a Safer Place for Kids
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Seat-A-Thon a Super Success
To Ensure Your Child Is Riding
They’re Not Just for Cycling
Help Your Kids Breathe
Walk This Way
THE SENTINEL –
Seat-A-Thon a Super
Utah children are
riding in safer car seats this fall thanks to a massive car seat
check sponsored by the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition. In observance of the 2001
National SAFE KIDS Week May 5-12, coalition members and volunteers
traveled across Utah
in an unprecedented effort to check and replace as many car seats as
“Our goal was to set a world record,” said coalition
co-chair Cal Cazier.
“We know that having seats installed properly is a big step
in keeping our kids safe on the road.” During the week, SAFE KIDS
held safety seat checkpoints in 15 cities from
Logan to St.
George. They inspected
more than 1,400 seats and installed 1,000 brand new ones.
“Fewer than one percent of all the seats we checked
were installed correctly,” said SAFE KIDS co-chair Janet
Brooks. (See “Better
Buckling.”) “That means
99 percent were installed incorrectly and could have left children
seriously injured or dead in a crash,” she said. “The Seat-A-Thon was a
wonderful opportunity to educate parents and caregivers about the
proper use of car safety seats, booster seats, and seat belts. And, because we traveled
throughout the state, we were able to reach a greater number of
people,” she added. “We
know our efforts will save lives.”
The Summer Safety Seat-A-Thon was supported by many
corporations, including AAA Utah, KSTU Fox 13, Clear Channel
Broadcasting, State Farm Insurance, the Utah Auto Collection and
Utah Highway Safety.
Utah Blitzz pro soccer team members also accompanied
coalition members as they traveled from city to city.
Child safety seat checkpoints are held across the state
at various times throughout the year. To see when a checkpoint
will be held near you, call SAFE KIDS at (801) 538-6852. For more information about
the safe transportation of children, call (801) 588-CARS
SENTINEL – FALL 2001
Utah Practices Better
But Too Many Children Are Still
Thanks to massive educational campaigns, many
Utah parents are
getting the message about car seat safety. More moms, dads,
grandparents and caregivers are using safety seats and seat belts,
and fewer are placing children in front of air bags.
But, as our army of SAFE KIDS seat checkers learned
during this summer’s Seat-A-Thon, too many children are still at
risk of death or injury because they’re not properly buckled. Of the more than 1,400 seats
checked, the problems found most often were children weren’t
strapped tightly enough into their seats, and that the seats
themselves weren’t anchored tightly enough to the seats of the
vehicle. Both these
errors will leave the child poorly protected in a crash.
Other common errors included: using the locking clip
incorrectly; failing to install rear-facing seats at a 45-degree
angle; using the wrong seat for the child’s age or size; and having
no car seat or restraint at all for the child.
requires all children under age five to be in an approved child
safety seat. In
addition, despite repeated warnings, some caregivers were still
placing small children in front of an air bag. Others had infants under one
year and 20 pounds in forward-facing seats (extremely dangerous
because of an infant’s underdeveloped neck muscles), many had the
harness clip placed too high or low on the child’s chest or abdomen,
or had threaded the harness straps incorrectly.
All these rules can seem overwhelming to a parent, and
that’s why members of the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition are available to
help you make your seat safe.
If you want your child restraints inspected by a certified
checker, please call (801) 5386852 or (801) 588-CARS
– FALL 2001
To Ensure Your Child Is
Place all children under 80 pounds and less
than 4 feel 9 inches tall in child safety or booster
Read and follow all vehicle and safety seat
Send in your safety seat registration form so
you can be notified of any recalls.
Tightly buckle safety seats into the back seat
Make sure the harness is threaded correctly, is
snug, and is at the correct shoulder location.
Never place thick blankets, coats or padding
between the child and the harness or back of a safety
Place all children under one year of age and
less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing seat, at no more than a
45-degree recline, and in the back seat.
Place children over age one and at least 20
pounds in a forward-facing seat that is secured in the back seat of
Use belt-positioning booster seats for children
from about 40 to 80 pounds and up to 4 feet 9 inches
Most safety seats require a chest retainer
clip, which is placed at armpit level.
The handle on infant seats must remain down
while the vehicle is moving.
Children 12 and younger always ride in the back
law requires that all vehicle occupants 18 years and younger must be
restrained in a seat belt or child safety seat.
THE SENTINEL – FALL
Helmets: They’re Not Just for Cycling
Life is hard.
Unfortunately, so are ski hills, brick walls, cars, street
signs, sidewalks, and roads.
Everyone knows you should always wear a helmet when riding a
bicycle – but how many of us think about wearing one for other
sports? With winter
approaching, parents should also consider putting helmets on kids
for cold weather activities like sledding, skiing and
snowboarding. A recent
rash of high-profile celebrity skiing deaths proved that snow and
trees are just as deadly as sidewalks and streets. The cost of a helmet is a
small price to pay for life insurance.
There is little data available on winter sports head
injuries, but statistics from bicycle crashes tell a chilling tale
of the high price of head injuries. Injuries to bicyclists cost
Utah residents over
one million dollars every year. Hospital charges for
cyclists admitted as inpatients were more than $14 million for the
years 1992 to 1999.
Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle
crashes. A helmet can
reduce the risk of head injury by 85% and the risk of brain injury
by 90%. Yet only 15% of
school-age bicyclists and fewer than 2% of secondary school age
cyclists wear helmets.
And it’s not enough to just strap on any helmet – it
must fit properly.
Helmets should fit snugly on the head with no room for
play. They should ride
level and rest low on the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Straps also need to be
tightened snugly under the chin and positioned in a “V” under the
ears. An unstrapped
helmet is like having no helmet at all.
Utah SAFE KIDS knows how tough it is to get a kid to
wear a helmet. Here are
Never allow your child to ride without wearing
Start the helmet habit early with your child’s
Set a good example by wearing your own helmet
when you ride, ski, sled or snowmobile.
Point out athletes who use helmets. Downhill skiers and
baseball, football and hockey players wear them.
Let your child choose the helmet he or she
wants – as long as it fits, of course.
Praise your child for wearing a
SENTINEL – FALL 2001
Help Your Kids Breathe
Every year as many as 5,000 children ages 14 and under
are treated in emergency rooms for choking on and swallowing
toys. Children under
age three are especially vulnerable to choking because they have
very small upper airways.
And airway obstruction in children 12 months and younger is
the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death. The three primary risk areas
are suffocation, choking, and strangulation:
Suffocation: Sixty percent of infant
suffocation occurs in the sleeping environment. Infants can suffocate when
their faces become wedged against or buried in a mattress, pillow or
other soft bedding, or when someone sleeping in the same bed rolls
over onto them.
Choking: The majority of childhood
choking injuries and deaths are associated with food items. Children are at risk from
choking on small, round foods such as hot dogs, candies, nuts,
grapes, carrots and popcorn.
Risky nonfood items are coins, small balls and
Strangulation: Clothing drawstrings,
pacifier strings, necklaces and blind and drapery cords often cause
1991, at least 130 children have strangled on window covering
cords. Since 1995, 22
children have died after being strangled by clothing
Place infants on their backs on a firm, flat
crib mattress in a crib that meets national safety
Remove pillows, comforters, and other soft
products from the crib.
Never hang anything on or above a crib with a string or
ribbon longer than 7 inches.
Always supervise young children while they are
eating and playing.
Don’t allow children under age 6 to eat round
or hard foods.
Keep small items like coins, safety pins,
jewelry and buttons out of children’s reach.
Learn first aid and CPR. Contact your local American
Red Cross chapter for classes.
Remove hood and neck drawstrings from
children’s outer clothing.
To prevent strangulation, never allow children to wear
necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings while on
With beds, ensure that all spaces between the
guardrail and bed frame, and all spaces in the head and foot frame,
are less than 3.5 inches.
your child does choke, call 9-1-1 first. A dispatcher can walk you
through the steps to remove an object from a child’s
SENTINEL – FALL 2001
keep your holidays happy, don’t shortchange your family on
safety. Following these
simple tips will help keep spirits bright, and little ones
When burning candles, make sure they are placed
on a non-flammable surface.
Never leave them burning when you leave the
Never use candles on or near your
At family meals, never place containers of hot
food near the edge of a counter or on a table that’s covered by a
children can tug on the tablecloth and pull hot food or liquids down
on themselves and others.
When you bring your fresh holiday tree home,
saw off the bottom ½ inch of the trunk to help it absorb water. Water the tree every
Never use lights with frayed cords or empty
Mini-lights are safest because they produce
Turn off all holiday lights before leaving home
or going to bed.
Check your tree’s needles daily. If they become dry and
brown, throw the tree away.
Test your smoke detectors.
SENTINEL – FALL 2001
Did you know that more than 1,000 Utahns, mostly
children, are hit by cars every year while walking along or crossing
a street? And that at
least 40 of those victims die every year as a result of their
injuries? It’s a sad
fact that Utah streets
can be hazardous to your child’s health. In fact, the Salt Lake
City/Ogden metro area is ranked as the 12th most
dangerous area for pedestrians in the country. These startling facts should
make you think twice before sending your children out the door. It never hurts to give kids
a pedestrian refresher course:
Always model and teach proper pedestrian
behavior. Talk about
making eye contact with drivers prior to crossing in front of
them. Teach children
not to assume that because they can see the driver, the driver can
see them. Teach
crossing streets as a corner, using traffic signals and
Instruct children to look left-right-left-again
when crossing a street and to continue looking as they cross. Teach them that they should
never run into the street.
Require children to wear reflective materials
and carry a flashlight at dawn and dusk.
Teach children to walk facing traffic, as far
to the left as possible, when sidewalks are not
Prohibit play in driveways, unfenced yards,
streets, or in parking lots.
Teach children to cross the street at least 10
feet in front of a school bus and to wait for adults on the same
side of the street as the school bus loading/unloading
Discuss that more than half of all toddler
pedestrian injuries occur when their parents, caregivers, or
relatives are backing up a vehicle in the
Finally, as adults it’s important to remember that one
of the most dangerous places for children is your own driveway. Always check for your
children or your neighbors’ children whenever you back your vehicle
out of a garage or driveway.