Young-passengers-400-04526567d-300x200The recent drop in temperature was a sudden reminder that winter is on its way – time to break out the heavy coats and other cold weather gear. For drivers, it’s also time to reassess your safety checklist before hitting the road, especially when travelling with young children.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds us that it can be just as dangerous to leave young children alone in a car during the winter as it is in the summer. Children are more susceptible than adults to injuries from the cold.

In light of this, it can be challenging to keep young children warm and safe while  in the car. Bulky winter clothing can interfere with the harnesses of child car seats, resulting in a fit too loose to protect the child in the event of an accident. For tips on how to overcome this and other winter hazards, read the NHTSA’s article “Keep Your Little Ones Warm and Safe in Their Car Seats.

halloween-blog-400-04275425d-300x200It seems like almost from the moment summer ends and school starts, kids (and by default their parents) start thinking about Halloween: the costumes, the parties, the trick-or-treating and, of course, the treats. It’s a fun time of year, but it is also one that is fraught with risks.

Almost everything associated with the holiday – from the decorations to the costumes to the treats – harbors the potential for injury. As a parent, you want to make sure your kids’ costumes won’t catch fire, cause them to trip or impede their vision, and that they use caution when walking on dark roads. Property owners want to provide a safe path for trick-or-treaters and hosts want to take care that their guests are aware of possible food allergens. Fortunately, there are still two weeks before the holiday – plenty of time to take an assessment and remedy any risks you may find. This Halloween safety checklist can help you identify some potential problems you may otherwise overlook.

teen-driver-crash-risk-400-04575501d-300x200Lack of skill and experience may be partially to blame for the high rate of serious car accidents involving teen drivers, but it doesn’t explain the disparities in risk levels among equally inexperienced drivers. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Centre may have found the answer.

The researchers discovered a link between the rate of development of a teen driver’s ‘working memory’ and his or her crash risk. “Working memory’ is associated with the ability to accurately perform moment-to-moment tasks that are essential to safe driving.

Teen driving statistics are frightening. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers in the 17- to 19-year-old age group are at a higher risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident than drivers in any other age group. In fact, drivers age 16 to 17 are nine times more likely than adult drivers to get into an accident and six times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Can this new information be used to improve these numbers and keep our teens safe on the road? Read “Study links youths’ slow ‘working memory’ to high crash rates” to find out.

infant-sleeper-recall-400-06394336d-300x214A recall of inclined infant sleepers earlier this year illustrates the need for parents to not only heed the recall warnings themselves, but also to make sure their children’s caretakers are doing likewise.

In early April, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall affecting some 5 million Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers and another approximately 700,000 similar inclined sleepers from Kids II after the products had been linked to more than 50 infant deaths. Yet, despite the recall, some daycare centers were found to still be using these sleepers.

The recall system in this country puts the burden on consumers to make sure they receive alerts about recalls and product defects. Registering the products upon purchase will ensure receipt of recall information, but this doesn’t help consumers or daycare centers that use secondhand equipment. Until the method for issuing recall notices is revised, parents are urged to keep the lines of communication with their children’s caregivers open. For more information regarding this issue read, “Dangerous Fisher-Price and Kids II Infant Sleepers Still Used in Day Care Centers.”

water-safety-tips-400-05103031d-199x300A New Jersey teen recently suffered serious injury after falling 35 feet into a secluded swimming hole in upstate New York. Fortunately, she was with friends who were able to call for help. However, the remote location of the swimming hole hindered first responders’ efforts, prolonging their rescue attempts and increasing the dangers not only to the victim but to the first responders themselves. One reason swimmers are advised to stay in designated areas supervised by lifeguards is so that help, if they should need it, can get to them safely and efficiently.

As inviting as it may be to jump into the nearest body of water – whether it be a pool, the ocean, a nearby lake or swimming hole – to beat the heat during the dog days of summer, failing to take precautions can quickly turn this enjoyable pastime into tragedy. Each summer there are stories of young children falling into backyard pools or strong swimmers being caught in riptides proving that point. To avoid tragedies like these from falling on you or your loved ones, familiarize yourself with the Swimming Safety Tips issued by the American Red Cross and stay diligent.

electric-scooter-400-03992047d-200x300There has been a noticeable increase in the popularity of electric scooters in recent years and, with that, an increase in the number of facial and head injuries being reported by emergency departments. According to a recent Rutgers study, the correlation between the two may be due, at least in part, to a lack of standardized regulations.

