Spring 2001 Sentinel
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The Sentinel Making Utah a Safer Place for Kids

Select an article below, or download the entire issue:

§         2001 Summer Safety Seat-A-Thon

§         Belt, Buckle and Boost

§         Ipecac Syrup – A Household Must-Have

§         Water, Water Everywhere

§         Warm Weather Warnings

§         Teen Drivers Face New Restrictions

§         Going Camping?  Get a Clue!

§         Make Your Home a Safe Haven



2001 Summer Safety Seat-A-Thon


In observance of National SAFE KIDS Week May 5-12, the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition wants to inspect your car seat!  As part of this year’s events, coalition members and volunteers are traveling across Utah in a marathon effort to check as many car seats as possible in one week.  “We’re actually going to attempt to set a world record with this,” 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.”


The coalition will get help from its friends for this effort, including AAA Utah, FOX 13, Clear Channel, State Farm Insurance, and the Blitzz pro soccer team.  Players will accompany coalition members as they travel from Logan to St. George over the course of SAFE KIDS Week.  Certified car seat checkers will be available to check existing seats if parents aren’t sure they’re properly installed.  “This project is very dear to all of us on the coalition,” said Rhonda Parker of the Utah Highway Safety Office.  “We see too many kids injured and killed who could have been saved if they’d just been in the proper restraint,” she said.  “We know this effort will save lives.”


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Belt, Buckle and Boost

Learn the Three Bs of Car Seat Safety

By Janet Brooks, Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition Co-chair


During the past decade, more than 90,000 children died in motor vehicle crashes on our nation’s highways.  In Utah, from January 1997 through December 1998, 129 children died in crashes in Utah.  What a senseless preventable waste of life!


On February 8, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign® released a state-by-state report card regarding child passenger safety laws.  Utah did well, ranking 14th in the nation.  But the state also received a “D” grade due to our current restraint laws.  Utah’s law requires all children under age five to be in an approved child safety seat.  As well, all vehicle occupants 18 years and younger must be restrained in a seat belt or child safety seat.


Although statistics show some improvement in the use of restraints for children up to age four, research shows fewer than ten percent of parents are using booster seats for their children ages four through eight.  At these ages, children are still quite small and are not protected by adult safety belts.  In fact, adult seat belts can cause severe and even fatal injuries to children weighing between 40 to 80 pounds.  “Most children this size simply slide out from under adult belts,” says pediatrician Tom Metcalf, M.D., “and are left to fly around the car or out a window.”  Parents must be aware of the four steps proven to keep children safer:


1.      Use rear-facing seats for children from birth to at least 20 pounds and 1 year of age.

2.      Use forward-facing seats for children over 20 pounds and at least 1 year old to about 40 pounds and 4 years old.

3.      Use belt-positioning booster seats for children from about 40 to 80 pounds and up to 4 feet 9 inches tall.

4.      Use seat belts for older children large enough for the belt to fit correctly:  at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and about 80 pounds.


The Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition recognizes that laws are only the beginning of a process to protect all children.  Over the next five years our coalition will be working on regulations and legislation that will help bring Utah’s death and injury rate down.  Among other things we will:

§         Work to better educate parents about the need for booster seats for older children

§         Stress the need to change Utah’s law allowing drivers to transport children without restraints if all other seating positions are occupied by restrained passengers

§         Seek additional funding for public education programs

§         Continue to improve access to loaner and giveaway programs


For more information about the safe transportation of children, please call (801) 588-CARS (2277).


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Ipecac Syrup – A Household Must-Have

But Don’t Use it Without First Calling for Help


Ipecac syrup is used to cause vomiting in some cases of poison exposures, and is the safest and most effective way to induce vomiting at home.  However, there are certain chemicals that can cause damage to a child’s mouth and esophagus if they are vomited back up.  Also, if you are trying to make a child regurgitate a swallowed object, remember that the child may choke on that item when is comes back up.  And keep in mind that sticking a finger down a child’s throat is not effective and may be harmful.


For those reasons, it’s important you call your doctor or the Poison Control Center before administering ipecac syrup or any other foods or liquids if you think your child has swallowed something harmful.  It will be up to the experts at Poison Control or your doctor’s office to determine whether inducing vomiting is recommended based on the type of poison exposure.


Ipecac syrup can be purchased in a 1-ounce bottle without a prescription at any pharmacy.  Keep one bottle of ipecac syrup on hand for each child under 6 years of age in your home.


Remember – ipecac syrup should be used only on the advice of the Poison Control Center or a physician.


