Spring 2003 Sentinel
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The Sentinel Making Utah a Safer Place for Kids

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§         Wrap Your Arms Around Safety

§         Playing With Fire

§         Hiding in Plain Sight

§         Kids + Cars = Danger

§         If It Has Wheels

§         A Wet, Wild and Worry-Free Summer



Wrap Your Arms Around Safety


When our children need an extra dose of love or concern, we don’t hesitate to ‘wrap our arms around them’ and offer a comforting hug. This summer, the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition asks parents to “Wrap Your Arms Around Safety,” too, in another very important show of love and concern for your children.


Wrap Your Arms Around Safety is the theme for SAFE KIDS Week 2003 — May 3-17. During this time, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition will educate parents about traumatic brain injury prevention, fire and burn safety, car seat installation, drowning prevention and more.


SAFE KIDS encourages parents and kids to drop by one of the events happening near you to learn about safety. Activities like bike rodeos, fingerprinting, helmet fitting stations, rock climbing walls and more will be provided to teach families essential information about being safe.


We know that the leading cause of death for children under the age of 14 is unintentional injury. The real tragedy is that most of these deaths are preventable. Often all it takes is a helmet, car seat or smoke detector to save a life. These items are inexpensive, and a small price to pay for saving someone’s life.


Prevention is the key. It is estimated that, by taking simple precautions, nearly all (90%) of these unintentional injuries can be avoided.


So the next time you wrap your arms around a child, remember to wrap them around safety, too. For more information on all areas of child injury prevention, visit the SAFE KIDS Web site at www.safekids.org.


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Playing With Fire

Keeping Kids Safe from Burn Injuries


Each year thousands of children suffer burn-related injuries that require long periods of rehabilitation, multiple skin grafts and painful physical therapy. Some of the most common burns are caused by hair curlers, curling irons, room heaters, ovens, irons, fireworks, electrical cords, hot foods and liquids spilled in the kitchen, and hot tap water in sinks and tubs.


Prevention Tips


§         Never leave a child alone, especially in the bathroom or kitchen.

§         Install smoke detectors in your home on every level and in every sleeping area. Test them once a month, replace the batteries at least once a year, and replace the alarms every 10 years.

§         Set your water heater thermostat to 1200 F or below. Consider installing water faucets and showerheads containing anti-scald technology.

§         Keep matches, gasoline, lighters and all other flammable materials locked away and out of children's reach.

§         Use back burners and turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking.

§         Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Never carry or hold children with hot foods or liquids at the same time.

§         Never allow children to handle fireworks.

§         Keep appliance cords out of children's reach.

§         Cover unused electrical outlets with plug covers. For more information on fire and burn prevention, call or visit your local fire department.


Remember: Smoke detectors save lives … you can't escape if you're not awake.


“Because a young child's skin is thinner than that of older children and adults, it burns more deeply and at lower temperatures.”


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Hiding in Plain Sight

Hazards in Your Home


How safe is your home for your child? Any 'home sweet home' may have numerous hidden hazards. To help reduce the risks in your home the Utah SAFE KIDS Coalition offers the following guidelines:


Childproofing Steps


§         Safety, not convenience, comes first when childproofing the home. Lock all potentially harmful products out of children’s reach, including paper shredders, garbage cans, knives, scissors and curling irons.

§         Get down on your hands and knees and explore the home from a child’s point of view. Ask yourself “What looks tempting?” “What is within reach?” Look for potential dangers between the floor and about 40 inches above the floor. Also, check floors and carpets for buried dangers like pins, buttons, paper clips, dry pet food, latex balloons or coins.

§         Lock medicine cabinets.

§         Install toilet locks. When children lean into a toilet bowl, they can lose their balance, fall forward and drown.

§         Request child-resistant packaging. Whenever possible, purchase medications in child-resistant containers. Keep in mind that child-resistant does not mean childproof. These medicines still need to be locked up and out of a child's reach.

§         Keep a one-once bottle of ipecac syrup in the medicine cabinet for each child. If a child is unintentionally poisoned, treatment may include inducing vomiting by ipecac syrup. Use only on the advice of the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or a physician. Keep these and other emergency numbers by every phone in the home.

§         Keep beds and cribs away from windows and drapery. Children can strangle in drapery cords or fall from windows that are near the bed or crib. Retrofit current blinds with safety devices or consider purchasing cordless window coverings. Never tie strings on pacifiers or hang purses on doorknobs.

§         Check the house for fire hazards. Look for obvious fire hazards such as frayed electrical wires or flammable materials near heat sources such as space heaters. Never run electrical cords under rugs.

§         Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in every sleeping area in your home and check batteries monthly. CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by fuel burning appliances. Exposure to even low levels of this poisonous gas can be fatal to a small child.

§         Use safety gates. Stairs are particularly dangerous and falls from stairs tend to result in more severe injuries. Use safety gates both at the top and bottom of stairs.

§         Do not allow children to walk around with silverware, lollipops or toothbrushes in their mouth.

§         Never use baby walkers on wheels. Use walker alternatives or stationary activity centers.

§         If firearms are kept in the house, keep them locked, unloaded and stored out of reach. Secure ammunition in a separate, locked location.

§         Keep first aid supplies on hand. Make sure parents and other caregivers know where to find the supplies in your home and how to respond in an emergency.


Source: National SAFE KIDS Campaign


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Kids + Cars = Danger

Don't Make a Fatal Mistake


Despite regular reminders and repeated warnings, some parents still believe it's okay to leave a child in a car for "just a minute" to run an errand.


