Safe Kids Larimer County

Upcoming Events

  • La Familia/The Family Center Car Seat Class October 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm The Family Center La Familia, 309 Hickory St #5, Fort Collins, CO 80524, USA Call 495.7508 to register. One seat per family per year. $30 donation.
  • Safe Kids Larimer County Meeting November 1, 2018 at 9:00 am – 10:30 am Locations Vary...check web site
  • Salud Car Seat Class November 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm Salud Family Health Centers, 1635 Blue Spruce Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80524, USA Call 495.7508 to register. One seat per family per year. $30 donation.
  • Safe Kids Coalition Meeting November 8, 2018 at 9:00 am – 10:30 am Locations Vary...check web site Locations Vary...check web site
  • Community Life Center Car Seat Class November 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm Community Life Center, e 80537, 1511 E 11th St, Loveland, CO 80537, USA Call 495.7508 to register. One seat per family per year. $30 donation.
  • Community Life Center Car Seat Class December 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm Community Life Center, e 80537, 1511 E 11th St, Loveland, CO 80537, USA Call 495.7508 to register. One seat per family per year. $30 donation.

Teen Drivers – What’s a Parent to Do?

Written by Heidi McBroome, Insurance Agent at All About Insurance.

Because teenagers are new drivers, they simply don’t have the behind-the-wheel experience necessary to understand the dynamics associated with driving a motor vehicle. There’s a vast difference between riding in the passenger seat and being behind the wheel. By teaching teenagers responsible driving behavior, you can help prevent crashes. Here are a few ways to help your teenager through the Graduated Driver’s Licensing period.

  • Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Ask if the car has airbags and antilock brakes? Make sure it is not brand new, but has 4 doors, front wheel or all-wheel drive for good all-around practical safety on the road.
  • Provide new drivers with plenty of supervised driving practice, even after they have obtained a license, including night driving and driving under hazardous road conditions. Go above the required amount of driving instruction. And have them drive you around even after they are licensed.
  • Mandate safety belt usage. It is a primary offense and the ticket is going to impact more than just the points they lose. It will raise insurance rates and cause a disruption to daily routine if you have to go to court.
  • Restrict the number of passengers allowed to ride with your teenage driver. Crash rates increase sharply when a teenage driver has passengers, particularly other teenagers.
  • Enforce “no drinking and driving” rules. I would add no eating either.
  • Emphasize that safe driving requires your teen’s full attention. Distractions such as cell phone use, navigation, social media, radio, and text messaging will greatly increase his or her risk of motor vehicle-related injury.
  • Place restrictions on nighttime driving to enforce curfews.
  • Enroll new drivers in a driving school to educate them about cars, driving conditions and driving techniques. This will prepare teenagers for the road, and it could reduce crashes.
  • Discuss and reinforce responsible driving behavior with teenagers.
  • Have a contract between you to create the discussion. (Here is an example of one you can use: https://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf)plain logo

Car Seat Safety Outside of Your Car

Written by Gregory Colton, EMT/Child Passenger Safety Coordinator, UCHealth Emergency Medical Services.

Ambulance crews across the country respond to thousands of pediatric calls every day.  Of all those calls nothing will make us push our ambulance to the limits like responding to a call for a baby who has fallen asleep and does not wake up.  Sleep related incidents are a leading cause of death for infants and we all know it too well.

We frequently talk about safe use of car seats in your car, but what about car seat safety outside of your car?  A properly installed and adjusted car seat can protect your child from many dangers, but when used incorrectly a car seat can become a potential hazard.

Rear-facing-only or ‘infant’ car seats often have two parts, a base that stays inside the vehicle and a carrier that caregivers can take with them.  Many parents opt for these systems due to their convenience and ability to be used in a stroller.  This may give parents the impression that their car seat carrier is a handy multifunctional device.  However, it is important to remember that your child’s car seat was designed to be just that, a car seat.  Car seat carriers are engineered for safe riding in cars and compatible strollers.  They are not intended for napping or extended use outside of a vehicle.

We all want our baby to be happy and comfortable.  As a result it can be tempting to keep them happy by letting them continue sleeping in their car seat and let them be comfortable by loosening the harness straps.  It seems innocent enough, but this actually creates a very dangerous situation for a child.

