Spring into Safety on Your Bicycle

Next week is Bike to School Day! Biking and warm weather reminds us that summer is almost here. Summer brings many opportunities for us to get outside and play outdoors. Riding bikes around the neighborhood, chasing down the ice-cream truck, playing on the playground. These are all activities we love to do, and it is even more important that they are done so safely.

It is a joyful time for children, but what steps can we take to keep it that way? By being safe!

As parents it is important to equip your children with the knowledge to practice safer habits. One large cause for injuries are bicycle accidents. To put into perspective how prevalent they are, nearly 500,000 people go to the hospital every year for injuries related to a bicycle crash. Do not let these numbers scare you, but rather encourage you to practice safe habits, and with a few tips you can be much safer!

Let’s start with the biggest tips for bicycle safety:

  • Helmets: It is found that 75% of bicycle-related fatalities amongst children could have been avoided, if there were use of a helmet. Not only is it important to wear one, but it is also important that the helmet is being worn correctly.
  • Be Visible: It is no surprise that cars are much larger than bikes, and therefore easier to see. Bicyclists on the other hand, may be much harder to spot. To try and combat this issue, have children avoid riding at nighttime, and if they do, have them wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility. Front white and rear red lights are required on bicycles by law and are an important additions to see and be seen.
  • Signaling: In cars we use turn signals, we have break lights, and other features to let other cars know our next move. When biking it is just as important to have these features, so take the time to learn hand signaling. Creating an understanding between drivers and bicyclists can lower the number of accidents. Learning these hand signals with your family can be a fun activity, give it a go!

Check out these simple bicyclist signals!

Enjoying summer and creating new memories are important parts of childhood and practicing safe habits can only make it better. Taking the time to discuss these simple habits with your children can decrease risk of injury and increase their ability to make fun and safe memories.

Prevent Accidental Poisonings in Your Home

Where do you store your medicine, cleaning supplies, or items such as bug spray? If you are like most of us, you may have said in a cabinet or under the sink. Storing items such as these may not seem to be a big deal, however, incorrectly storing these items could put your children at serious risk for accidental poisoning. It only takes a bit of time and effort to drastically decrease the chances of this happening.

Let’s take a look at a few statistics according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

  • 91% of poisonings take place at home.
  • Poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related death in America.
  • The exposure to cleaning products we typically store within the home is the second leading cause of poisoning in children.

Although these thoughts and numbers may pose as fear-invoking, you can easily make changes to where you store potentially harmful items. Storing harmful items in areas that are out of reach to children can lower the risk of poisoning. There is a common misconception that “storing” the medicines you may not take on a regular basis is enough, but it is important to do the same with medicines you take frequently. Let’s go over simple, yet effective ways to protect your children from accidental poisonings.

  1. Keep all medicine out of the sight or access of children, even if it is something you take daily. Children are inquisitive and will get into items such as medications if it is within their reach.
  2. Child-proof areas that you may store your cleaning supplies, or medications. Items such as safety cabinet locks can prevent children from gaining access to these items or try storing them out of sight and out of reach.
  3. Buy items with child-resistant packaging when you can. If medication bottles or cleaning supplies are not child-resistant, it is crucial to store these items both out of sight and out of access.
  4. Use alarms to keep track of medication intake. Instead of leaving medications on counters or surfaces that children can get to, set alarms to remind yourself when to take the medication.
  5. Keep and list the Poison Help number in your phone and home for yourself and caregivers: 1-800-222-1222. There are 24-hour services provided to help you with poison related questions, emergencies, and overall medicine safety.

It may not be possible to entirely eliminate the chance of accidental poisoning, but it is possible to take steps to decrease the risk of this happening. Being more aware and taking preventative steps to eliminate access to medications or cleaning supplies can heighten your child’s at home safety. Take a look at these links for more resources on this topic.

https://www.safekids.org/checklist/medication-safety-checklist

https://www.safekids.org/tip/parent-medication-tip-card-pdf

Winter Sports Safety

With winter at its peak and the chance to enjoy a few more weeks of the winter sports activities it has to offer, it could be time to ask, what are your favorite winter sports to engage in? It may be sledding, skiing, ice skating, or perhaps even hockey. Although these sports present us with excitement and the ability to try new activities, it is important that we remain aware of the need for safety while doing so.

