A recent trip to “Safe Kids Day” in Washington, D.C., opened my eyes to how persistent some children’s safety problems are. As the editor in chief of Parents and a board member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit devoted to preventing unintentional injury, I thought I knew a thing or three about children’s safety, but I learned a few new things visiting the exhibits and talking to the educators at this Capitol-Hill event designed to raise awareness among members of Congress and their staff:
2. If your smoke alarm is wired into your electrical system or home alarm system, you may not be fretting about changing the batteries, but you should replace the device every 10 years (which means our family is overdue!)
3. Despite warnings to parents, kids continue to swallow button batteries, which can cause devastating internal injury. A bill introduced earlier this summer would call on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make battery compartments more child-resistant, among other things.
Fortunately, we have some friends watching out for us in D.C.–but they can’t work magic overnight. Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky stopped by Safe Kids Day to check out the safe sleep display. An infant and toddler safety act she introduced back in 2001 (!) was part of an effort that resulted in the ban on drop-side cribs that took effect last year. And Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a mother of two young boys, has her own initiatives under way, with a focus on safe food, safe water, and safe toys. “I look at issues in a children-first way,” she says. But she can’t be the only one and that’s where we come in. “Women need to get off the sidelines and understand their voice needs to be heard,” Gillibrand told me. After a half-hour of wide-ranging discussion of children’s safety with Safe Kids President and CEO Kate Carr and me, her parting words were a warning: “If most women realized their legislators could care less about the issues we have discussed today they’d be amazed.” That’s why it’s up to all of us to take action on a personal level.
For more on what you can do at home and in your community to ensure a safer world for our kids, visit Safe Kids Worldwide.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion with the new Concussion Recognition and Response app ($3.99) from Safe Kids USA. Using information from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), two experts, Gerard A. Gioia, Ph.D., and Jason Mihalik, Ph.D., created the app to help parents and coaches in the event a child experiences a home- or sports-related injury.
In just a few minutes, complete a checklist to determine if symptoms are serious enough for immediate medical attention. Parents can also record a child’s health information (name, age, gender, sport played), take photos of the injury, and share all the information via email with health care professionals for proper treatment and follow-up. Plus, the app offers tips on how a child can safely return to regular sports or exercise routines after an injury.
One in five children meets criteria for a mental disorder across their lifetime, national U.S. study shows: Mental disorders in children are often difficult to identify due to the myriad of changes that occur during the normal course of maturation. For the first time, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have reported on the prevalence data on a broad range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, which show that approximately one in five children in the U.S. meet the criteria for a mental disorder severe enough to disrupt their daily lives. [Science Daily]
AAP updates guidance to help families make positive media choices: Today, with the ubiquitous nature of media in multiple formats, the definition of media use has been expanded, and kids are now spending more than 7 hours per day on average using televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices for entertainment. The increasing availability of media, including access to inappropriate content that is not easily supervised, creates an urgent need for parents, pediatricians and educators to understand the various ways that media use affects children and teens. [Medical News Today]
Safe Kids USA launches new national initiative to reduce sports injuries in kids: Safe Kids USA has announced the launch of a new educational effort aimed at helping parents, coaches and athletes reduce the more than 3.5 million injuries that occur in youth sports every year in the United States.[i] The nationwide initiative is the latest focus area for Safe Kids USA and its 600 coalitions, which also works to prevent unintentional childhood injury in other areas including drowning, car accidents and poison prevention. [Medical News Today]
Nurses critical in assuring health needs of LGBTIQ youth: Five American teenagers, all bullied because they were gay, have committed suicide over the past few weeks. The deaths have caused a media storm and raised a critical question: Did the social or healthcare system fail these adolescents? “Absolutely,” says Concordia University Professor Deborah Dysart-Gale. “Bullying and such resulting suicides are avoidable. Healthcare workers have tools that can help queer teens – no one needs to die because of their sexual orientation.” [Medical News Today]