Fall 2000 Sentinel
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The Sentinel Making Utah a Safer Place for Kids

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§         SAFE KIDS Takes Message to Navajo Families

§         SAFE KIDS Saves Lives

§         Buckle Up, Utah!

§         Scooter Savvy = Scooter Safety

§         Get on the Bus …

§         Safety Is Key When Selecting Kids’ Toys

§         Don’t Get Burned This Holiday Season

§         Seats Give Kids a Life-Saving “Boost”



SAFE KIDS Takes Message to Navajo Families

Coalition Delivers Helmets, Car Seats to Underserved Population


As part of the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition’s goal of reaching out to communities that are often missed, Navajo families in the Montezuma Creek and Monument Valley areas were the primary recipients of this year’s SAFE KIDS Week activities.


In fact, the Coalition kicked off SAFE KIDS Week in Southern Utah on the Navajo Reservation the first week of May.  As part of the activities the coalition gave away bicycle helmets, t-shirts and water bottles to every student at Montezuma Creek Elementary and Monument Valley High Schools.  In addition, a team of certified car seat checkers held a clinic to make sure as many seats in the area as possible were installed correctly.


Among other activities were a fire safety lesson and an assembly for high school students focusing on the problem of drinking and driving.  The school football field was the site of a hands-on activity that invited students to get a feel for what it’s like to be intoxicated and try to function normally.  The kids wore special “Fatal Vision” glasses that simulated intoxication while trying to play soccer.  They learned quickly that perception changes radically under the influence of alcohol, and fell all over themselves on the field.


The following anecdote as told by a coalition member sums up the success of our visit:


Late Friday night, we traveled to the tiny town of Aneth to visit a foster brother of one of the volunteers.  We found the house and the two visited for a short time.  as we were leaving, a neighbor drove up and a little girl got out of the car wearing the very bicycle helmet and t-shirt we had given her the day before.  Clearly, these gifts meant something special to that child, and we can only hope she will wear the helmet every time she rides.


Through the generous donations of AAA Utah, the SAFE KIDS Coalition gave away 40 new car seats, 600 bicycle helmets, 600 t-shirts and 600 water bottles.  This activity could not have succeeded without this gift, or the generosity of all the volunteers who donated their time and expertise to this important mission.


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SAFE KIDS Saves Lives

Child Survives Crash After Parents See TV News Show


Thursday, May 25th was a typical hectic morning at the home of Jason and Kristi Cable of Bountiful.  The two were busy getting ready for work, and had the television tuned to FOX-13 News when a particular story caught their attention.  “The reporter was talking with a representative of the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition about child safety seats,” said Jason.  “With an eight-month-old daughter at home, we thought we should listen.”


“We were so intrigued by the report, which demonstrated how to install car seats properly, that we sat down and watched the whole thing,” added Kristi.


It turned out that watching that report was a life-saving stroke of luck for the Cables, who were just getting ready to take their daughter McKenzie to the babysitter’s house.  They realized after watching the program that their own car seat was installed incorrectly.  “Not only did we have the seat much too loose,” said Kristi, “we also had the clip in the wrong place.”  Added Jason, “So we went right out to the truck and corrected everything.”  Not five minutes later, Jason was in a terrible crash just blocks from home.


“I was late for work and admit I was trying to race through a yellow light,” said Jason.  “Unfortunately, another driver was also anticipating his light would turn green and came into the intersection too early.  He hit me broadside.”


Jason needed 30 stitches to close a head wound and suffered a sprained neck.  McKenzie had only a slight cut and a bump.  “If we hadn’t tightened the seat down that morning, she would have been hurt much worse,” said Kristi.  Bountiful police officer Jon Hadlow investigated the accident and agreed.  “I have no doubt the child would have been hurt more seriously if the Cables hadn’t just seen the car seat report,” Hadlow said.


To this day, the Cables credit Utah SAFE KIDS and Fox-13 News for teaming up to save their child’s life.  “If you ever hear of a car seat safety check,” said Jason, “take advantage of it.  There are so many things that can go wrong when you’re installing a seat, you really need help from the experts.”


