Tag Archives: child safety

What Victimization of Children Means!?

Wherever it occurs, child abuse is wrong. Wherever it occurs, victimization of children is wrong. We have heard a lot in the news in the past year about victimization of kids–from the Casey Anthony trial and on. From time to time, we offer suggestions that we hope help parents keep kids safer. At one time, we were taught the phrase, “stranger danger,” but Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says it isn’t necessarily strangers who are the biggest danger to kids.

Allen has some comments and cautions for parents* and those of us who are guardians of children. Allen says that people who victimize kids are rarely strangers. “The offenders do not match society’s stereotype,” he says. “Most Americans want to believe that someone who would prey upon a child…is evil-looking, a menacing, frightening stranger.” Yet, most of the time those who victimize children are not strangers to the child, they are known to the child and seek out legitimate access to a child. Because of this fact, it is important that leading children-serving organizations do background screening of their staff and volunteers, and monitor and supervise interactions between adults and children.

Child victims rarely tell on the person who victimizes them. Research shows that at least 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be victimized in some way before they reach the age of 18, and just 1 in 3 will tell anyone about it. Allen says, “These are America’s hidden victims. We have made progress as a nation in attacking this problem but even today, two out of three child victims suffer in silence. They don’t tell Mom, they don’t tell Dad, they don’t tell anybody.”

“The most important things parents can do is communicate with your children and empower them. Make sure that they understand that you love them, trust them, and believe them and that if anyone ever touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell you or a trusted adult.”

“Second, the first line of defense is a vigilant public. If you see it, know about it or suspect it, report it. Call your local police and then call 1 (800) THE LOST or report it towww.cybertipline.com, at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.”

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has helped bring thousands of kids home safely. Childsafetyblog.org is grateful to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for all they do.

By Marianne Frederick

*Allen, Ernie, CEO, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “Those Who Victimize Children Are Usually Not Strangers” Commentary, 12/09/11.

Child Bicycle Helmets Recalled

It still amazes me that child bicycle helmets that don’t meet basic impact resistance requirements can still make it to store shelves in this country.  Is it too much to ask to have a system that prevents this from happening before kids are put at risk?  Sigh.

Rant over — here’s the info from the CPSC’s press release (shockingly, the helmet was made in China – its name (“Little Tricky”) now takes on a whole new meaning):

Hazard: Product testing demonstrated that these helmets do not comply with CPSC safety standards for impact resistance. Consumers could suffer impact head injuries in a fall.

Description: The recalled items are multi-purpose helmets also sold for use as bicycle helmets. Little Tricky helmets are marketed for children and youth, and feature a large Little Tricky logo on both sides of the helmet. They come in one size and in black, white, pink and green. Triple Eight S/M EPS Liner helmets feature a hard black inner EPS foam liner and come in black, white, bone, blue and army green. Sector 9 S/M EPS Liner helmets feature the same EPS liner and come in gray, white, black, blue and green. Both the Triple Eight and Sector 9 helmets have an interior label indicating the size “S/M” for small/medium and a manufacture date indicated as month/year (ex. APR/2011). Only Triple Eight and Sector 9 size “S/M” EPS Liner helmets are affected.

Sold at: Bicycle and sports stores and other retailers nationwide and online from August 2006 through November 2011 for about $40.

Of Hexbugs and Buttons

It used to be that the end of Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the holiday season, but, as I was reminded by Jingle Bells blaring while shopping this weekend, it has now jumped to the day after Halloween. Hard to get into the holiday mood with the leaves still changing, but I guess the retailers need all the help they can get.  We at ChildSafetyBlog.org will try to get into the spirit with our first holiday season post.

This morning, I was replacing the batteries in one of my son’s favorite toys – Hexbugs. As I unscrewed the cover, I was disappointed to find it used a button battery. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, because they are so small that nothing else could probably fit. Still, it worried me that these tiny, shiny batteries are making it into more and more toys, because they are quite dangerous for children.

Last year, Marianne wrote a short piece cautioning parents and caregivers about these coin-sized (and smaller) batteries that power everything from watches to led flashlights to hearing aids. A recent study by Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Control Center found “button battery-related incidents resulting in severe injury and fatality have increased sevenfold since 1985.” Data show that most choking incidents with button batteries involve children under the age of four. While a button battery, if swallowed, usually may pass through the intestine, the problem is not only the possibility of choking. If the battery becomes lodged in the throat or intestine, it can produce and release hydroxide and cause dangerous chemical burns.

So, with the holiday season approaching and family and friends purchasing gift toys and technology items that use these batteries, we are again raising the red flag on “button” batteries for parents and caregivers.