Two of the most important ways a car seat carrier keeps your child safe are through proper recline angle and proper positioning.

  • Recline angle – A baby’s head is heavier than its brand-new neck is ready to hold up. At an incorrect recline angle a baby’s head can drop forward and block off their airway.
  • Positioning – Babies are squirmy little worms. Without something to stabilize them in place a baby can roll onto their side or their face and suffocate or slide down and be strangled by the harness straps.

We strongly recommend using the car seat carrier outside of the vehicle or stroller as little as possible.  That said, we do understand that the ideal world is not always achievable.  If you do have to use the carrier by itself please keep the following points in mind:

  • Always keep the harness buckled and snugged down tight. – This will keep your baby safely positioned. Remember the pinch test and the chest clip at armpit level.
  • Place the carrier on a firm, hard surface low to the ground. – This will help prevent the carrier from toppling over or resting at an incorrect angle.
  • Keep the baby under constant supervision. – A baby’s blood oxygen levels can drop dangerously low when their airway is blocked even for a brief time.
  • Transition the baby from the car seat to the crib as soon as possible. ­– A firm, flat crib free of potential suffocation hazards is the safest place for a baby to sleep.

If you need help with your car seat or have any questions there are a number of EMS, law enforcement, and fire professionals who are passionate about child passenger safety and here to help.  Please click here for a list of available resources in your community.

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Back to School Safety

Written by: Master Police Officer Dave Sloat, Loveland Police

As we start to get our children ready for the upcoming school year gathering school supplies and school clothes, we also need to think about back to school safety.

Family life can be hectic when school starts and we sometimes get in a hurry. Please review the below safety tips and share with your children their first lesson of the new school year.

Kids going to and from school

  • “Use your head, wear a helmet.”
  • Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
  • Tell kids to look left, right and left again when crossing the street. Teach them to never run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • Cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections.
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.

Motorist

  • “STATE LAW – YIELD to pedestrians in crosswalk.”
  • Flashing school zones reduce the speed limit to 20-mph while the flashing yellow beacons are operating. Please slow down while driving through these zones and look out for school children crossing the street!
  • Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
  • Watch for bicycles.
  • Eliminate distractions. Reduce risk by not using your cell phone or eating while driving, for example.
  • Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
  • Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.

 

For more important safety tips please visit the ‘Safety Tips’ section of the Safe Kids website!Loveland PD.jpg

Swift water safety tips

Each year we see many water rescues and even a few deaths in our rivers. Poudre Fire Authority offers these water safety tips:

1. Tell someone where you are going. 

Or better yet, go with a partner. Let someone know when you expect to return and if your plans change, and be sure to leave a note on your dashboard to alert others.

2. Be prepared.

Children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear life jackets, even if they aren’t planning on getting in the water. Also, be aware that not many places west of Ted’s Place (intersection of U.S. Highway 287 and Colorado Highway 14) have cell service.

3. Don’t forget the power of the river.

Seriously though. The river is strong and usually calls the shots. Remember that water is high during spring runoff and also after heavy rains (or a late snow in May).

Also, be wary of river banks. Even if you’re not planning on swimming, banks can be unstable and give way beneath you.

4. Know your surroundings.

Check the weather ahead of time and keep an eye on the skies.

5. Know what to do.

If you’re caught in any fast-moving water, try to float feet-first in a half-sit position.

6. Reach or throw, DON’T GO.

If someone is caught in fast-moving water, reach out or throw something to them. Don’t go into the water yourself or you may also be swept away. Also, call 911 as soon as you can.

7. Carry a first-aid kit.

Or take a CPR class. These may seem like no-brainers, but having basic tools and knowledge may save be all that’s required to save a life.

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Safe Routes to School Encourages Biking for Brain Health

Spring has sprung! That means more outdoor activities and kids walking and biking to school! The Through the 5 E’s (evaluation, encouragement, education, enforcement, and engineering), Safe Routes to School programs throughout the nation strive to encourage walking and biking to school. Not only does this reduce traffic in busy zones, it is also a healthy habit!

Thompson School District’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program works with local agencies, organizations, cities, and developers to try to make walking and biking to school a safe, fun and healthy activity for students in elementary and middle school. Activity before and after school does not only improve physical health, it also gives a boost to a student’s brain power. As little as 7 minutes of physical activity before a test has proven to boost test scores by up to 17%! Regular physical activity also helps with a child’s memory and focus.