You can find an expert car seat checker at any of the coalition chapters.


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Buckle Up, Utah!

State Imposes New Restrictions on Seat Belt Use


Now parents in Utah have even more reason to use seat belts and car safety seats.  Besides the fact that these devices save lives, a new law places stricter requirements on their use.  This spring, the Utah legislature passed a law requiring all children be properly restrained in a car safety seat until their fifth birthday.  Previously, parents could remove the car seat on the child’s fourth birthday.  Here are other requirements of the revised law:


§         The driver and all passengers must be buckled if a seat belt is available.

§         You may be stopped and cited if anyone under 19 years of age is unrestrained.

§         Occupants of a motor vehicle 19 years and older may be cited for a seat belt violation only if stopped for some other violation.

§         The driver is responsible for all unrestrained occupants in the vehicle under age 16.

§         Violators will be subject to a fine of $45, which can be reduced to $15 upon completion of a traffic safety educational class.


Did you know that, in a crash or sudden stop, your body weight is multiplied by the speed of the car?  This means that a 40-lb. child, in an impact at 40 m.p.h., will strike the interior car surfaces, or objects outside the vehicle, with the force of a 1,600 lb. object!  Parents, USE YOUR SEAT BELTS AND CAR SEATS!


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Scooter Savvy = Scooter Safety


As if there weren’t enough dangerous toys on the market for kids, now the scooter industry gives us a few more.  You’ve no doubt seen the lightweight, collapsible scooter/skateboards around your neighborhood – and perhaps witnessed one or more of the inevitable crashes that occur when kids push the limits of their abilities.


As you might suspect, doctors at Primary Children’s Medical Center, and at emergency rooms across the state, are seeing a lot of kids with broken bones, cuts and head injuries sustained while riding these streamlined scooters, also called kickboards or rollerboards.  “We’ve treated at least one child a week for a scooter injury,” said Primary Children’s Pediatric E.R. physician Bob Bolte, M.D.  “And that doesn’t account for the dozens more being seen at urgent care centers and doctor’s offices.”


Nationally, 4,000 kids were seen in emergency rooms for scooter injuries in August alone.  Twenty-nine percent of those had bone fractures and dislocations.  “Those injuries can be severe,” said Dr. Bolte, “but I’m more worried about the kids riding these things in the street and getting hit by a car.  We haven’t seen any fatalities yet, but it’s only a matter of time,” he added.


As with any wheeled transportation, it just makes sense to wear proper protective gear.  A well-fitted helmet is a must, and knee and elbow pads can do a lot to cushion a fall.


As a parent, you should supervise your children while riding, and keep them out of traffic and away from steep grades.  And don’t forget a helmet yourself when it’s your turn to take a spin!


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Get on the Bus …

And Off It, Safely


Each year, nearly three-fourths of all school bus-related deaths occur in a specific “danger zone” around the bus.  In these cases, students are struck either by a passing vehicle or by the bus itself.  Motorists can forget to stop.  In some cases, a student might walk too close to the bus or bend down to retrieve a dropped item and is suddenly outside the driver’s view.  All these situations can be avoided.  This year make a difference by following these safety standards:




§         Motorists coming upon a school bus from EITHER direction must stop when the bus displays flashing red warning lights and extends the stop signal arm.

§         Vehicles may not pass until the lights and signals are turned off.

§         Never pass on the right side of the bus, where children enter or exit.




§         Never walk behind the bus.

§         When getting off the bus walk at least five giant steps away from the side of the bus.

§         If you drop something near the bus, tell the driver.  Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

§         Do not wear clothing with drawstrings, and be careful with book bag and backpack straps that may get caught in doors or handrails.

§         If you must cross the street in front of a bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps ahead of the bus before you cross.  Be sure the driver can see you and you can see the driver.  Make eye contact.

§         If you must cross the street, watch for vehicles that might not have stopped for the bus’ flashing lights.

§         Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before you move close to the bus.


