photo courtesy of Boron Extrication
The â€˜IMPACTâ€™ of Side Airbags How the past and present of car safety will affect the future by Peter Leiss
roviding protection for vehicle occupants in side impact collisions presents a challenge to vehicle engineers. Compared with frontal impacts, there is a relatively shallow crumple zone for deformation between the occupants and the closest vehicle side-structure. A stiff side and roof structure combine to protect the occupant from injury by maintaining survival space, and dissipating the force of the collision
away from the occupant. Safety cage designs, such as those used by Volvo, Mercedes, and Subaru for decades, are at the forefront of side impact occupant protection. In addition to energy-absorbing side structures, the side impact airbag has proven to be one of the most effective methods of improving vehicle crashworthiness in side impact collisions. Widespread implementation of side impact airbags began in the 1990s
and was not limited exclusively to luxury manufacturers; for example, a combination head/torso seat mounted side airbag was introduced as standard equipment on the 1999 Hyundai Sonata. In 2012, more than 95% of passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. were equipped with side impact airbags as standard equipment. There are three distinct designs of side impact airbags: seat- or door-mounted thorax bag, seat-mounted combination
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According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), about one-third of vehicular deaths occur in side impacts.
Photo courtesy of Boron Extrication
head and thorax bag, and the roof rail mounted side airbag inflatable curtain. As their name implies, these bags are designed to protect different regions of the occupant’s body. Many cars now offer both inflatable curtains and pelvic bags to provide occupant protection from head to hip in side impacts. Curtain airbags have also been proven to be effective in mitigating the risk of partial and complete ejections. federal standard for side impact crashworthiness
Since 1973, side impact test procedures and performance targets have been dictated by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 214 (FMVSS 214). For more than 20 years, compliance with the standard was confirmed through a static test of the door and structure by measuring the load and deformation to the system with a hydraulic ram, similar to what is pictured below. Starting in 1994, dynamic testing with a Moving Deformable Barrier (MDB) was phased into fleet certification requirements.
“bumper” profile height of 13 to 21 inches; several inches lower than a typical truck or SUV bumper. The lower bumper height increases the likelihood that collision forces will be applied to the relatively strong rocker panel structure of the struck vehicle, potentially misrepresenting the likelihood of devastating injuries caused by cabin intrusion of higher truck/ SUV bumpers. In 2009, FMVSS 214 was changed to include: 1) An oblique angle pole impact, 2) New Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATD or crash test dummies) with upgraded bio-fidelity in side impacts, 3) New injury metrics, including Head Injury Criteria (HIC) for the first time. The new 214 is currently being phased into the fleet certification requirements, with full implementation in the 2015 model year. A manufacturer can also test their vehicle using the same setup, but at a higher MDB velocity (62 kph versus 54 kph) to attain a star rating. These star ratings are used to help customers compare the crashworthiness of different vehicles under the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). iihs side impact crash test
Since its inception, the ability of the MDB to relate to real-world collisions has been subject to debate due to its 60 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 2
In response to its own research, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit organization that operates independently of the auto manufacturers and the federal government, devised a side impact test and ratings criteria, and began using it in the evaluation of vehicles in 2003. The IIHS test regimen differs from the FMVSS 214 in the test speed, impact angle, and MDB design. The IIHS MDB design was modeled to simulate a light truck or SUV; the “bumper” profile is 4 inches higher off the ground, the “face” of the MDB is 12 inches taller, the MDB replaceable “face” is stiffer, and the MDB weighs an additional 300 pounds as compared to the NHTSA MDB used in certification testing. The IIHS rates each vehicle’s performance in their side impact testing based on injury criteria to the ATD and the performance of the vehicle’s structure as measured by the intrusion profile.
FIGHTING FOR INJURY PREVENTION AND JUSTICE PRESERVATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY. The Civil Justice Foundation is a national charitable organization dedicated to safeguarding justice for all Americans by strengthening the alliance between trial attorneys and consumer advocacy groups. It is the only national foundation devoted solely to protecting the individual rights, health and well-being of the injured â€” providing small but significant grants to the tireless organizations fighting for injury prevention and justice preservation across the country.
