Happy (Safe) July 4th!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

To help you celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety offer the following safety tips:

1. Always read and follow label directions.
2. Have an adult present.
3. Buy from reliable sellers.
4. Use outdoors only.
5. Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
6. Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
7. Light only one firework at a time.
8. Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
9. Never give fireworks to small children.
10.If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
11.Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
12.Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
13.Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
14.Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
15.The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
16.Stay away from illegal explosives.

Have a Safe July 4th!


Monday, June 21, 2010

There is a fine line between, “Hooray, school’s out!!” and “Mom and Dad, we’re bored!” Far too often, the TV, video games, and the computer become the “default” time abuser for our kids! With just a little pre-planning, their summer can become full of good times and memories!

First, parents might want to review a list of chores for your kids to complete before the fun stuff begins. This makes certain the “work” is done before the good times roll! Next, you might encourage everyone to write down 5 things each person in the family would like to do over the summer months. A concrete list helps goals become reality. Ask everyone to be realistic on most of the goals. Examples of this could be: Have a neighborhood sprinkler party; have more than one friend spend the night; or go canoeing. It should be explained that all MAY NOT be achievable for one summer, but at least everyone knows what the goals are. It’ll be nice to know everyone’s goals, and you might be surprised on how the lists overlap, so the family might hit “2 for the price of 1”.

There could be another list created called a “Hope for… “This list might be outside the normal day-to-day achievable goals. Some examples might be to see Mickey Mouse, or to get a new bike. The “Hope for’s” are nice to know, and can be saved for special events like vacations (or whenever possible, e.g. if you hit the lottery; get a raise, etc!) Perhaps the kids could raise their own cash for these during the summer by selling lemonade, pet sitting, yard sales, and yard work. ***Be sure to get the kids a cheap camera to document their summer and capture memories!

Here is my “on-growing” list of things to do: Join 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s or YWCA’s. Check in with your local parks department to see what activities they have going. The library has summer programs. There are camps of all types. Take them to the zoo; play flashlight tag; capture (and release!) lightning bugs; go on bike rides*; make an easy list of items to find on a scavenger hunt; there can be lake or beach days. There’s also camping, tennis, basketball, soccer, softball and baseball*, skating, (in-line and regular)*; skateboard parks*; state and national parks; water parks; theme parks; horseback riding*; boating*.

*Remember helmets, life vests, sunscreen and bug repellant! AND REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CHILDREN

Submitted by: Carol Pool, PCAIN Prevention Education Specialist

Happy Father's Day - June 20th

Monday, June 14, 2010

Did you know that the United States is only one of a handful of countries in the world that has an official day on which fathers are honored by their children? On the third Sunday in June, fathers all across the United States are given presents, treated to dinner or otherwise made to feel special. Those of us men that are blessed enough to be able to be honored this day owe our gratitude, not surprisingly, to a woman - Mrs. Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. She thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. Smart, who was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington State.

After Sonora became an adult she realized the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. In 1909, Sonora approached her own minister and others in Spokane about having a church service dedicated to fathers on June 5, her father's birthday. That date was too soon for her minister to prepare the service, so he spoke a few weeks later on June 19th. From then on, the state of Washington celebrated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.

States and organizations began lobbying Congress to declare an annual Father's Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea, but it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations." Since then, fathers had been honored and recognized by their families throughout the country on the third Sunday in June. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's, and then six years later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day.

As any dad will tell you, there is no Father’s Day that is ever more special for a man than his very first one as a dad. I celebrated my first in 2006, and I still have that very first Father’s Day card displayed in my office. And it was made all the more special by being able to share it with my own father (really my step-father, but he’s the dad I never had). For the first time, I understood what the day meant to him, too. It’s hard to put into words the pride and joy that I held in my heart as I looked out over the dinner table with my dad to the right of me and my new baby son to the left. It is a day of such happiness!

As has become an annual tradition for the media, however, in the days leading up to Father’s Day, you will begin to be bombarded with stories and images of deadbeats, abusers, abandoners and other so-called “men” that give the whole lot of us a bad reputation. It’s almost as if Father’s Day has now become a day not to honor fathers, but rather to admonish them and look down on them with a despicable glare.

I am the media’s greatest hallelujah choir in taking these “men” to task for their irresponsibility and bad decisions. But Father’s Day is NOT the time to do it. Father’s Day is a day that we honor good men who own up to their responsibilities and, while they’re not perfect, are good dads. We should be using this day to raise up and praise fatherhood, sending a positive message about why engaged dads are so important to their children and communities, and highlighting those dads that are worthy of having this day named for them, just as Sonora Dodd did 101 years ago.