Source:  Poison Smart Utah, Fall 2000


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Water, Water Everywhere

Utah Lakes and Streams Invite Danger

By Bob Jeppesen, Salt Lake County SAFE KIDS Coalition


So, parents, the kids will be out of school for the summer soon.  What are you going to do with them?  Chances are you’ll make several trips to rivers, lakes and pools in search of sunshine and fun.  The Salt Lake County SAFE KIDS Coalition wants to remind parents that ensuring safety is a critical first step for a fun day.  Despite a 34 percent decline from 1987 to 1998, drowning is still the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths of children age 14 and under.  Knowledge is a powerful tool to combat these tragedies.


All parents should:


§         Enroll their children in an approved swimming course.  Parents should also know how to swim.

§         Always watch your kids, even in a shallow wading pool.  A child can drown in less than an inch of water.

§         Pay attention when near open water.  Be aware of undercurrents, changing waves and undertows when at an ocean, river or lake.

§         Adults and kids over 13 should learn CPR.

§         Inspect and maintain watercraft and gear once a year.

§         Never let children dive unless they’ve learned proper technique, an adult is present (and uses common sense), and the depth of the water is greater than 9 feet, and never dive from cliffs unless you know what’s under the surface.

§         Always wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD) around oceans, rivers, lakes or when participating in water sports.

§         Always swim with a buddy.  Swimming alone is very dangerous.

§         Exercise caution if swimming in extremely cold water.

§         Know how to use rescue equipment and learn emergency procedures.


Remember SAFE KIDS Are No Accident!


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Warm Weather Warnings

Some Tips from Your Utah Poison Control Center


Spring’s rising temperatures bring a whole new set of dangers for your children.  Be aware and ready to react with these helpful hints:




§         Know the names of the plants in your home and yard.  Label all plants.  If you can’t identify one, ask a nursery.

§         Keep poisonous plants out of reach of kids and pets.  Call the Poison Control Center for a list of poisonous plants.

§         Teach your children not to eat mushrooms, leaves or berries growing in the yard.

§         Keep children and pets away from plants that have been recently sprayed with weed killer, bug killer or fertilizer.  Chemicals on the lawn are especially dangerous to small children who are crawling.  Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can be extremely toxic.


Household & Chemical Products


§         Store all products in their original containers.  DO NOT use food containers such as milk jugs or soda bottles to store household and chemical products, either in the house or in the garage.

§         All medicines and household cleaning products should be stored in locked cabinets, out of the reach and sight of children.

§         Be aware that “childproof” caps are not really CHILD PROOF.  They are only child resistant and, given enough time, children will manage to open the container.


Spiders & Snakes


§         Vacuum around doorways and windowsills to remove spiders and their webs.

§         When hiking, wear long pants and shoes that protect the ankles.

§         Look carefully where you are walking and placing your hands.

§         When camping, always use a flashlight after dark for activities like gathering firewood.

§         Choose campsites away from woodpiles, cave entrances, swampy areas or thick underbrush.


If Poisoning Occurs


§         Remain calm!

§         Do not wait for the child to look or feel sick!  Call the Utah Poison Control Center at 581-2151 or (800) 456-7707 from outside the Salt Lake Valley, or your family physician.  There is no charge for calling the Poison Control Center.

§         Do no administer ipecac syrup unless instructed by the Poison Control Center or your physician (see article).


Last year, 60% of the more than 37,000 human poison exposure calls to the Utah Poison Control Center involved children younger than six.  For educational pamphlets and emergency telephone stickers, call 585-7187.


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Teen Drivers Face New Restrictions

By Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah


If you’re among the thousands of Utah parents who worry when their teens get a driver’s license, the Utah legislature has done something to lessen your anxiety.  Lawmakers passed the “passenger limitation” component of Utah’s Graduated Driver Licensing law which states that a teen may not carry friends as passengers in a vehicle for the first six months of licensure.  They may drive alone, with family members, or with friends if there is an adult licensed driver in the front seat.  Exceptions to this include driving to and from school, school activities, church activities and agricultural work IF they have a not of approval from a parent or guardian.


It’s well known that young drivers have the highest number of crashes, injuries and deaths of anyone on the road.  And the majority of those crashes occur when teens are driving with teens.


§         Crashes – In Utah a teen driver crash occurs every half-hour.

§         Speeding – 15- to 17-year-old drivers are 2.5 times more likely to be cited for speeding when traveling with passengers than when traveling alone.

§         Fatalities – 15- to 17-year-old drivers are 5 times more likely to have a fatal crash when traveling with passengers than when traveling alone.