How Do We Do It? The Civil Justice Foundation is proud to award grants to grassroots organizations that are at the forefront of the consumer advocacy movement â€” particularly to groups that have difficulty securing traditional funding because they are newly organized and/or address a controversial issue. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million to more than 110 of these groups.
Take the time, do the work to ensure a great intâ€™l vacation by Jamie Goldstein
Traveling overseas should be a memorable experience, however, being unprepared can lead to unexpected delays, mishaps and unnecessary dangers. Before traveling overseas, consider these helpful traveling tips for your trip. warnings
When considering where to travel, start by searching the U.S. Department of Stateâ€™s Bureau of Consular Affairs travel website for current travel warnings. This will allow you to determine if the U.S. government has issued any warnings about the region you are visiting. If there is a warning, it will also allow you to assess the potential danger level and determine if you would still like to make travel arrangements. Travel warnings change often so even after finalizing your plans, be sure to check back frequently. Additionally, warnings are often removed, so a location on the list today may not be there tomorrow. Finally, you should check for a U.S. Embassy located at your travel destination and keep
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the contact information on hand while traveling should you need it. make sure to have your passport
You will need a valid passport while traveling abroad. Because processing passports can take months, it is advised that you apply for a passport as far in advance as possible to avoid paying rush fees. If you already have a passport, check the expiration date to make sure it is valid during your travel dates. Be aware that many countries require your passport remain valid for a certain time period beyond your travel dates, so be sure to inquire about this to avoid being turned away while trying to enter your destination country. research & plan
You must actually research and plan your vacation. You will want to research where the safest areas are to stay, what places to avoid and other general safety precautions about the area. Most international and local places have areas to avoid and others that are fine to visit, so no issues will arise if you
do not leave your common sense at home. Many countries have petty theft problems, so leaving valuables at home or out of sight prevents it. For people renting cars, it is often advised to avoid looking like you are a tourist. Try to keep luggage out of sight and keep a local newspaper displayed in the vehicle. Traveling overseas has become much more accessible today than in years past. The wealth of knowledge available between the Internet and travel books will certainly allow you to plan accordingly, as long as you allow plenty of time to research. Websites, such as Tripadvisor.com, have information on hotels, restaurants, tours and much more. These sites even offer forums for specific destinations where you can ask prior travelers and local people any questions you have about visiting. Before you leave, remember to provide a copy of your travel itinerary to someone at home, along with credit card information and passport information, in case any of these are lost while on vacation. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the adventure.
When It Comes to Cars, Is Bigger Better? by Bret Hanna
Conventional wisdom concerning passenger vehicles seems to suggest that bigger is better and safer. But is it true? Statistics tend to indicate so. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) chart below, the only category of vehicles with a higher fatality rate than small cars is the small pickup category, because of the tendency of pickups to rollover more easily. The data also reveals that the safest vehicles are very large sedans, which tend to be heavier and better equipped with safety features. With high gas prices now the norm, many people are interested in purchasing smaller vehicles that get better gas mileage. But the question is whether such purchases can be made wisely. The answer is yes, they can. The key to making a wise purchase is being well informed. When it comes to researching a vehicle purchase, many people immediately look to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) crash test “star” ratings or the IIHS ratings of “good” and so on to evaluate how safe a purchase may be. The ratings can be found at sites such as www.iihs.org and www.safercar.gov, but it is important to look beyond the simple category ratings for a particular vehicle. The ratings offer good guidance for safety comparisons between vehicles in the same size category, but not across different size categories. For example, if you are driving a small car that has a five-star safety rating and you are in an accident with a large sedan that has a “good” rating, you are more likely to
be seriously injured in that accident than the driver of the other vehicle. Since the rating systems are not the end-all-be-all, it is important to look beyond them when making a decision on what vehicle to purchase. s a f e t y f e at u r e s t o l o o k f o r :
Stability Control Side-Impact Airbags Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Rear Parking Sensors Navigation System Cargo Netting or Cargo Cage Good Tires
You may not be able to find or afford a vehicle with all of these features, but the more of them you can get in a vehicle, the better. Vehicle purchases are big-ticket items and the car-shopping experience can be very stressful and time consuming. But, if you spend the time doing research in advance, you will make a better decision and the entire process will go more smoothly.
