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

Select an article below, or download the entire issue:

§         Get a “Jump” on Safety

§         Boost Before You Buckle

§         SAFE KIDS Hits the Road

§         Fire Away!

§        Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition Sponsors SAFE KIDS Week

§         Last Year’s SAFE KIDS Week a Hit

§         Save Your Sight



Get a “Jump” on Safety

Trampolines Pose Backyard Danger


Now that warm spring weather is at hand, kids all over Utah will be heading out to their backyards – one of the most unsafe places to be if you own a trampoline.  The overwhelming popularity of this recreational equipment is proving dangerous – even deadly – for far too many children.


Every year more than 83,000 children are injured badly enough using trampolines to require emergency room treatment.  Nationally, six children have been killed as a result of trampoline injuries since 1990.


The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition have taken a strong stance against any use of trampolines at homes or on playgrounds.  “Trampolines are inherently dangerous,” said Primary Children’s Hospital emergency room physician Ronald Furnival, M.D.  “And there is simply no way to make them safe.”


“We treat more than 150 children for trampoline injuries in our emergency room every year,” said Dr. Furnival.  “Most of the kids are hurt doing routine maneuvers and would not be protected from injury by standard safety measures such as using spotters, placing the trampoline at ground level or placing covers over the springs.  Trampolines simply do not belong in our children’s backyards,” he said.


For safety sake, The Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition urges Utah parents not to buckle under to pressure from children to buy a trampoline.  And, if you already have one, to dismantle it and put it away for good.


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Boost Before You Buckle

For Older Children, Safety Belts are Not Enough


Every parent looks forward to the day when their children no longer need to be strapped into a car safety seat.  Unfortunately, most of those parents have no idea when that day really is.


Studies show most parents mistakenly think when a child outgrows a car seat he’s automatically ready to ride like an adult.  In reality, until children weigh 80 lbs. and are 4’9” tall, an adult safety belt may do more harm than good.


That knowledge came too late for Washington mother Autumn Skeen.  In 1996, Skeen became distracted while driving and lost control of her SUV.  Her four-year-old son Anton was buckled up in the back seat using a standard lap and shoulder belt.  He was thrown from the vehicle and died instantly.


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 your booster or safety seats, or just have questions, call your local coalition or chapter.


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SAFE KIDS Hits the Road

GM Awards Training Minivan to State Coalition


Utah children will be safer on the road thanks to a generous donation by General Motors.  As part of a major push to promote car seat safety, GM donated 51 fully-equipped minivans to 51 SAFE KIDS Coalitions across the country.  The Utah state SAFE KIDS Coalition was one of the recipients.  “They chose us because we have a six-year record of working to make kids safer in cars,” said director Cal Cazier.  “The vans were awarded to only one coalition per state,” he said, “so we’re extremely proud of this honor.”


SAFE KIDS unveiled the van to the public February 10.  The Chevy Venture is valued at $24,000 and is equipped with $12,000 worth of equipment coalition members will use to train parents in correct car seat installation and usage.  “Estimates are that 80%-90% of all car seats are incorrectly installed,” said coalition co-chair Janet Brooks.  “And that puts our kids at risk.”


The van is now ready to travel the state and will be used extensively in remote areas where parents don’t have easy access to training.  All those who travel in the van are certified car seat “checkers” who can advise parents on any type of seat used in any kind of vehicle.  “Often, parents unknowingly are using a car seat that simply isn’t designed to be used in the car they’re driving,” said Cazier.  “We can show them why it isn’t safe and tell them which models will work in their particular vehicle,” he said.  “And, if they meet certain income guidelines, we can even arrange to get them a new free or low-cost seat.”


SAFE KIDS is committed to reducing the number of kids in danger of death or injury from unsafe car seats.  If you would like to know if your child is safe, contact the SAFE KIDS coalition or chapter in your area.


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Fire Away!

Child Burn Injuries a Hot Topic


There are few injuries more devastating or painful for a child than those caused by burns.  As one burn unit nurse has noted, “Scars from open heart surgery can be concealed, but not the scars from a burn injury.”  While a burn victim may survive the physical injury, he often becomes a social casualty because of disfigurement.


The good news is, most childhood burn injuries can be prevented with a little education and common sense.  Since most fire deaths occur in the home, it’s important to follow basic residential safety rules:


§         Never leave food cooking on a stove or in an oven unattended.

§         Always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

§         Never leave a cup or bowl of hot liquid within a child’s reach.

§         Never carry a cup or bowl of hot liquid while carrying a child.

§         Keep matches and lighters away from children’s reach.

§         Never smoke in bed or on a chair or sofa.

§         Never leave burning cigarettes unattended.

§         Safely store all flammable substances.

§         Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times.

§         Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all appropriate areas of the home.


Parents should take every opportunity to tell children about potential burn sources and how to behave around hot objects.  Most people have no idea how serious a scald burn can be, or that bath water and even a cup of coffee can be dangerous.