What message are we otherwise sending to the next generation of fathers - and mothers – if this day is just to talk about all of the bad things that some “fathers” are and do? If all they hear about on this day that is all about dads is how fatherhood is bad, what prize are we giving them to aspire to? What 4 year-old wants to grow up to be a “bad guy” or marry a “super villain”? Wouldn’t being a good father be more attractive if it means being a “real man” or a “superhero”? As I always say, any member of the male species who has the ability to reproduce can be a father; it takes man to be a daddy. Let’s use June 20th to celebrate daddies!

Contributed by Christopher D. Maples, Dad & Director, Dads Inc. - A Division of The Villages

Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's hard enough to get grownups to wash up. Only two-thirds of adults wash their hands after they use the restroom, studies show.

How do we get our kids into the hand-washing habit, then? The obvious first step is to practice what you preach: Wash your hands before eating or cooking a meal, after using the bathroom and after working or playing with your hands.

More than half of food-related illness outbreaks are caused by unwashed or poorly washed hands, says the American Society for Microbiology. For example, outbreaks hepatitis A in children in day-care centers have been directly connected to lack of hand-washing after changing diapers or using the bathroom.

Other pathogens such as E. coli, Shigella and Norwalk virus have also been spread by lack of hand washing. Spread of other conditions such as respiratory infections, impetigo and conjunctivitis (pinkeye) also can be prevented by washing hands with soap and water.

Tell your children to wash their hands before a meal, after using the bathroom and after playing. Show them how to do it, over and over. Don't get frustrated: It takes a while for the habit to become second nature, says the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
Children know when and why and how to wash their hands, but they forget to, the APIC says. They will wash their hands if the dirt is the obvious kind like mud or finger paints. Less obvious dirt and germs tend to be ignored.

Tips for washing, Try these techniques:
• Wash in warm or hot running water, which is more effective at dissolving oils.
• Keep water running throughout the washing to ensure greatest removal of bacteria.
• Use soap.
• Wash all hand surfaces: palms, back of hands, fingers and fingernails.
• Rub lathered hands together for at least 15 seconds, and up to 30 seconds (about as long as it takes you to recite the ABCs).

If a child is too small to reach the sink and can be safely cradled in one arm, hold the child to help him or her wash hands. A child who can stand should either use a child-sized sink or stand on a safety step at a height that allows the child's hands reach the running water. An alternative method for children who can’t reach the running water and are too heavy to hold is to wipe the child’s hands with a damp and soapy paper towel. Use another clean, wet paper towel to rinse soap off the hands. Dry the hands with a third clean paper towel. Wash your own hands after helping the child.

Printed from Brigham and Women's Hospital


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Regular seat belt use is the single best way to protect yourself and your family in motor vehicle crashes," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing. But the cost for not wearing one certainly will. Don't risk your life, or getting a ticket. Please remember to buckle up day and night – every trip, every time."

The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is set to run from May 24 through June 6, 2010. The mobilization, expected to involve more than 10,000 police agencies, is supported by $8 million in national advertising funded through Congress and coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Thousands of people die each day as a result of vehicle accidents because they were not wearing seat belts. According to the laws of physics, if a vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour, its contents and passengers are also moving at 30 miles per hour. The vehicles sudden stop at 30 miles per hour can mean the difference of life or death to the passengers wearing seatbelts.

The top 5 things you should know about buckling up:

1. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. In 2008, seat belts saved more than 13,000 lives nationwide. During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being completely thrown out of a vehicle is almost always deadly. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.
2. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. In fact, if you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into rapidly opening frontal air bag; a movement of such force could injure or even kill you. See www.safercar.gov for more on air bag safety.
3. How to buckle up safely:
a. Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
b. Adjust the lap belt across your hlps below your stomach.
c. NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
4. Fit matters
a. Before you buy a new car, check to see that its seat belts are a good fit for you.
b. Ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters, which can help you get the best fit.
c. If you need a roomier belt, contact your vehicle manufacturer to obtain seat belt extenders.
d. If you drive an older or classic car with lap belts only, check with your vehicle manufacturer about how to retrofit your car with today’s safer lap/shoulder belts.
5. Occupant protection is for everyone.
a. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at www.nhtsa.gov and click on 4 Steps for Kids to find out how to secure your littlest passengers.
b. If you’re expecting a little one check out NHTSA’s “Should pregnant women wear seat belts?” brochure online to learn how important it is for you – and your unborn child – to buckle up the right way every trip, every time.

This information was gathered from the www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov and www.nhtsa.gov websites. For more information about seat belts, child safety seats, air bags and adapting motor vehicles for drivers with special needs, call the DOT Auto Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.nhtsa.gov