Travel Safety Tips

Travel Safety Tips

It is no surprise that after being at home for quite some time due to coronavirus, many people are jumping at the chance to catch a flight or hit the road and venture out. There may also be other reasons for traveling, such as the need to see your family, or even work. Regardless of the reason, if you do, it is more important than ever before to take extra steps to be safe.

It is important to acknowledge that the CDC recommends staying home over any sort of travel.

Prior to Traveling, there are a few safety steps to take.

  • Let a trust-worthy neighbor know your plans so that they can keep an eye out for your house. Also, be sure to lock all doors, windows and close your garage.
  • Be sure not to post your travel plans to social media prior, as this can alert burglars to know when you will be out of town and potentially lead to a break in.
  • If you have packages being delivered, try and get them delivered to a friend or family members, to lessen the chance of them being stolen.
  • Meet with a certified car seat technician. If you are traveling with young children it is always a good idea to get your car seats checked out to ensure proper install and harnessing. Proper use of a car seat can decrease the risk of injury and death up to 74%. It is worth taking the 30 minutes with a trained professional to put your mind at ease. Find a local technician today.

In Action Travel Safety for Kids

  • Pack sanitizing wipes, sanitizer, and be sure to wash your hands! Having wipes can allow for you to sanitize items you or your children have touched or might use. At any chance you have, take a break to wash your hands.
  • Bring a car seat! You may be driving or flying, and kids who require car sears will need to have them on vacation, no exceptions. There are alternative seats such as lightweight car seats if you will be switching planes or cars often.
  • Teach your children to stay nearby. When traveling you may be in unfamiliar places, and it is important your kids stay near an adult at times. Have them dress in bright clothing to make it easier to see them. Take the time before traveling to explain to your children how they need to stay close by to make sure they are safe.

Road Trip Safety Tips

  • Give your car a once-over. Before hitting the road, make sure to check your entire car. Make sure there are no safety hazards, no service lights on, you can see through all mirrors and that the tire pressure is not low.
  • Buckle up! We may think that buckling up before hitting the road is common sense but check to make sure all seat belts are properly working and that any car seats are properly installed. This is an easy area to overlook but can save a life.
  • Take turns driving. When driving long distances, it is no surprise that you may find yourself tired. Having another person to alternate driving with can keep your more alert, leading to safer travels.

Taking trips with your family means new memories, new experiences and all-around fun times. Planning ahead and making sure you are prepared will keep both you and your family safer!

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

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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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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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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