Dial Down Tap Water Temps


Scalding hot water from kitchen and bath faucets is a leading cause of burn injuries in young children.  And it takes only a few seconds for a serious hot water burn to occur.  Very young children and the elderly are more susceptible to water burns because of their thin skin and inability to remove themselves quickly from a heat source.


Did you know that, at 156° Fahrenheit, water can cause a severe burn in just 1 second?  At 140°, a severe burn can occur in 5 seconds.  And at 120° to 130°, a severe burn can occur in one to three minutes.  That’s why fire and injury prevention experts recommend home water heaters be set no higher than 120°.


To determine the current maximum temperature of your water heater, let the tap water run for three to five minutes.  Then test the temperature with a candy, meat or water thermometer.  If the temperature is over 120°, adjust the thermostat on the water heater down.  You need to allow one full day for the water to reach the new temperature.  Then check the new temperature and repeat the process until it falls to 120°.


First Aid for Liquid Burns


If your child is burned by hot liquid, quickly remove any clothing that could keep the liquid in contact with the skin and cause further burning.  If the burn does not cover a large area, immerse the area in cool water immediately to reduce the pain and to stop the burning process.  If the burn covers a large area it is best to wait for rescue personnel who may need to use special treatment to prevent hypothermia.


§         Do not apply ice since it may increase tissue damage.

§         Do not apply butter, Vaseline, or other ointments, since these will trap heat and invite infection.

§         Do not break a blister caused by a burn.


Any large, deep burn should be treated immediately at the nearest emergency room or doctor.  To reduce the risk of shock, cover serious burns with a clean sheet and then cover the victim with a blanket for warmth.


REMEMBER:  Education is the best prevention.


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Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition Sponsors SAFE KIDS Week


The week of May 6-13, 2000 has been designated as National SAFE KIDS Week and the Utah state SAFE KIDS Coalition, along with our local coalitions and chapters, will be staging several local events.


The theme for the week is “Get Into the Game!” and our major focus will be on the prevention of sports injuries.  It has been estimated that half of all sports-related injuries could be prevented.  The Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition and all its affiliates are committed to keeping our children safe when participating in sports.


This year, the SAFE KIDS Coalition will partner with the Utah Freezz, the state’s first professional indoor soccer team, as well as athletic trainers and the Utah Department of Health to promote physical fitness, skills development, and safe play.


Some of the activities will include a soccer clinic and fitness training for kids and a safety clinic for parents and coaches.  Our biggest activity is a statewide event called Footsteps Around Utah, which will have students from dozens of schools across the state kicking a soccer ball while teachers measure the distance.  On May 13, we will unveil the total distance of all the kicks, which will symbolize the efforts of the children to kick the ball far enough to equal the distance across the state of Utah.


A second, similar event will be held in Monument Valley and Montezuma Creek in the southernmost corner of Utah.


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Last Year’s SAFE KIDS Week a Hit

S.L. County Coalition Wins National Award


The Salt Lake County SAFE KIDS Coalition realized its goal of becoming one of the best programs in the country when, on January 17, it was recognized for conducting the “Outstanding SAFE KIDS Week Program” in the United States for 1999.


According to director Bob Jeppesen, “The competition was fierce.  Over 260 other state and local coalitions throughout the country participated in SAFE KIDS Week programs.  So we’re very proud of this recognition.”


The S.L. County event was held at the Salt Palace May 8, 1999, and brought together business, government, educators and others to host the SAFE KIDS Week Safety Fair.  More than 4,000 parents, grandparents and children attended and learned safety skills to practice at home, at play and in vehicles.  One of the most popular exhibits was designed by a relative of two West Valley City girls who died while locked in a hot car trunk in 1997.  The young man’s project was titled “Trunks are for Elephants – Not for People.”


According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the event “maintained the finest tradition and spirit of the campaign’s mission and goals.”


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Save Your Sight

Kids Risk Serious Sports Eye Injuries


More children than ever are participating in organized sports and that’s, of course, a healthy trend.  But the increase in activities is also leading to a substantial rise in sports-related eye injuries.


With more than 100,000 of these injuries occurring nationally each year, it is vital for children to use eye protection while playing any sport.  Almost 25% of sports eye injuries lead to serious complications and some result in blindness.  The National Society to Prevent Blindness reports baseball injuries are most frequent among 5- to 14-year-olds and basketball injuries occur most often among children ages 15 and up.


Parents should know that every organized sport offers eye, full-face or total head protection equipment, which can be found in sporting goods stores or through the sports organizations themselves.  Kids should select the protection that is appropriate for their sport and level of play.


No eye injury should be treated lightly, but there are several symptoms that require immediate attention:


§         Blurred vision that does not clear with blinking

§         Loss of all or part of the vision in the eye

§         Sharp stabbing or deep throbbing pain in the eye

§         Double vision


A child with these symptoms should be seen immediately by a health care provider or an ophthalmologist.  Win at the game of life – wear eye protection!


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