Here are some tips offered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ChildSafetyblog.org that parents and caregivers can use to make sure children do not unintentionally ingest button batteries:

· If you use button batteries at all, please make sure to dispose of them carefully.

· Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child’s reach.

· Check the toys your children receives over the holidays for the kinds of batteries that are used.

· Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.

· Never put button batteries in your or anyone else’s mouth for any reason as they are easily accidentally swallowed. You need to set an example for your children. (Some children think button batteries look like candy.)

· Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries, too, mistaking them for pills or tablets.

· Keep remotes and other electronic gadgets out of your child’s reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.

· If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention. The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available anytime at (202) 625-3333 (call collect if necessary), or call you’re the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

Meanwhile, from all of us at ChildSafetyBlog.org, have a safe and happy ramp-up to the holiday season!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Hello everyone!

I can’t believe it’s Halloween again.  We here at CSB hope everyone has a great time — here are some reminders to keep everyone as safe as possible:

Halloween Safety Tips –

  • Wear light colored or reflective clothing/costumes OR buy reflective tape (sold at any hardware or big box store) and place on costume.  3M makes good reflective tape.
  • Make sure your kids have flashlights.
  • Make sure costumes don’t drag on the ground – long costumes present an increased fire hazard.
  • Talk with your children about not getting too close to jack-o-lanterns with candles, or any other open flames.
  • Young children should have a parent with them when trick-or-treating.
  • It’s much more safe for children to travel in groups then by themselves or in pairs.
  • Take masks off between houses (better yet, don’t get a costume with a mask).
  • Don’t cut through yards — use driveways and walks.
  • The best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating are the ones with the fewest cars.  Take extra time to impress on your children the need to be on the lookout for cars – they will be excited and crossing the street often.  They absolutely need to stop and look before crossing, and young children need to wait for a parent before crossing.
  • Feed your kids dinner beforehand — lessens the candy intake (at least a little bit).
  • If your older kids are going out alone, it’s best for them to have a cellphone or some means of communicating with you.
  • Inspect your children’s candy for open packaging or anything else that might be suspicious.
  • AND, although not safety related, talk to your kids about being polite, saying thank you, and not grabbing handfuls of candy when offered.

BE SAFE AND HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CDC says, It’s The Time of Year to Get Vaccinated!

Here is another caution from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that parents may wish to heed and that is to make sure your children are up-to-date with their vaccinations!

The CDC tells us that this is one of “the most important things parents can do to ensure their children’s long-term health, as well as the health of their friends, classmates, and others in the community.

Happily, several vaccine-preventable diseases have become rare due to the development and administration of vaccines. Yet, we know outbreaks do occur. One preventable disease we seem to be seeing that is on the increase is pertussis or whooping cough. Whooping cough is a serious disease that can lead to illness and death in babies and young children; however, whooping cough is preventable when children are immunized.

Making sure children stay up-to-date with vaccinations is the best way to make sure the country does not see other outbreaks, with more unnecessary illnesses and deaths.

Children are recommended to get vaccines that will protect them from 14 diseases that can be serious-to-life-threatening. Not vaccinating children increases the risk of disease not only for the children themselves, but for their classmates and neighbors, as well as children and adults throughout the entire community–including infants too young to obtain the greatest possible protection from the vaccines.

Children who are in pre-school or elementary school require flu vaccines in order to simply stay healthy. All children age 6 months and older are recommended to receive flu vaccines. Getting all children vaccinated will help protect babies fewer than 6 months old at the same time. Please ask your child’s doctor or nurse about obtaining the flu shots or nasal spray to protect your child.

Parents can find out what vaccines their children need and when the doses should be given by reviewing the nationally recommended vaccination schedule on the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm

If you have questions about the safety of particular vaccinations, ask your pediatrician–You may also call the CDC to inquire about particular vaccinations: Dial 1(800)CDC-INFO or 1(800)232-4636.  Information is provided in English and Spanish.

Technology Could Rescue Children in Hot Cars!

In the realm of facts that are really hard to digest, we find that the number of deaths from children being left in cars and subsequently suffering and expiring from hyperthermia remains fairly constant, despite frequent warnings provided by the media.

The University of San Francisco’s Department of GeoSciences maintains a statistical chart of the number of deaths per month of young children left in cars due to hyperthermia (heat stroke). Demonstrations by various SafeKids USA (national organization whose mission is to reduce and prevent childhood injuries and deaths) chapters have shown cookies can be baked on a dashboard and a child can expire in less than 15 minutes from having been left in a hot car!

A study published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, illustrates the statistics below:

“To date there have been twenty-eight deaths in 2010 of children due to hyperthermia (heat stroke) from being in hot vehicles.  Last year there were a total of at least 33 such fatalities in the United States due to hyperthermia after they were left in hot cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s.  Since 1998 there have been at least a total of 473 of these needless tragedies.  This study shows that these incidents can occur on days with relatively mild (i.e., ~ 70 degrees F) temperatures and that vehicles can reach life-threatening temperatures very rapidly.”