d r i v e r d e at h s p e r m i l l i o n r e g i s t e r e d pa s s e n g e r v e h i c l e s o n e t o t h r e e y e a r s o l d , 2007. vehicle size
Car — Small
Car — Midsize
Car — Large
Car — Very Large
Pickup — Small
Pickup — Midsize
Pickup — Very Large
SUV — Small
SUV — Midsize
SUV — Large
SUV — Very Large
47 Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 63
Dos & Don’ts
TRAVELING ALONE by Brittany Monbarren
Always know your surroundings.
Know how to defend yourself.
Park far away from your hotel. Carry tons of cash.
Stay in a room at the end of the hall.
Know how to get where you’re going.
Loiter. Always keep moving.
Stash your valuables most hotels have a safe in the room.
Ask security to accompany you to your room at any time.
Don’t Choose your lodging carefully.
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Wait until you hit town to find a nice place to stay.
SETTLEMENT PLANNING: CLIENT ADVOCACY BEYOND THE COURTROOM by Christina Hartke Lawsuits, while intended to bring resolution to profound events, can be stressful for individuals and families. By transitioning their clients to an experienced settlement planning firm, attorneys can sustain the sense of client advocacy that they cultivated during litigation. Milestone Consulting, LLC (“Milestone”) is an experienced, next generation settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s mission is three-fold: to advise attorneys on the complexities of post-settlement issues, to guide plaintiffs through the settlement planning process, and to advocate for consumer protection, disclosure, and transparency in the settlement planning industry. Our consultants are licensed in all 50 states to provide guidance on post-settlement matters, including Medicare Set-asides, special needs trusts, structured settlements and government benefits planning. Milestone’s services are offered on a contingency basis, so there is never a cost to our clients. In addition to our work with plaintiffs and trial attorneys, we support a number of civil justice organizations, including The Injury Board, the American Association for Justice, the Civil Justice Foundation, and statewide organizations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island. These organizations embody the same ideals that Milestone strives to achieve and we are proud to provide them with our continued support.
Dissipation of Funds Claimants who accept lump sums find the funds are quickly spent on: »» Taxes and fees »» Healthcare costs »» Lending or giving money to family and friends »» Volatile investments »» Reckless spending Settlement Planning Settlement planning requires a holistic look at the client’s personal and financial situations. It answers questions such as: “Will my client’s government benefits be affected if they take a lump sum payment?” “How can my client set up a Special Needs Trust?” “Should my client invest his/her recovery, or keep a portion of it for immediate expenses?” “Does my client need a Medicare Set-Aside account? How should they go about setting this up?” Settlement planning is an empowering process; by taking ownership over their plan, the client experiences a greater sense of overall satisfaction with the case as a whole.
How to Choose a Settlement Planner Referrals: Tap into your contacts to see who has worked with a particular settlement planning firm. Who has the best track record? Who makes the process as easy as possible for the attorney and the client? Unbiased plan development: The settlement planning firm should not be tied to any particular financial company. This ensures that a comprehensive plan will be developed, which encompasses the best of what’s available from all of the relevant financial companies. Contingency-based payment: A settlement planner should not cost you or your client money. Settlement planners typically receive commissions from the financial companies with whom they implement the settlement plan. These companies can include trust companies, money managers, and insurance companies. Knowledge and network: Select a settlement planning firm that has a deep and broad knowledge base, along with access to industry experts who specialize in the areas affecting settlement (i.e. Estate Attorneys, Medicare Set-Aside allocation professionals, etc.) A client-focused approach: A good settlement planner will go above and beyond to meet your client’s needs for the life of the settlement plan.
i n l i f e , t h e r e c o m e s a t i m e to m ov e f o rwa r d to t h e n e x t m i l e s to n e .
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Milestone Consulting, LLC is a national settlement planning
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and asset preservation in years to come.
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