The study revealed that over the past 10 years, emergency departments reported 990 injuries to the head and face directly resulting from electric scooter use. Most of the injured were men ranging in age from 19 to 65 years; although 33 percent of those injured were children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. The study further disclosed that 66 percent of those injured reported that they were not wearing helmets while riding.

Laws regulating electric scooters and the use of helmets and other protective gear vary by state and those variations can be significant. Some states have no regulations regarding electric scooters or helmet usage while others, like New Jersey, apply the same laws to electric scooters as they do to bicycles. Read “E-Scooter Injuries on the Rise; Researchers Urge Helmet Laws” for further details.

bounce-house-400-05289821d-200x300Summer brings a number of reasons for family and friend outdoor get-togethers: graduations, birthdays, holiday celebrations, family reunions. If you’re plans include renting a bounce house to entertain the kids – both the little ones and the older ones – be aware of the potential dangers these structures present and how to avoid injuries to your guests.

News reports earlier this month disclosed that five students suffered injuries when a bounce house featured at a high school event was lifted 20 feet in the air by a strong gust of wind. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. There have been a number of injuries reported in recent years from bounce house accidents in which high winds caused the houses to become untethered and blow away. For tips on how to avoid this from happening at your next outdoor celebration, read “Bounce house flies away . . .

baby-walkers-400-06876419d-300x200The past couple of decades has seen a significant reduction in the number of baby walker-related injuries thanks to stricter safety standards, but is that enough? Not according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and at least one New Jersey lawmaker who want to see a ban on the sale of these items.

Baby walkers are used by very young children full of curiosity but totally unaware of the potential dangers around them. On top of that, these devises allow babies to travel at surprisingly quick speeds – up to 4 feet per second. This combination leads to thousands of injuries each year

Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex) recently introduced a bill that would prohibit anyone in the State from selling baby walkers and impose fines of $10,000 for first-time offenders and $20,000 for subsequent violations. Although the bill was endorsed by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee this past February, it does not have a companion bill in the Assembly nor a sponsor other than Greenstein. What’s more is that opponents claim such a State ban may be prohibited under Federal law. To learn more read, “New Jersey senator wants baby walkers removed from stores.”

cosmetics-warning-400-06517381d-300x200Do you know what’s in the cosmetics you or your children are using? Many people probably don’t take the time to investigate the ingredients in their cosmetics unless they experience some kind of reaction to a particular product. Even if you don’t have a visible reaction, though, your cosmetics could contain unsafe ingredients that could cause injury or illness over the long-term.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has urged Congress to update rules regarding cosmetics safety after issuing an alert advising consumers against using three cosmetics products sold through Claire’s Stores Inc. after tests showed these products contained asbestos, a recognized cancer-causing agent. The accessories company has disputed these claims. To learn more read, “FDA Warns of Asbestos in Claire’s Cosmetics; Company Disputes Claim.”

toy-car-recall-400-05686527d-200x300Children love playing with cars, especially ones they can “drive” themselves. Toy vehicles present children with a great introduction to the rules of the road and the importance of mechanical upkeep. As adult drivers, we’re familiar with vehicle recalls for everything from airbags to tires and any number of other mechanical defects that could lead to injury. While some defects are more serious than others, adult drivers know the best response to a recall is to get the vehicle to the dealer or mechanic as soon as possible for repairs. That’s another lesson children can learn from one of the most recent recalls currently making the news.

Fisher-Price recently recalled thousands of one of its Barbie trademarked vehicles due to a faulty pedal. According to reports, the car continues to run even after the gas pedal has been released. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported as of yet due to this defect, but the toy manufacturer is urging parents to take the car away from their children until repairs can be made. For more details and information on how to have your child’s Barbie car repaired, read “Fisher-Price recalls 44,000 Barbie toy electric cars over faulty pedal.”