This morning, we learned from viewing an NBC news clip featuring safety expert Janette Fennel that sensor technology has been developed to alert parent and caregiver drivers that there is still a child or children in the car seat(s) in the car after the driver (parent or caregiver) has shut the car doors and walked away from the car.  If the driver bearing that sensor (which can be toted like a key fob) proceeds approximately 30-40 feet from the car, the sensor causes the key fob to beep loudly to warn the driver that there is still a child or children in the booster seat in the car.

According to NBC News Channel 29 (Charlottesville, Va.), General Motors Corporation and Volvo are more than aware of the sensor technology, but have not been successful gaining approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to market the car seat sensor, and apparently the technology is so developed that even National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) is involved in helping to improve the technology.  NHTSA, however, believes that the technology is not ready and its Administrator, David Strickland, has stated that parents must continue to “remain vigilant.”

Childsafetyblog.org is aghast: The NHTSA’s response is not responsive or adequate.  Could the 28 children who died in hot cars this year have been saved?

The Nap Nanny

Just when we think perhaps accidental death in children may be on the wane and products, such as drop-side cribs, which have been determined to be less than safe for infants and toddlers have been removed from the marketplace, another less-than-safe product pops up! Baby Matters’ (Berwyn, PA.) Nap Nanny, appeared on the oscilloscope of unsafe for baby in a big way earlier this week when 30,000 of them were voluntarily recalled from the child product marketplace.  The Nap Nanny is sort of like a “recliner” for baby and was developed to provide a hedge against “acid reflux” in children.

Consumers with questions should contact Baby Matters, LLC,  Box 811, Devon, PA 19333, 866-664-4008,  info@napnanny.com. Also you may contact the CPSC’s  toll-free Consumer Hotline at 800-638-2772  for product safety and to report unsafe children’s products.

One child’s death has occurred which has been determined to have been directly related to the use of the Nap Nanny.  We feel for the parents.  There but for the grace of God go we.

We do not understand how an idea for a child product could go so incredibly wrong–aren’t there engineers who– before patenting and manufacturing– determine the safety and efficacy of these products for a child’s use?  Don’t children’s products, furniture and toys have to go through a process of approval by some higher authority than a company president to meet standards of excellence?  Is it because babies can’t “talk back” or stand up for themselves that they and their parents become the perfect targets for child product manufacturers out for the almighty dollar?  The question is rhetorical, but it should give us all food for thought.

Certainly, moms and dads want to provide the best products for their children’s use that they can.  The child product marketplace–even in this economy– is gigantic.  Go to any Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and you see child products galore, from dolls to bicycles, to strollers and baby furniture, child medicines, infant seats, gates, swings and slings!  If you have any doubt that toy and child furniture manufacturers make money, look up the parent companies’ standings on the various stock exchanges.  Look at the retailers’ standings in today’s marketplace and examine the marketshare these retailers have.  So, it would seem to this blogger that as purchasers, buyers, parents, family members, caregivers and protectors of children… that we have the right to expect the safe and healthy use of child products by our children.  And nothing less.

You may wish to check the CPSC recall notice for the Nap Nanny in July Recalls at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10309.html

Let’s Talk About Nasal Allergies and Children!

It’s summer time and the heat is on.  A lot of children are going to the local pool with their parents.  Some are swimming in lakes, wading in ponds, or playing in the sand.  There’s lots of pollen from grass, trees, summer weeds, and flowers in the air, whether your children are at the lake, beach, pond, camping in the woods or backyard, or visiting down on the farm. If children have been playing outside a good bit of the day and they have difficulty breathing through their nose at night, should we be concerned? Although we know it’s not winter and they may not have caught cold, why all the congestion, watery eyes, stuffy noses, and sneezing?

The answer is yes, we should be concerned; and to be more informed we need to know the symptoms of nasal allergies in kids.  The symptoms are very similar to those of the common cold–and may or may not be accompanied by a sore or itchy throat:

  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or itchy nose, often accompanied by watery eyes.

According to scientists, nasal allergies affect an estimated 40 million Americans, and 40 percent of the American child population.  Nasal allergies are believed to be the most prevalent cause of nasal congestion in children.

When a child experiences the symptoms of a nasal allergy, their immune system reacts often quickly by manufacturing an antibody in the child’s system to fight the allergen’s challenge.  The antibody sends a message to the brain causing a histamine to be released into the bloodstream–which causes nasal inflammation and its symptoms, such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and that itchy or runny nose, watery eyes, and possibly a scratchy throat.