The addition of the passenger limitation component is critical because it gives young drivers the time and experience to develop their driving skills before having to cope with the distractions that occur when they carry passengers – especially teenage passengers.


AAA Utah and the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition urge parents to take the lead in making their children obey the laws.  The consequences of crashes can be life-changing.  It’s up to you to protect your children from a needless tragedy.


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Going Camping?  Get a Clue!


Summer is a fun time to camp and spend time outdoors with the family.  But camping also has the potential for danger.  We can reduce unsafe situations by “clueing in” to some simple guidelines.  First, always carrying the following items:


§         First aid kit

§         Whistle (for making noise when lost)

§         Waterproof matches

§         Emergency blanket

§         Compass

§         Candy bar/emergency snacks

§         Rope

§         Flashlight

§         Pocketknife


This equipment will help you survive in most situations.  Other tips include staying warm and drinking lots of water.  But be careful of drinking water from streams or rivers because it often contains organisms that can make you sick.  If you must drink stream water, boil it for at least 10 minutes or filter it with a purification kit.  You can also add iodine to the water, but be sure to read the instructions to find out how many drops to add, and how long to wait after adding the drops before drinking the water.


Another issue to be aware of is campfires.  When choosing an area to make a fire, be sure there are no overhanging branches near your fire and always make a fire pit by placing rocks in a circle.  Make your fire inside of this circle.  Before leaving the fire, always make sure it is completely out and that there are no hot coals left.  By using these guidelines, and keeping up on other safety tips, you can make your camping experience a safe one.


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Make Your Home a Safe Haven


Half of all childhood injuries and injury-related deaths occur in and around the home.  Most home injury deaths are caused by fire and burns, drowning, airway obstructions, firearms, poisons and falls.  Younger children are especially at risk of being injured in the home because it is where they spend the majority of their time.


Please use the following room-by-room checklist to making your home a safer place:


General Safety Tips


§         Keep all medicines and household chemicals out of reach of children or in a locked cabinet.

§         Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in hallways close to bedrooms, with at least one on each level of your home.


Baby’s room


§         Place cribs away from windows so children can’t reach blinds or curtain cords.

§         Window blind cords should be wrapped up around cord wraps or separated to prevent strangulation.

§         Install a bed rail when your child moves from a crib to a bed.

§         Use only cornstarch-based baby powder (no talc) and keep it out of reach so that your baby doesn’t inhale it.




§         Adjust your water heater so the water temperature never exceeds 120 degrees F.

§         Keep razors, medicine, cosmetics, after-shave and mouthwash out of your child’s reach.

§         Never let any amount of water stand in the tub.

§         Never leave a child unattended in the tub.

§         Always keep toilet lids down and secured with a toilet lock.

§         Install safety latches on all cabinets and drawers.

§         Use non-slip bath mats on the bottom of your tub.

§         Cover bath spouts with a soft cover to prevent injuries from falls.


Halls and stairways


§         Put nonskid pads under area rugs.

§         Install gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

§         Keep clutter off stairs to prevent falls.

§         Put childproof safety plugs in all unused electrical outlets.




§         Store hazardous items out of reach.  Keep sharp knives in drawers with child-resistant latches.

§         Install latches on cabinets that contain cleaning liquids and dishwasher detergent.

§         Always turn pot handles inward and use the rear burners.

§         If you child can open the oven door, consider installing a special safety latch.

§         Children often grab electrical cords and pull heavy appliances down on themselves, so keep cords out of reach.

§         Install stove shields, which make burner and oven controls inaccessible from below but detach easily for cooking.  You could also remove control knobs to the burners and oven when you’re not using them.

§         Avoid tablecloths, since toddlers can pull them down and spill hot foods on themselves.

§         Don’t keep vitamins or medicines on your kitchen table.

§         Stow garbage under the sink or make sure the can has a secure lid.

§         Cover the garbage disposal switch with a dome-type outlet plate


Family room and living room


§         Always check behind the cushions of the sofa and under furniture for coins and small plastic parts for toys that pose choking hazards.

§         Keep houseplants up high

§         Apply special edging strips to sharp corners and edges on coffee tables.  (Better yet, move the coffee table out of the center of the room for the next year or two.)

§         Be aware of top-heavy furniture and TVs on stands; toddlers can pull them over on top of themselves.

§         Be sure your fireplace or wood-burning stove has a barrier.

§         Keep guns unloaded, locked and out of reach.  Store ammunition in a separate lock-up.


Parent’s bedroom


§         Keep the top of your dresser free of perfumes or medicines.  Store such items in medicine cabinets or chests with safety latches.<