Posts Tagged ‘ child safety ’

Don’t Use Sunscreen Spray on Your Kids!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Those sunscreen sprays may be handy, but could they be dangerous for your kids? That’s the concern behind an ongoing Food and Drug Administration investigation, which is looking into whether inhaling the spray ingredients could be harmful to your health.

And that’s why Consumer Reports is now recommending that you don’t use sunscreen spray on the kids, until the investigation is complete. (And the American Academy of Dermatology also raises concerns.) “We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children,” says Consumer Reports. “We have also removed one sunscreen spray — Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 — from the group of recommended sunscreens in our sunscreen Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children.”

Another concern with sunscreen spray cited by the the American Academy of Dermatology is that it’s harder to tell if you’ve put on enough when you’re spraying it, so you may be more likely to underapply.

If you just stocked up on sunscreen spray, you don’t have to toss it out. You can safely apply it by spraying it into your own hand, away from your child, and then slather it on with your hands.

Not sure if you’re keeping your kids covered? Test your sun safety savvy. 

 

How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby
How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby
How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby

Image: Woman and sunscreen by racorn/Shutterstock.com

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Father Charged with Murder in Toddler’s Death in a Hot Car

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

A Georgia man whose 22-month-old son died after allegedly having been accidentally left too long in a hot car has been charged with murder after police discovered evidence that he may have knowingly left the child strapped in his seat for hours on a day when the temperature topped out at 92 degrees.  Justin Ross Harris, the arrest warrant alleges, strapped his son Cooper into his rear-facing car seat after they ate breakfast at a fast food restaurant.

Harris allegedly then drove to work at a Home Depot corporate office about a half-mile away, leaving Cooper in the car until his lunch break, at which point he reportedly visited the car to put something in the front seat.  Just after 4 pm, he returned to the car and left work.  Moments later, he pulled into a shopping center parking lot and called for help with Cooper, who had been in the car for seven hours by that point.  The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

The story was first reported as an accidental death–and a horrifying cautionary tale for harried parents who read accounts that Harris had simply forgotten to drop Cooper off at day care.  But further investigation led to the felony murder and child cruelty charges, as CNN.com reports:

“Within moments of the first responders getting to the scene and doing their job and questions began to be asked about the moments that led up to their arrival at the scene, some of those answers were not making sense to the first responders,” [Sgt. Dana] Pierce [of the Cobb County police] said.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 34 years. What I know about this case shocks my conscience as a police officer, a father and a grandfather.”

Last week, Harris pleaded not guilty to felony murder and child cruelty charges. He’s being held without bond at the Cobb County Jail and is scheduled to appear before a county judge July 3.

Cooper’s mother, Leanna Harris, told CNN last week that she’s been advised not to discuss the case with the media.

“We have been in communication with the mother throughout the investigation. At this time, I’m not at liberty to discuss her involvement. That’s a part of the case our detectives are working on,” Pierce said.

Cobb County Medical Operations Manager Mike Gerhard confirmed that the autopsy of the child is complete, but the boy’s manner of death has not been released.

Forty-three children died from being left too long in hot cars in 2013, Parents magazine reports, and children are at greater risk than adults of overheating in a car because internal cooling systems–chiefly through sweat–are not as quick to react as adults’.

Click here to read 7 tips for ensuring you never forget your child in a hot car, including practicing extra vigilance when you are starting a new routine, and adopting a “Look Before You Lock” habit whenever you leave your car.  The Parents report also shares how quickly temperatures can rise inside a closed vehicle even on a day when the weather is relatively mild:

This is how quickly the temperature inside a vehicle rises on a 70°F day, based on research by Jan Null, department of earth and climate sciences, San Francisco State University. Null also found that keeping the windows open slightly had little effect and that car interiors with darker colors heat up faster.

After 10 minutes = 89°F

After 20 minutes = 99°F

After 30 minutes = 104°F

After 60 minutes = 113°F

After 2 hours = 120°F

Image: Car door, via Shutterstock

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New Car Seat Safety Standards Would Require Side-Impact Protection

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Car seat manufacturers may soon have to protect children from injury or death in a side-impact collision if new government regulations are accepted.  Side-impact crashes claim at least five kids’ lives each year and injure more than 60.

The new set of safety standards were proposed Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and they would require that car seats meant for children weighing up to 40 pounds pass a first-of-its-kind side-impact collision test that will hopefully reduce the force of impact on the head and chest.

In the test, a vehicle traveling 30 miles an hour will strike the side of a small passenger vehicle that is traveling 15 miles an hour.  The scenario, known as a “T-Bone” collision, is a common one at the scenes of side-impact accidents–the Associated Press reports that research finds most side-impact crashes happen when one car is stopped at or moving slowly through an intersection when another car, which is traveling at a higher speed, hits it as it drives on the cross street.