Nasal allergic reactions in children frequently occur when a child is exposed to things in the air–allergic challenges–such as pollens (from grass, weeds, trees, flowers), mold, mildew, house dust, and even, sadly, good old Spot or Kitty and their pet dander.

Nasal allergies are particularly prevalent in the summer because children are more exposed to allergic challenges in the air.  They play out of doors more in the warm weather.  They may go to other areas of the country to visit relatives or go on family trips to very different surroundings, where they experience the pollens of different plants, trees, flowers, the dander of different pets, and even different house dust.  Swimming in a favorite lake that was surrounded by farm fields as a child, I frequently came out of the lake with a stuffed up nose and itchy eyes and spent the rest of the afternoon sniffing and sneezing, not playing!  Not fun for anyone!

If your child begins to experience nasal allergy symptoms this summer, it’s a good idea before you medicate to consult your pediatrician.  You do want to make sure this is either an allergy or something else like a sinus infection.  Medicines, such as antihistamines, are available, both over-the-counter and by prescription from your physician, but you need to find the right medicine for your child.  You need to observe what causes the inflammation to occur and learn how your child reacts to allergy medicines.  There are allergy tests your physician may want your child to have, to be more certain about what kind of allergic reaction your child may be experiencing.  It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before you give your child any medicine! And don’t forget that other safety tip, keep all medicines away from children when the medicines are not in use. Locking your medicine cabinet is being pro-active with regard to child safety.

In the meantime, childsafetyblog.org is wishing you a safe and happy summer!

Are your children safe in the case of a natural disaster?

We have recently witnessed a terrible scenario in Haiti, when disaster in the form of a massive earthquake struck. Many children, as well as adults, instantaneously became injured and/or homeless. Children lost parents, parents lost children of every age.

This was certainly a frightening time for many Haitian families, and a time when many Americans felt helpless just watching the crisis unfold on television. The level of volunteer participation and donations to charitable organizations focused on relief to Haiti during the aftermath of the disaster was amazing! Yet how well we know, there aren’t enough volunteers, charitable organizations, or governmental/non-governmental organizations focused on Haiti presently to completely resolve Haiti’s mounting child safety issues–and it comes down to the fact that donations alone don’t keep kids safe in times of disaster–honest, conscientious and caring people do.

We hope we never need to use certain of these recommendations, but they are good to bear in mind to make sure there’s a fallback position, in case parents are unavailable during a crisis for whatever reason.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children advocates that we each do the following for our children’s sake vis-à-vis natural disasters. In recent weeks, several different states have experienced tornados and flooding.

Simple rules come in handy in a time of chaos and crisis as families can be separated in moments, especially when evacuation is required. Here are NCMEC’s important tips for parents, family members, babysitters, and childcare providers:

  • Know where your kids are at all times.
  • Stay together, if at all possible.
  • Take photos of your children, have them with you when evacuated.
  • Give children identification information to carry with them, including the child’s name, date of birth, address, phone numbers, etc. If a child is too young or otherwise unable to speak for him- or herself, consider writing his/her name, date of birth, parents’ names, home address, and telephone/cell numbers somewhere on the child’s body in indelible marker.
  • E-mail current digital photos of all family members to extended relatives and/or friends.
  • Photocopy important documents and mail to a friend/relative to be kept in a safe location.
  • Make a plan with your children, so they know what to do if your family becomes separated during an evacuation.

Pedestrian Safety with Children is Always A Bright Idea!

Summer is almost here and there’s more daylight for children to play out of doors. Children are happy and excited to be out and about after this very long winter! As parents, family members, babysitters, and caregivers, we need to remind ourselves that even though the roads are clear of ice and snow, we need to be cautious with children walking near and around vehicle traffic–even in our own neighborhoods, parking lots, and school crossings. We need to be vigilant about how and where our kids are walking with or without us!

So, “Stop, Look and Listen!” as you approach a curb or street crossing with your child. Stop and look to make sure a car, bus, truck, or other vehicle is not coming before crossing the street. Often, we hear motorized vehicles before we see them! Listen for the sounds of an approaching vehicle; and wait until the street is clear before you cross.

Parents, please use and teach children the following basic pedestrian safety rules:

  • Do not allow children under age 10 to cross the street alone.
  • Never allow children to play in the street or road. 
  • Always try to walk with children on paths or sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk facing road traffic as you walk on the street-side and your child walks on the “curb-side.”
  • Hold your child’s hand!
  • Look both ways for danger before and while crossing the street.
  • Walk– do not run– across the street!
  • If you walk with your child, dress yourself, as well as your child, in light, bright colors or retro-reflective materials, so drivers can easily spot you and your child.
  • Follow directions of police and school crossing guards–they are there to help.