Because of this, TSD’s Safe Routes to School program works with Safe Kids Larimer County to make sure students are aware of the importance of protecting their most valuable asset – the brain! The partnership with Safe Kids’ Strap and Snap program to teach 3rd graders helmet safety goes hand in hand with the Safe Routes goals. A main focus of SRTS bike safety training is teaching kids to always wear a helmet when on a bike, scooter, skateboard or skates!

May is Bike to School Month and with the warmer spring weather it’s a great time to encourage students to get out and ride! An easy way to get kids riding is to start a bike train to and from school – a group of neighborhood riders of all ages that can meet up at different locations in their neighborhood to ride together.

It’s like a carpool—without the car—with the added benefits of having safety in numbers (a bigger group of bicyclists can be easily seen by traffic), added exercise, and visits with friends and neighbors.

To start your own neighborhood bike train:

  •  Invite families who live nearby to bike (or walk) together. (or start a sign-up sheet at your school)
  •  Create a route and take a test ride.
  •  Decide how often the group will ride together.
  •  Be sure everyone knows how to be safe on their bike – review hand signals, look for traffic when crossing a street, and ALWAYS wear helmets.
  •  Have fun! (create theme days, decorate your helmets, enjoy nature!)
  • Click here for more tips on creating your own bike train. 

 

Written by Mechelle Martz-Mayfield, Thompson School District Safe Routes to School Coordinator

 

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Booster Seat Safety Tips

A big kid in a booster seat.

Why use a booster seat?

  1. Keep your growing passenger safe. A booster seat provides a step between a car seat with a harness and a seat belt alone. It boosts the child for a safer and more comfortable fit of the adult seat belt.
  2. Is it time to move to a booster seat? Make sure your child meets the weight or height limits allowed in her forward-facing car seat. The child must also be mature enough to ride without a harness. What does “mature enough” mean? She needs to stay in the booster seat the entire ride with the seat belt properly fitted across the shoulder and below the hips.

Types of Booster Seats

  1. High back booster. This type is best if your vehicle has a low seat back and no head rest. Like adults, children need support behind their heads. A high-back booster may also be good for younger children who fall asleep in the car or who like the extra comfort and a place to lean their heads.
  2. Backless booster. This type may be more convenient if you carpool or travel. They are typically less expensive. However, the vehicle must have a seat back high enough to provide support behind your child’s head. What’s high enough? Your child’s ears should be below the top of the vehicle seat or head rest.

Installing Your Booster Seat

  1. Booster seats do not need to be installed. And you don’t need to worry about a tight fit. Your child’s weight on the booster seat holds it in place. The seat belt keeps the child in place. Watch the video. 
  2. In the back seat. Use the booster seat in a back seat.
  3. Secure with seat belt. When the booster seat is not being used, secure it with the seat belt so it doesn’t fly around the car if you stop suddenly.
  4. Use the lap and shoulder seat belt. You no longer need a harness because the child and booster seat are held in place by the adult lap and shoulder belt.

The Right Fit for Your Booster Seat

  1. Getting a safe ride. A booster seat lifts a child’s body so the car seat belt can fit properly. The seat belt must lie flat across your child’s chest, is on the bony part of his shoulder and is low on the hips or upper thighs.
  2. Using the seat belt. The booster seat is specifically designed for seat belt fit. Follow the arrows or guides on the booster seat that show you where to place the lap and shoulder belts. This will protect the child’s face, neck and belly.
  3. Watch for this common problem. Make sure your child doesn’t put the shoulder belt behind her back or under her arm. If she must do that to be comfortable, it’s best to use a car seat with a harness or a different booster seat with an adjustable shoulder belt guide.

Ready for the Seat Belt?

  1. Don’t be in a hurry. Your child is safer in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits correctly, usually between the ages of 8 and 12.
  2. Do the Seat Belt Fit Test. If your child doesn’t pass every step in the test below, keep him in a booster seat until he does.
  3. Test in all the cars your child uses. Remember, just because the seat belt fits your child in one car doesn’t mean the seat belt will fit in all cars. Do the Seat Belt Fit Test in every car before permanently moving from the booster seat to seat belt alone.

