How to Keep your Children Protected from Heatstroke

Riding in the car puts many babies right to sleep which makes it easy to forget they are in there. It also can create the idea to leave the sleeping child in the car while you run into the store quickly. However, leaving a child in the car even in cooler temperatures can lead to heatstroke or even death.

A car can heat up 19 degrees within 10 minutes and cracking a window does not help. Young children are most at risk since their bodies heat up faster than an adult’s. Heatstroke is entirely preventable by never leaving a child alone in the car.

To prevent heatstroke emergencies, remember to ACT:

  1. Avoid heatstroke injury or death by never leaving your child alone in the car. Also remember to keep keys and key fobs out of reach of children and lock your doors at all times.
  2. Create reminders that your child is in the car by placing your purse, briefcase or an item needed for your final destination by your child.
  3. Take action! If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1. Emergency responders are trained for this situation. Your one call could be the reason a child lives.

Celebrating Safe Kids Week

Safe Kids Larimer County Celebrates Safe Kids Week with Resources to Help Parents Protect Kids from Preventable Injuries

Safety Advocates Unite to Remind Busy Parents to Take Time to Focus on Simple Steps to Keep Kids Safe at Home, at Play, and on the Way

In honor of Safe Kids Week (May 8-14), Safe Kids Larimer County, based at UCHealth, is providing tips, resources, and activities to educate parents and caregivers about simple ways to keep their kids safe from a range of preventable injuries.

At a time when parents are focused on many priorities at once, Safe Kids Week is a national celebration dedicated to celebrating kids, raising awareness about child injury prevention, and inspiring parents to take the time to focus on proven and practical tips to keep their kids safe. 

Preventable injuries are the number one cause of death of children in the United States, and millions more are injured in ways that can affect them for a lifetime.

“Safe Kids Week is a wonderful opportunity for Larimer County residents to celebrate kids, learn about how to keep them safe and, ultimately, save lives,” says Alison Weston, Safe Kids Coordinator. “This is a week where we can all take just a little bit of time out of our busy schedules to focus on a few simple steps that can make a big difference in the safety of our children.”  

To support parents and caregivers, Safe Kids Larimer County is offering helpful resources, including:

  • Parent’s Guide to Child Safety – a comprehensive 24-page guide with expert advice and easy-to-follow tips to help families reduce risks, prevent injuries and keep kids safe at home, at play and on the road. Available in English and Spanish.
  • Family Safety Activity Book – a fun booklet that includes a maze, word search, coloring pages, puzzles, and other exciting games to keep you and your kids ages 4-8 entertained and safe. Available in English and Spanish.
  • Home Safety Graphic – an interactive graphic that takes parents room by room to show useful tips on how to keep their kids safe no matter where they live.

Medication Safety for Children

Drug Take Back Day is this Saturday (4/30). Safely getting rid of unneeded medications is a great start to keeping children and teens from getting into them.

Medicine is the leading cause of poisoning in children. In 2017, nearly 52,000 children were seen in the Emergency Room for medicine poisoning. This is why it is extremely important to keep your children away from medicine. Keep this in mind when childproofing your home. Here are a few tips on how to keep your medicine safe from children.

  1. Get rid of unneeded medications. Visit one of the law enforcement agencies who are participating in the Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 30th or find a permanent drop off location here.
  2. Store medicine up and away and out of site from children. Children are naturally curious and ready to explore, especially places within their reach. Keeping medicine/vitamins at or above counter height will prevent children from reaching it – this includes medicine you use every day.
  3. Consider common places where medicine is kept. Many people tend to keep medicine in their purses or on the counter. Consider hanging bags on a high shelf or putting medications away when children come to visit.
  4. Understand which products are harmful to children. Many common products such as eye drops, diaper cream, and vitamins are harmful to children. Store these items as you would over-the-counter or prescription medicine.
  5. Save the Poison Help number to your phone and have it visible at home: 1-800-222-1222. Poison control specialists are available 24 hours a day and provide free medical advice for poison emergencies.
  6. Share medicine safety information with family and friends. Share this information with babysitters, grandparents, and other family members to keep medicine out of reach and out of site from children to prevent medicine poisoning. Also make sure they know the Poison Help number!