The new safety test will be conducted with the car seats mounted to special sleds rather than secured in actual cars, officials said, because the goal is to learn the safety of the seats, not of the cars the seats are placed in. Another innovation is that the NHTSA hopes to subject a new crash test dummy to the simulation, meant to resemble a 3-year-old child.  A dummy resembling a 12-month-old baby is already approved by the agency and is set to be included in the tests. Even though the majority of car seats already meet mandatory safety standards to guard against front-impact collisions, says David Friedman, deputy administrator of NHTSA, the tests will help determine more ways car seats can protect the head and torso against side-impact collisions. Safety 1st will also “continue to work with vehicle manufactures to advance seat-t0-seat compatibility and car-seat installation and safety,” says Julie Vallese, a consumer safety expert.

The announcement of the new standards is only the first step toward its acceptance and implementation.  The first step is a 90-day period during which the public has a chance to comment on the proposal on www.regulations.gov (follow the site directions for commenting).  After that, the agency will review the proposal in light of the comments, making any adjustments it deems necessary–a process that can take months or even years, though the NHTSA says it hopes to move more quickly than that.  Finally, once the agency’s regulations are final, car seat manufacturers will have three years to implement the new rules and meet the new standards. Some manufacturers also anticipate that “stronger, energy-absorbing materials will be added to the car seat,” says Allana Pinkerton, a global safety expert for DIONO, which will contribute greatly to “reducing injuries and death” and protecting kids on the road.

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How To Install A Car Seat
How To Install A Car Seat
How To Install A Car Seat

Updated 1/23: We replaced the image of the child in a car seat on this post after several readers pointed out that the previous image showed a child wearing winter coat. Bulky coats should be removed before a child is strapped into a car seat.

Image: Boy in a car seat, via Shutterstock

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Highchair-Related Injuries Spike; 9,400 Kids Hurt Each Year

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

More than 9,400 children are treated each year in U.S. emergency rooms after suffering injuries in their highchairs, most often from falling out of poorly secured chairs, according to a new study published by the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The numbers represent a significant rise in the number of highchair-related injuries–a 22 percent jump between the years 2003 and 2010.  More from US News:

Despite the fact that millions of defective highchairs have been recalled in recent years, researchers at the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy found that the number of children under the age of 3 who were treated in emergency departments between 2003 and 2010 increased by 22 percent. On average, one child each hour was treated for such an injury, according to the study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

“Families may not think about the dangers associated with the use of high chairs,” said Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research, in a statement. “High chairs are typically used in kitchens and dining areas, so when a child falls from the elevated height of the high chair, he is often falling head first onto a hard surface such as tile or wood flooring with considerable force.

Most often, the children seen were treated for closed head injuries, which include concussions and internal head injuries. More than one-third of the children injured (37 percent) were treated for closed head injuries.

Not only were closed head injuries the most common injury associated with highchairs, but they were also the type that saw the greatest increase between 2003 and 2010 – up nearly 90 percent, from 2,558 in 2003 to 4,789 in 2010.

Additionally, 33 percent were treated for bumps and bruises, and 19 percent were treated for cuts associated with falls from highchairs. Overall, 93 percent of the injuries involved a fall from a highchair or booster seat.

When information was available for what children were doing just before a fall from a highchair or booster seat, two-thirds of them were climbing or standing in the chair, which suggests that the chair’s safety restraints were either not being used or were ineffective.

Parents are urged to make sure their children are properly strapped into their high chairs and booster seats. If you are concerned about the safety of your highchairs, check the Parents.com Recall Finder, sign up for our Recall Alerts email, or check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website to see whether your model has been recalled.

Watch this video for more tips on keeping your baby safe in his high chair:

Prevent High Chair Injuries: How to Keep Your Child Safe
Prevent High Chair Injuries: How to Keep Your Child Safe
Prevent High Chair Injuries: How to Keep Your Child Safe

 

Plus: Find a broad selection of high chairs at Shop Parents.

Image: Baby in highchair, via Shutterstock

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Digital Child Decoy Lures Sexual Predators

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

A computer-generated digital decoy of a girl its developers call “Sweetie” has successfully lured thousands of would-be predators into asking her to perform sex acts online.  Around 250 Americans were among the 1,000 who the children’s rights group Terre des Hommes were able to identify and pass along to Interpol for possible prosecution.  The group says thousands more, who were untraceable, made attempts to solicit sexual behaviors from “Sweetie.”  More from NBC News:

Overall, almost 20,000 people made approaches to the virtual girl — who was modeled on a 10-year-old — but the charity was unable to track them all down.

“The child predators doing this now feel that the law doesn’t apply to them,” said Hans Guyt, director of campaigns at Terre des Hommes Netherlands. “The Internet is free, but not lawless.”

He added that real children were often forced into remote commercial child sexual exploitation — or “webcam child sex tourism” — by adults or extreme poverty.

“Sometimes they have to testify against their own family, which is almost an impossible thing to do for a child,” Guyt added. “Once a child has become a victim of sexual abuse, rehabilitation can take many years. It is along, painful, and labor-intensive process for children to overcome the trauma.”

Using methods similar to Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” the researchers worked from a building in Amsterdam during the summer. “Sweetie” was placed in public Internet chat rooms and the charity’s investigators waited for her to be approached.

“Sweetie” was deluged with requests for sexual webcam performances and while the would-be predators interacted with the virtual girl, researchers gathered information about their identities.

Image: “Sweetie,” via http://www.terredeshommes.org

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