Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont

Summer is the most dangerous season for kids. Ninety percent of injuries to children are preventable.

Unintentional injury is the number one killer of America's children, taking more lives than disease, violence and suicide according to Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont. During the summer months, when children are out of school, the risks are heightened. The majority of injuries are sustained while swimming, biking, skating or riding in cars.

Danger on Wheels

  • Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes.
  • A helmet is the single most effective safety devise available to reduce head injury from bike crashes.
  • A helmet should fit comfortable and snugly with snaps always buckled.
  • Children four and under don't belong on a scooter. Never let a child ride a scooter unsupervised unless they have been riding a two-wheeled bike for 6 months.
  • Wearing proper gear is essential, including: helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads.

Warning in Water

  • A child can drown in a matter of seconds, typically when the child is left unattended.
  • The majority of drownings in residential pools and open water sites.
  • Floaty rings and water wings are not life preservers and do not protect children from drowning.

Risk on the Road

  • Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among North Carolina children ages 14 and under.
  • 80% of all child safety seats are installed incorrectly.
  • As a child grows, parents must move their child from rear-facing, to a forward facing seat, then to a booster seat, and finally a seat belt.

This information is provided by Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont. For more information contact Donna Joyner at 336-716-0649.

Bike Safety: Protecting Your Family

Kids, especially 11-to 14- year-olds, are reluctant to wear helmets; they may complain that helmets are uncomfortable. Requiring your children to wear a helmet every time is the best thing you can do to protect them and, now it's the LAW.

Helmet Tips

  • Correct fit is essential. Helmets should be comfortable, but snug. It should not rock back and forth or side to side.
  • Helmets come in many colors and designs; allow the child to choose a helmet that's "cool."
  • Talk to other parents and encourage them to use helmets, both for themselves and their children.
  • Your child should use side-walks and paths until the age of 10. Adult supervision is essential until the child develops skills in bike riding.

Proper bike fit and maintenance can help prevent injuries. Your child's feet should reach the ground while sitting in the seat. Make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are secured and properly inflated.

For fun, games and more information call Luly Beckles, Pediatric Injury Prevention Coordinator, Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont Coordinator at 336-716-0649.

Lawnmower Safety

Each year in the United States, nearly 9,500 children under age 18 require emergency treatment for lawn care related injuries. Approximately 25 percent of these injuries involve children under the age of five. Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, who chairs North Carolina SAFE KIDS, believes that many people do not recognize the danger that lawnmowers pose to children.

"The habit of taking a child for a ride on a mower was probably learned by people who remember riding this way when they were young," said Long. "We should not be passing old, unsafe habits on to the younger generation. Riding with a child on a mower was an unsafe practice a generation ago. It's appalling to see it still continue to happen today."

One in every five deaths caused by a lawnmower involves a child. Most of these deaths occur when the child falls off of, or is run over by, a riding mower. These tragedies often involve toddlers and young children. In most riding lawnmower accidents, the operator is the parent, grandparent, sibling or neighbor of the child.

Lawnmower injuries are the leading cause of traumatic amputations in children and a very common cause of open fractures (broken bones associated with wounds). Dr. Robert Letton, a pediatric surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, knows firsthand that lawnmower injuries can lead to loss of limbs, fingers and toes. He says in Forsyth County in the year 2000, 350 children age 14 and under required medical attention due to lawnmower injuries.

"More children are injured by lawnmowers in our area each year than from riding bicycles," said Letton. "It is imperative that we learn that children should not be anywhere near the operation of lawnmowers or anywhere near the mowing area. This goes for all types of outdoor power equipment."

  • Keep small children and pets out of the mowing area, and preferably indoors
  • Be alert and turn the mower off if children or pets enter the area
  • Look behind and down for small children or pets before operating the equipment, especially when going in reverse
  • Use extra care when approaching corners, shrubs and trees
  • NEVER allow passengers - riding mowers are designed for one operator only
  • Don't allow children to operate a riding mower

The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is the first and only national organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injuries. Since 1996, the N.C. Department of Insurance has been the lead organization for the statewide SAFE KIDS Coalition. The North Carolina Hospital Association is the founding sponsor in working with the Department of Insurance to expand unintentional childhood injury awareness. To learn more about SAFE KIDS, call your local coalition, access the SAFE KIDS website at or contact N.C. SAFE KIDS at 1-888-347-3737.

Poison Prevention

SAFE KIDS recommends these poison prevention tips:

  • Buy child-resistant packaging.
  • Lock dangerous products out of sight, out of reach.
  • Keep products in original containers.
  • Know which household products are poisonous.
  • Throw away old medicines and other potential poisons.
  • Stay alert while using poisonous household products.
  • NEVER refer to medicine as candy!
  • Put the poison control center phone number near each phone, 1-800-222-1222

Child Passenger Safety

Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont recommends the following 4 steps to safely transport children in automobiles:

When to use a rear-facing child safety seat

  • From birth to at least 20 pounds and one year of age. The harness straps should be at or below the shoulder level. NEVER place a rear-facing child safety seat in the passenger seat with an active airbag.

When to use a forward-facing seat

  • If a child is at least 20 pounds and at least one year old to about 40 pounds and about age four. The harness straps should be at or above shoulder level. Most convertible, forward- facing seats require use of the top slots for forward facing seats.

When to use a booster seat

  • If the child is over 40 pounds up to 80 pounds and under four feet, nine inches tall. Belt-positioning booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. Never use a booster seat with a lap belt only. Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight to avoid abdominal injuries.

When to buckle up a child in an adult seat belt

  • If a child is at over 80 pounds and at least four feet, nine inches tall. If a child can sit with their back straight against the vehicle seat back, with their knees bent over the seat edge without slouching, they can be moved out of the booster seat into the regular back seat.

Children less than 5 years old and less than 40 pounds must be in a weight appropriate child safety seat. IT'S THE LAW!

For more information, please contact Luly Beckles, Pediatric Injury Prevention Coordinator, at 336-716-0649.

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