Every year nearly 200,000 people receive treatment as a result of injuries due to winter sports. There are numerous injuries that can occur from engaging in winter sports. These can include concussions, strains, fractures, dislocations, and other injuries. Each sport varies in its likelihood of a certain injury occurring, for example, skiers tend to experience knee injuries as a result of a damaged ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Other sports such as sledding tend to result in head injuries and broken bones. Although it may not be realistic to entirely eliminate the chance of injury, there are a few ways you can limit the probability and enjoy fun, new, and safe winter sports!

One relieving aspect of this is that there are cautionary steps you can take to lower the chances of injury. Let’s take a look at ways you can prevent winter sport related injuries and continue engaging in the hobbies you love.

Slow to Start: Prior to engaging in strenuous sports such as snowboarding or skiing, try warming up. Allow for your muscles, ligaments, and tendons to loosen up through light stretching before taking part in the activity.

Staying in Shape: Ensuring that you do your best to keep your muscles and body in shape can allow for you to jump into winter sports much quicker. Focusing on increasing core strength, upper and lower body strength, and balance can lower risk of injury. When our bodies are in shape and can provide us with a stable base, we are at our best and less injury prone.

Following the Rules: With each winter sport comes different rules to stay safe, and it is important to research the activity you are engaging in prior to. If there are signs when you are skiing or snowboarding, be sure to pay attention to what they say.

Safe to Use Equipment: In any winter sport you are destined to need some sort of equipment, and before doing so, test the equipment to make sure it is safe to use. For example, with sledding, make sure that the sled has no visible safety hazards, and that you have the ability to stop yourself when using.

Falling Correctly: Falling directly onto your elbows, shoulders, and wrists can cause serious injuries. Learning from an informational video or instructor on how to fall correctly can limit the severity of fall related injuries.

Taking into account these tips and tricks to prevent winter related sports injuries will not entirely limit the potential for injury, but it will lower the risk. Even if precautions are taken, injuries may occur, and it is important to receive treatment from a doctor as soon as it happens. Following injuries, you may need rehabilitation, and you can eventually return to those winter sports we all love.

A Parent’s Guide to Child Safety

Usually summer is full of camp, sleepovers and maybe even a vacation. This year it looks quite different. As we continue to try to navigate all of our priorities at once some things may slip through the cracks. Active supervision might be one of these as we have seen a nationwide increase in accidental injuries to children.

Being in the hospital is never where we want to be but it is more important than ever to try to stay safe and healthy to allow our healthcare staff to focus on our truly sick patients. (This does not mean to avoid the hospital or wait longer than normal if you have an emergency! It is absolutely worth going and safe to do so when needed!)

Safe Kids Worldwide recently put out a colorful and easy to follow booklet with proven advice and top tips to help reduce your family’s risk of injuries and to keep kids safe at home, at play and on the road. We know you are busy but taking a few minutes a day to make your home safer over the next few weeks will give you piece of mind and can prevent a future accident from happening. Download the booklet below and take action today!

Basic Bicycle Safety Tips

Family bicycle rides are a great way to keep a physical distance from others while still enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise! As your family starts bringing their bikes out, here are basic maintenance and safety tips to consider.

Basic bicycle maintenance is a great way to teach your kids about their bikes plus how to take proper care of it. Keeping up with these routine steps will also make it safer and easier to ride.

Before each ride, don’t forget your ABC’s:

  • Air: Check to ensure the tires are properly inflated. The correct pressure is written on the side of the tire.
  • Brakes: Give both brakes a good squeeze to make sure they work properly.
  • Chain: Look at the chain and gears to make sure everything is clean and the chain is lubricated.

Next, EVERYONE needs to put on their helmet. Children start watching us at a very young age – we need to be good role models! Check to make sure your child’s helmet still fits from last year. Helmets should be replaced every 3-5 years. See the steps below to make sure everyone’s helmet fits correctly.

Finally, time to ride! Follow these tips for a fun and safe ride.

  • Act as if you are a vehicle. This includes riding on the same side and going in the same direction as other vehicles. Use a bike lane when possible. Ride single file and watch out for potholes and open car doors.
  • Wear bright colors and use lights and reflectors at night.
  • Use hand signals to be predictable!