Winter Sports Safety

It’s finally time for the winter sport we all love, but there are a few safety precautions to take before hitting the slopes, ice, or snowy hills with your loved ones. Below you will find each winter sport divided with safety precautions you should take:

Ice Skating

Our natural instinct when falling is to put our arms out to catch our fall but when we land on ice. However, since ice is a frictionless surface, our arms slide out from under us and we hit our head. Due to this, it is best to use wrist pads to help create a grip on the ice to minimize face/head injuries. Another important way to stay safe on the ice is to wear a helmet. More than 10,000 children each year are treated in the Emergency Room due to ice skating injuries.

Avoid skating on a pond for ultimate safety, however, if skating on a pond is necessary, be sure to check the thickness of the ice yourself prior to sending kids out on it. Always supervise kids when ice skating, especially on a pond.

Skiing/Snowboarding

When it’s finally time to hit the slopes with the family, make sure to bring a helmet that is specifically designed for his/her sport. Bicycle helmets do not provide enough protection. If your child is skiing, make sure their safety bindings are checked yearly for proper function and invest in lessons if they’ve never skied before.

Protective goggles should be worn to protect their eyes for both sports as well as proper gloves. If your child is snowboarding, their gloves should have built-in wrist guards to prevent wrist injuries when falling. The snow may look soft, but the landing is not!

Sledding

Protecting your head while sledding is often overlooked but crucial to injury prevention for children. A winter sports helmet is best; however, a bike helmet is better than no helmet. Another way to stay safe sledding is to sled during the day when you can see best to make sure there are no bumps, rocks, or poles blocking your path. If your child is 5 or under they should sled with an adult. All children should sled feet first, facing forward.

A few other ways to stay safe sledding include: walking up the side of the hill when done and leaving the middle open for active sledders. The last sledding safety tip is to ride one person at a time and only one person per sled (except for adults riding with a child).

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is an exhilarating sport, but can be very dangerous for children if you do not take safety precautions. It is recommended that children under the age of 6 not ride on a snowmobile and nobody under the age of 16 should drive one. Both kids and adults should wear helmets and goggles (be a good role model!)

If out in the backcountry (not on a group tour) it is to always safest to travel in groups and make sure others know where you are headed, and yield to those with the right of way.

*In Case of Emergency*

Kids are at a greater risk for frostbite than adults are, so make sure they are dressed warmly. Frostnip is the early sign of frostbite and includes red, numb or tingly skin. If frostbite occurs, remove all wet clothing from the child and place it in warm (not hot) water until they can feel sensation again. Frostbite occurs mostly in fingers, toes, ears, nose, and cheeks. Don’t be caught off guard and dress your children in multiple layers!

Stay safe and have fun!

For more information visit kidshealth.org

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As we begin to utilize items to keep us warm this winter, please check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector to make sure it is working properly. It is always advised to have a battery-powered CO alarm, and this can help to lower the chance of casualties or accidents. Each year 430 people die in the U.S. as a result of accidental CO poisoning, and the truth is that many of these accidents could have been prevented.

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, poisonous and tasteless gas, which is why it is so harmful. CO is typically found in furnaces, vehicles, stoves, gas rangers, generators and from burning wood or charcoal. The CO from these items can build up in rooms or spaces without enough ventilation, leading to those in these areas at risk for poisoning. Aside from the risks or harms of CO, the positive side is that this is preventable. There are both DO’s and DON’T’s when it comes to preventing CO exposure, and I will give you some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

DO’s:

  • Install a battery-powered CO detector in your home. If you already have CO detectors, be sure to check that the battery is still working, and if not be sure to change them.
  • Have a qualified technician check you water heater, heating system, and any gas, coal, or oil burning appliances. This should be done every year to ensure that they are functioning correctly and are not at risk for malfunctioning.
  • If your CO detector makes any sort of noise, immediately exit your home and call 911. If there was a potential exposure make sure that you and others are examined by medical professionals, especially if you are experiencing light-headedness, dizziness, or nausea.

DON’T’s:

  • Use or burn anything on a stove or fireplace that doesn’t have proper ventilation, as this can cause a build-up of CO.
  • Heat your house with a gas oven, as this can cause a high production of CO.
  • Run cars or trucks inside a garage that is attached to your living spaces, even if you have doors or windows open.
  • Use a camp stove, generator or charcoal grill in or outside of your home less than 20 feet away from doors, vents or windows.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is preventable, but you have to be sure to take the time to make sure that your home and the items you are using are safe. It is easy to make a small mistake that has everlasting consequences. Take time out of your day to take action on these CO poisoning DO’s and DON’T’s to better protect yourself and those around you.