A WARNING TO PARENTS:  Practice these safety measures with your children.  Don’t let them become another traffic statistic.


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Safety Is Key When Selecting Kids’ Toys


More than 3 billion toys are sold in the U.S. each year, and 70% are sold between November 1 and Christmas.  No parent would intentionally buy a toy that would put a child at risk for injury, yet every year thousands of kids wind up in emergency rooms with toy-related injuries.


Falls and choking account for the majority of toy-related deaths and injuries.  Kids are also strangled, burned and drowned while playing with seemingly safe toys.


Here are some safety tips:


§         Play with your children, watch how they play with their toys, and teach them how to play safely.

§         Make sure toys received from friends and relatives are age-appropriate.

§         Be aware that children can choke on small toy parts – especially those from older children’s toys.

§         Strings, straps and cords should be shorter than 7 inches.  Children have been strangled by longer strings and cords.

§         Insist that children always wear helmets while riding bikes, skateboards, in-line skates and scooters.

§         Teach children to put away their toys after playing to prevent falls.  Store toys for older and younger kids separately.

§         Inspect toys regularly for damage and potential hazards.  Make repairs right away or discard damaged toys out of children’s reach.

§         Arrows and toy darts should have blunt tips with rubber or flexible plastic suction cups and cork or other protective points.  Don’t allow the children to take them off or shoot them at others.


Toys are meant to provide children with fun and entertainment.  But they become dangerous when misused or if they are in the hands of children who are too young for them.  The proper selection and use of toys, combined with parental supervision, can greatly reduce the number of children who get hurt.


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Don’t Get Burned This Holiday Season

Practice Christmas Tree Safety


As the holidays approach, many Utah families are considering purchasing a fresh Christmas tree as the center of their decorating schemes.  For decades, these fragrant fir, pine and spruce have been the symbol of the winter holiday season.  Sadly, these icons too often become a threat to the health and safety of Utah families.


In 1999, the State Fire Marshal’s Office reported more than 1,000 house and apartment fires across Utah.  At least seven, and probably many more, were started by Christmas trees.  Sometimes, the trees were allowed to become so dry the decorative lights caught a branch on fire.  Other times, parents plugged too many lights into one outlet and caused an electrical fire.


But these tragedies don’t have to happen.  You can keep your family safe by following a few common sense rules:


§         As soon as you get your fresh tree home, cut about an inch off the bottom of the trunk and place it immediately in a reservoir-type stand filled with plenty of warm water.  This will allow the tree to soak up adequate liquid and prevent drying.

§         Add water to the reservoir EVERY DAY.  Cut trees dehydrate quickly.  A dry tree is a deadly tree.

§         Never use lights with frayed cords or empty sockets.

§         Use mini-lights.  They produce much less heat and are safer than larger, old-fashioned lights.

§         ALWAYS turn off all Christmas lights and any other lighted decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.

§         Do not use candles on or near your tree.  In fact, the holidays are a popular time for burning scented candles, which should be done only under close adult supervision.

§         Never burn your tree or any part of it in your fireplace.

§         Test your smoke detectors.


The last suggestion is among the most important; you have a much better chance of escaping a fire alive if you have a working smoke detector.  If you can’t afford smoke detectors, contact your local fire department.  And have an escape plan.  Know how every member of your family will get out of the house should a fire start.  And have a safe and happy holiday season.


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Seats Give Kids a Life-Saving “Boost”


Police across the country continue to see tragic crashes involving small children who are not properly secured in booster seats.  Once again, the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition reminds parents that until children are eight years old and weight at least 80 pounds they should ride in a booster seat.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that adult lap belts ride up over the stomach on a small child and the shoulder belt cuts across the neck.  In a crash, this poor fit can cause serious and even fatal injuries.  Parents need to know that:


§         Booster seats are very effective in saving lives.

§         All children age 12 and under should sit properly restrained in the back seat and not in front of an airbag.

§         With so many different styles of seats and boosters, parents should ask a certified safety seat technician how to install their equipment properly.


If you need help with booster seats, call your local SAFE KIDS coalition or chapter.


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