The Seat Belt Fit Test

  1. Check knees and feet. Your child’s knees bend at the edge of the seat when her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back. Her feet should touch the floor for comfort and stability.
  2. Check the lap belt. The vehicle lap belt fits snugly across the hips or upper thighs.
  3. Check the shoulder belt. The shoulder belt fits across the shoulder and chest, NOT across the face or neck. Here’s the video.

Be a Good Example

  1. Wear your seat belt. We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
  2. Plan for the carpool. When carpooling, make sure you have enough seating positions and booster seats for every child in your car and that kids enter and exit curbside.

Get Dumped Day 2018

 

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Larimer County Sheriff’s Kids Christmas Party – Santa’s Little Helpers

This December will be the 23rd annual Larimer County Sheriff’s Kids Christmas party! The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office provides a magical Christmas party for over 120 children kindergarten through 5th grade from mobile home communities in unincorporated Larimer County.  Santa and Mrs. Claus talks to each child and gives them a Christmas gift just for them!  The kids get to see Mr. Incredible – with all his magic tricks.  They play games and get prizes, visit with McGruff, the crime prevention dog, and enjoy snacks before they find out who won a bike!

Throughout the year, donated bikes are refurbished for the kids bike raffle at the Christmas party.  Each child has a raffle ticket with their unique number on it.  When arriving at the party, the child can place his/her raffle ticket in the bike box they would like to have.  We have between 30 and 50 bikes each year and Safe Kids Larimer County donates and fits helmets for every bike and winner!  When the child’s name and number are called as a winner – their faces light up and you know it’s going to be a great Christmas!  It is so nice to be able to not only provide a bicycle to someone who may not have one, but also a helmet to keep them safe!

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~Barbara Bennett, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office

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Partner Highlight – The Family Center/La Familia

The Family Center/La Familia has been an important partner from the inception of Safe Kids Larimer County. They provide a safe and familiar space for our Spanish Car Seat Classes once a month plus an area for the caregivers’ children to play during the class. This allows the caregiver to focus on the lifesaving information they are being provided during the class.

Their staff are wonderful advocates for our car seat classes and the importance of car seat safety. When necessary, they provide translation to break down the barrier and increase understanding between the car seat technician and the caregiver. Our partnership with The Family Center is invaluable. 25% of our car seat class participants are Spanish-speaking and we would be unable to reach these families in as an effective way without The Family Center’s support.

Since 1995, The Family Center/La Familia, a bilingual organization, has offered high quality early childhood education and family strengthening services. Their primary goal is to strengthen and stabilize working families with children through supportive services such as childcare, parent enrichment programs and after-school tutoring. For more information, visit their website at: https://thefamilycenterfc.org/.

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PEDAL Club’s Annual EGG & I Helmets for Kids Fundraiser Sept. 30th

Every year sadly another child suffers a head injury riding a bike without a helmet.  Brain injuries can take months to years or even a lifetime to heal.  As bicyclists, the PEDAL Club understands the need for helmets on every cyclist.  Since 2013 PEDAL and the Egg & I have been hosting an annual fundraiser to help Safe Kids Larimer County raise money to purchase helmets for kids.  In this past school year, Safe Kids Larimer County reached 3,088 third grade students through the Strap and Snap program in TSD, PSD and WSD. In the 2016 school year, 2,394 third grade students went through the program.   During that time, 508 helmets were fitted and 467 helmets were distributed to students.  This year our goal is to raise $500 for Safe Kids Larimer County so they can continue to educate and protect our children.  There will be booths at the Loveland Egg & I and the Oakridge Egg & I offering helmets for bicyclists and skateboarders for $10.00 each.  All monies collected go to Safe Kids Larimer County.  

You can help by visiting any participating Egg & I Saturday, Sept. 30th by any type of vehicle. The Egg & I’s in Fort Collins and Loveland will be donating 25% of all kids meals sold this weekend to Safe Kids Larimer County.  Those wanting to join the PEDAL Club’s ride can meet us at Centennial Park, 977 W 1st St, Loveland.  The ride will depart from the east side of the park at 8am. The ride is approximately 35 miles.  You can ride with us to one, two or all three Egg & I’s.  For more information you can visit PEDAL’s website at: Pedalclub.org.  Please remember to wear your helmet!EGG&I 2.jpg