Posts Tagged ‘ water safety ’

Important Safety Lessons From “Safe Kids Day”

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Dana Points

This post is written by Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents

Q: Who is responsible for our kids’ safety?
A: We all are!

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:

1. More child pedestrians are injured in September than in any other month–and injuries to older kids are on the rise, probably because they are distracted by their mobile devices.

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.

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Drown-Proof Your Child

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Last summer, one of our advisors, pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., shared a very sad story with us: One of her patients, 4-year-old Colin, had drowned a few years earlier in a community pool in their hometown of Austin, Texas–with family and friends all around. Colin’s parents have since founded Colin’s Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about water safety and drowning prevention, and their work has provided swim lessons for children who need but can’t afford them, and educates the public about what it takes to prevent drowning.

Dr. Brown wrote about Colin, the organization, and everything we as parents should be doing to keep our children safe around the water in our August issue. Just as the issue arrived in our offices, tragedy struck a family in the town next to mine: Two brothers, ages 3 and 5, left their house, climbed their next-door-neighbor’s fence, and drowned in the neighbor’s pool.

This makes me think about a product called Safety Turtle. It’s a wristband (with a turtle’s face) that a young child wears whenever he’s not supposed to be around water. You have to lock it on your child (literally, with a key) so that it can’t come off. Should the wristband become immersed in water, an alarm on the wireless base unit sounds, and doesn’t stop until you reset it. Dr. Brown asked Jan Emler, the founder of a swim school in Austin, for her thoughts on a product like Safety Turtle. She said, “Since the majority of preschool drowning deaths occur in backyard pools, we are in favor of an alarm system that stays with the child. As long as supervising adults make certain the child is wearing the wristband and properly power the base station, this alarm system can be an effective weapon in the arsenal used to fight childhood drowning. It’s one more layer of protection–along with uninterrupted adult, visual supervision; formal swim lessons; and four-sided fencing.” Safety Turtle works best in fresh water, but there are ways to use it in salt water, explained here.

I can’t help but think of those two little boys, whose lives could have been saved if they’d been wearing something like this.

Safety Turtle, $280.

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Pool Safely Campaign, from the Consumer Product Safety Comission

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

cpsc-pool safelyBefore your child takes a dip in a backyard or public pool, take precautions to prevent drownings or any water injuries.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has relaunched the second  year of their “Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives” campaign, a national safety education effort that helps kids stay safe in swimming pools and spas.

According to CPSC.gov, drownings are the highest reasons for child deaths between ages 1-4, and more incidents related to drownings and near-drownings have been increasing through the years.  In the first five months of 2011, the media has already reported 55 drownings and 63 near-drowning incidents.

The CPSC also advises that parents always be alert and practice water safety skills, that kids wear bright-colored clothes, and that appropriate equipment be used for pools and spas (e.g. sensors, floaters, and drain covers).  Parents can also get the latest information about recalled pool and spa drain covers  through the Toy and Product Recall Finder on our site.

Visit PoolSafely.gov to read pool and spa safety tips, share stories, and get other water safety resources.

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