Sadly, we can't ask the more than two dozen children who were left inside hot cars in 2002 whether "just a minute" was a minute too long. Because those kids are dead.


The National SAFE KIDS Campaign® reports that in the U.S., at least 30 children died of hyperthermia (heat stroke) last year after they were abandoned inside a hot vehicle. Many of these children were left behind or forgotten by an adult, while others gained access to an unlocked car and couldn't get out. And these are only the cases officials know about.


What Happens to a Child's Body?


Extreme heat is dangerous for infants and children. Heat rapidly overwhelms the body resulting in shock, lack of circulation to organs and may cause permanent injury or death.


When the temperature outside reaches 80o F, a car's interior temperature can reach dangerous levels in just minutes, even with a window cracked.


Tips and Guidelines


SAFE KIDS offers the following safety precautions to help prevent heat-related injuries:


§         Never leave your child in a motor vehicle, even with the windows down.

§         Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.

§         Always lock car doors and trunks - even at home - and keep keys out of reach.

§         Watch children closely around cars, particularly when loading or unloading items.

§         Always make sure all child passengers have left the car when you reach your destination.

§         Don't overlook sleeping infants.

§         When restraining children in a car that has been parked in the heat, check to make sure seating surfaces and equipment (car seat and seat belt buckles) aren't overly hot.

§         If your child gets locked inside a car, get him out and dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

§         Use a thin covering to shade the seat of your parked car. Consider using windshield shades in front and back windows.

§         Car trunks can be especially hazardous. Keep the trunk locked at all times, especially when parked in the driveway or near the home.

§         Contact your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.

§         Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.

§         Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver's door locks if they unintentionally become entrapped in a motor vehicle.


Remember: Never leave your child alone in or around cars.


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If It Has Wheels —

You'd Better Use a Helmet


As temperatures climb, kids everywhere are anxious to hit the road — on bikes, skateboards, scooters and roller blades. As fun as they may be, they're a potential danger for riders who fail to wear a helmet.


Everyone knows helmets help prevent deaths and injuries; everyone also knows how tough it can be to get kids to wear them. So, put your own helmet on, insist that your children wear theirs, and keep in mind that different activities require different helmets:


§         A regular bike helmet can be used for biking.

§         Skateboards, scooters and in-line skates require a multi-sport helmet. Designed differently to cover more of the back of the head, multi-sport helmets can withstand several impacts; bike helmets are designed for one impact only.

§         The Bike Helmet Safety Institute warns against allowing any child 12 months or younger to ride on a bike, whether in a backpack, trailer, child carrier or a sidecar. The jolting that occurs on a bike ride could cause Shaken Baby Syndrome or other serious injuries. Take your infant on a walk instead of a bike ride.


To increase your chances of getting your child to wear a helmet on every ride:


§         Let your child choose his/her own helmet at the store, they may be more likely to wear it.

§         Store helmets near bikes, skate-boards, roller-blades, etc. That way they'll always be easier to find and put on.

§         Wear a helmet yourself. Why would Junior want to wear one if Dad doesn't?


And remember:

For a safe summer, if it has wheels…wear a helmet!


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A Wet, Wild and Worry-Free Summer


With summer fast approaching, chances are your kids are planning for a wild time in the water. Pools, lakes, ponds and beaches can offer exciting recreational opportunities for the whole family. But water can also be a dangerous place for children:


§         Nearly 1,000 children die every year by drowning.

§         60 percent of drownings involving children younger than 5 occur in home swimming pools.

§         Drowning is a quick and silent killer. In the time it takes to…

  • cross the room for a towel (10 seconds), a child in the bathtub can become submerged.
  • answer the phone (2 minutes), that child can lose consciousness
  • sign for a package at your front door (4 to 6 minutes), a child submerged in the bathtub or pool can sustain permanent brain damage.

§         Almost 75% of all preschoolers who drowned were in the care of one or both parents at the time of drowning and had been out of sight for less than 5 minutes.


Knowledge is a powerful tool for combating these tragedies. Knowing how and where children drown, as well as the concrete steps you can take to avoid danger, may make a life-and-death difference for your family.


How Can You Keep Your Child Safe?


The most important thing to remember when it comes to water safety is that children need constant supervision around water — whether the water is in a bathtub, a wading pool, an ornamental fishpond, a swimming pool, a spa, the beach or a lake.


Young children are especially at risk — they can drown in less than 2 inches of water.

Drowning can happen where you least expect it — the sink, the toilet bowl, fountains, buckets, inflatable pools, or small bodies of standing water around your home, such as ditches filled with rain water.


Learn to swim, and if your child is older than 4 years, have him learn to swim, too. Don't assume, however, that just because your child knows how to swim, she won't drown. Always supervise your children while they are in the water, no matter what their swimming skill levels.


Invest in properly fitting, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices (life vests) and use them whenever a child is near water. Check the weight and size recommendations on the label. Make sure it fits your child snugly. For children younger than 5, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support — the collar will keep the child's head up and his/her face out of the water. Inflatable vests and arm devices such as water wings are not effective against drowning.


The bathroom is full of dangers for a young child. Never leave a young child unattended in the bathroom, especially while bathing — even if the child appears to be secure in a safety tub or bath ring.


Awareness can go a long way in preventing injuries outside the home. Find out where the water hazards in your neighborhood are. Who has a pool or water spa? Where are the retaining ponds or creeks that may attract children? Make neighbors who have pools aware that you have a young child and ask them to keep their gates locked.


Water play can be a great source of fun and exercise. Everyone will enjoy the water experience more by knowing and practicing water safety precautions.


Source: www.primarychildrens.com (Kids Health)


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