Breakpoint's Winter Blues Issue
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute,
Injury Prevention Program
Welcome to March!
It is another busy month in the area of Injury Prevention. There
are two very important healthcare issues focused on this month.
Poison Prevention Week: March 21-27 and Children and Healthcare
There are many
types of poisonings: lead, carbon monoxide, ingestion, contact
with poisonous materials, and inhaling poisonous materials. This
month Breakpoint will focus on children and ingestion of poisonous
materials. This also ties well with Children and healthcare week
since children who ingest toxic materials may come in contact with
the healthcare setting.
With winter in
full swing, we are fast approching the cold and flu season. This
is the time of year when it seems as though our children are
always "coming down with something" Children and
healthcare week provides a focus to health care professionals to
be aware that caring for children is an important task. It also is
a time to be aware that children are not just "small
adults", they have their own special needs.
Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock
Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program. Please call us at
(708) 327-2455 with any comments or questions.
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It Doesn't Hurt to Ask
professionals, we are trained in the art of taking a history and
physical exam. We ask the usual questions and really don't give
it much thought. H&P's are pretty standard, we ask the same
questions of each patient in exactly the same order. Much like
reading off the ingredients from a recipe. To truly care for the
patient we must encompass the whole patient, which includes
their lives in and out of the hospital setting. Our patients are
a product of themselves and their surroundings.
alone, 132,000 children will enter the healthcare setting. At
Loyola, there were 10,481 children treated. When completing
their history and physical exams, we need to keep injury
prevention in mind. The illness is a primary concern, but what
about how they will get home from the hospital? Can we fix the
broken leg or treat the asthma attack and then send them home in
a vehicle without a car seat or to a home without a working
smoke detector? It is up to the healthcare professionals caring
for the patient to assess the child's risk for injury as part of
the contract for any health care issues.
When taking a history and physical exam it doesn't hurt to
ask the parents about some of the following injury related
- Does the child ride in a car seat? Is the car seat
appropriate for the child's height and weight?
- If the child is under one, does the child ride rear
- If the child is over 40 pounds, do they ride in a booster
- Are seat belts worn for children (over 60 pounds) and
- Is there a car seat in the other vehicles the child may
- Is the home childproof? Does it have smoke alarms?
- Do the parents know what to do in case of an emergency?
Has there been any CPR training or first aid training?
- Do they wear bicycle helmets?
- Do they cross the street alone if they are under eight?
Obtaining such information can be a useful tool in
determining whether the child is at risk for injury at home. Our
job as caregivers is to provide care and to teach our patients.
Getting the right information can make our jobs easier by giving
us the knowledge we need to educate and care for the patients we
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Poison Prevention - Information That is not too Hard to
love to put everything in their mouths. This is a child's way
of learning about their environment. Too often, children can't
tell the difference between a "goodie" and a toxic
material. Our households are filled with poisonous products.
Even items that can be helpful for our bodies can be lethal
when taken in large doses. Children can not distinguish blue
Koolaid from Windex, medications from candy or household
cleaners from juice. It is our job as caregivers to see that
poisonous materials are safely out of the reach of children
and to teach children a safer way to explore their
environment. Most poisonings occur in children younger than 6
and almost half involve those under the age of 4. In a time
when many parents work and children are in some form of
daycare it is important that children are supervised closely
and make sure the areas where are children play and learn are
Some common examples poisonous products are:
Medications - Aspirin, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, iron
tablets and antacids
Household products- Mothballs, furniture polish, drain
cleaners, weed killers, insect or rat poisons, lye, paint
thinners, bleach and cosmetics.
Many household products can be poisonous if swallowed, if in
contact with the skin or eyes, or inhaled.
Following some of the safety rules will help keep your child
safe from unintentional injury:
- Keep harmful products out of the reach of children.
Install locks or child-resistant latches.
- Keep all products and medications in their original
containers. Children think that anything in a cup, soft
drink bottle or glass is safe to eat or drink.
- Do not assume that a child-resistant cap is "child
proof". Children have the patience adult's lack when
trying to work a cap off of a child-resistant bottle.
Tightly close caps after each use.
- Check your home frequently for old or out dated
medications. They may not be effective medically, but they
can still be poisonous to children.
- As children grow, their capabilities change and may be
able to get at objects they were once too small to reach.
- Never tell a child that medication is "candy"
or " just like candy".
- Never leave alcohol within a child's reach. Watch
children carefully at parties where alcohol is served.
Children tend to imitate adults and finish drinks left
- Keep the poison control center phone number by your
phone. The area Poison Control Center number is
- Every household should have at least one bottle of syrup
of Ipecac on hand for possible use in poisoning
emergencies. It can be purchaced without a prescription.
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First Aid for a Suspected Poisoning
- Stay calm and keep the child calm.
- Identify the nature of the poison. Read the label on
the bottle to identify what steps are to be taken.
- Look in the child's mouth and remove any remaining
pills, pieces of substances, etc.
- Take the child and the poison to the phone. Be
prepared to give the child's age, weight, the product
name and the amount swallowed.
- Do not wait for symptoms to occur. Many poisonings can
be treated at home with the quick notification of the
poison control center and fast action by the caregiver.
- Follow the instructions given by the poison control
center. Do not give the child anything (even Ipecac)
without first calling the poison control center.
- If you are unsure the child ingested a poison still
call the poison control center unless you are completely
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Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention
- National Child Abuse Prevention Month
- National Sports Safety Month
- Public Health Week (4/5-11)
- Drive Safely to Work Week
The information on the Loyola University Health System
(LUHS) Web site is for educational purposes only. It is presented in summary form in order to impart general information relating to certain diseases, ailments, physical conditions and their treatments. The information provided through the LUHS Web site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease, nor is it a substitute for professional care. Should you have any health-care related questions or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
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