Break Point!

Volume 4, Issue 4 View the Archives April, 2001
Break Point's Outdoor Safety Issue
Do You Know What Is Inside Your Medicine Chest?
The Prepared Athlete
Taking A Safety Tour With Young Children
Surf's Up- A guide To Internet Sites On The Web
Next Month in Injury Prevention

Breakpoint's Booster Seat and Burn Awareness Issue

Kathy O'Day
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Injury Prevention Program

Your sports-loving child may not be preparing for the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk for sports-related injuries. With any sport there is a potential risk children take when they participate.

Knowing that over 3 million children experience sports and recreational-related injuries, what types of injuries can occur and how they can be prevented is the first step will help ensure your child’s athletic participation will be a positive experience.

The risk for unintentional injury is also present when children engage in recreational activities as well. Playground safety, inline skating safety and skateboard safety will also be covered in this month’s issue of Break Point.

Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program. Please call us at (708) 327-2455 or email to: Kathy O'Day with any comments or questions.

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Do You Know What Is Inside Your Medicine Chest?

As spring approaches many think of spring cleaning and preparing for the warmer weather. Don’t forget to add the medicine chest to your list of chores. When was the last time you checked for expiration dates on your prescription medicine or over-the-counter medications? If you are like many people, probably not for a very long time.

It is important to clean out your medicine cabinet periodically and throw out medicines, which have either expired or are more than two years old. Once a medication has expired the product begins to break down. It can become weakened in strength, and could cause adverse reactions. Some warning signs that medication has gone bad include: discoloration or residue at the bottom of the bottle; pills that are crumbly or give off a vinegary odor; ointments that have separated.

There are some other things to be aware of when cleaning your medicine chest:

For senior adults,

  • Never mix medications in a single container. Some chemicals react with each other and neutralize the medicines or cause harmful side effects
  • Keep your pharmacist informed about additions and deletions to your medications to prevent hazardous drug interactions.
  • Categorize all your medications to prevent confusion. Talk to a healthcare professional about developing a medication management schedule.
  • Keep all medications out of the reach of your grandchildren.

Poison prevention tips regardless of age:

  • Never administer or take medications prescribed to someone else, even if the symptoms are similar.
  • Always turn on the lights before taking or giving any medications to ensure that you are able to identify medication properly.

In an emergency situation, call the Poison Control Center immediately at: 1-800-924-5969

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The Prepared Athlete

What causes sports-related injuries in children? There are a variety of reasons. Children’s coordination and their reaction time increase with age. They are still growing and developing. In addition, they mature at different ages and different rates. Therefore, a substantial difference in height and weight between children of the same age can exist. When children of the same age but varying sizes play sports together, there may be an increased risk of injury.

As children grow older and bigger, the potential for and severity of increase, largely because of the amount of force involved. For example, a collision between two 8 year old pee wee football players who weigh 65-70 pounds does not produce as much force as that produced by two 16 year old high school football players who may each weigh up to 200 pounds. As children grow bigger and stronger, there is an increased incidence of sports-related injuries. Children under age 10 are more likely to be injured on playgrounds or from bicycle riding or on playgrounds, while injuries due to organized sports or overexertion tend to occur more frequently in older children.

According to National SafeKids Campaign, each year in the U.S. approximately more than 775,000 children are treated in emergency departments for sports or recreational activities and 20% of children participating in sports activities are injured; one fourth of these injuries are considered serious. 21% of traumatic brain injuries in children are the result of sports or recreational activities.

More than half of the sports-related injuries that occur can be prevented. Here are some guidelines to follow to help prevent serious injury:

  • Proper equipment that is fitted to the child and is the correct size is essential. Equipment should be approved by an appropriate certifying organization.
  • Appropriate safety gear for the specific sport. For example, helmets with polycarbonate shields for baseball, softball, bicycle riding, and hockey and protective eyewear (polycarbonate goggles) for basketball and racquet sports. Ask your child’s coach about appropriate helmets, mouth guards and padding.
  • Check that playing fields are not full of holes and ruts, possibly causing the child to fall. Basketball courts and running tracks should not be concrete.
  • Qualified adults should supervise any team sport or activity that your child participates in. Select leagues and teams that have the same commitment to safety and injury prevention that you do. The team coach should have training in first aid and CPR. Be sure that the coach enforces playing rules and requires that safety equipment be used at all times. Additionally, make sure that children are matched for sports according to their skill level, size and physical maturity.
  • Make sure the child has been adequately prepared and that they know how to play the sport. Proper preparation will help ensure that your child has fun and reduces the chance of injury.

Here are some other tips to help children prepare for sports activities

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Taking A Safety Tour With Young Children

Poison Prevention Week (March 11-17) marks a perfect time to take a walking tour of your home with your children. Walk from room to room and spot the poisonous substances, explain how they could get injured and see what substances are not in a safe place.

When talking with children, it can be very useful to have the children try to identify the poisons to assess how much they know. You may also want to ask them questions about poisons and let them explain to you why they are dangerous.

You may want to start with a checklist so you and your child can look at the checklist together to see if you spot anything dangerous that may cause injuries. You could also have your child draw a picture of your home and include an attic, garage and a basement. Have the child draw pictures of what they saw and discuss the picture after your walking tour. You may also want to have a celebration with a treat if your house is childproof.

While this list is not exhaustive, it is a good starting point for your walking tour:


Dish washing- detergent- liquid dish soap- scouring soap- window cleaner- oven cleaner- medicines- vitamins- furniture polish - drain cleaner/opener - ammonia


Gasoline- kerosene- car wax/soaps - weed killers/pesticides- paint windshield-antifreeze

Laundry Room:

Laundry detergent- bleach - fabric softener - dye

Closet/Storage Spaces:

Rat/ant poisons -moth balls & sprays


Alcoholic beverages-flaking paint- broken plaster


Cosmetic products- shampoo- medications-cleansers –lotions-perfume-mouthwash


Medicines/pain killers - cosmetics


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Surf's Up- A guide To Internet Sites On The Web

Kids Source On Line

Pharmacy Association Offers Healthful Advice During Poison Prevention Week. PARD website has poison prevention tips for the whole family.


American Academy of Pediatrics

The Break Point article on inhalant use is an excerpt from the AAP article, read the full text along with FAQ’s on inhalant use/abuse. Why children use inhalants, how to treat someone who is using inhalants and tips to avoid inhalant use.

Internet Public Library -- Poison Prevention

This site has activities geared towards young children and poison prevention. There are pages that can be printed to be colored, games and a certificate that can be reproduced. There is also a page for parents that provide tips to navigate the site with your child.

National Institute on Drug Abuse -- Research Report Series
Inhalant Abuse Issue

This issue of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Series answers questions parents may have on what inhalant abuse is, who may be abusing inhalants, the short and long term affects of inhalant abuse, and provides a glossary to help parents identify some terms of inhalant use. There is also a reference section parents may want to look at for further information.


Life Essentials by Zee

This site offers safety tips to help avoid some of the common ways children can obtain poisons. There are also pages to get safety tips on other injury prevention issues. This company also provides a catalogue of custom-made first-aid kits that suit your families needs.


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Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention

  • National Youth Sports Safety Month
  • Sports Eye Safety Month
  • World Health Day (April 7, 2001)

Loyola University Medical Center Injury Prevention Program

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