1. AAP Releases Statement on Farm Safety for Children and Adolescents

  2. Australian National Data Standards for Injury Surveillance

  3. Baby bath seats give parents false sense of safety: Consumer groups asks government to ban deadly product

  4. Be Prepared for Sudden Severe Weather

  5. Brainy Bear's Headsmart Hint - Make headsmart choices when you are on the mountain!

  6. CDC Examines Youth Risk Behavior In Recent Survey

  7. A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention

  8. CPSC Recall

  9. CPSC Warns Against Placing Babies in Adult Beds

  10. The Do's and Don'ts of Snow Removal

  11. Dog Safety Tips

  12. The Don't Be Left Out in the Cold This Winter

  13. Gardening Safety Tips

  14. Gifts for Everyone on Your List

  15. A Heavy Backpack Could be Affecting Your Child's Health

  16. Heavy Backpacks Raise Children's Risk of Falling

  17. Injury Jeopardy

  18. Injury Prevention and Control: Understanding the Issues and Making a Difference

  19. Jack Frost Nipping at your Nose...

  20. John Hopkins: Internet Autopsy Database

  21. Lawn Mowers May Be Hazardous To Your Child's Health

  22. Let Cooler Heads Prevail

  23. Monthly Vital Statistics Reports

  24. National Center for Health Statistics

  25. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control - Injury statistics

  26. New EMSC Product Catalogs Available

  27. National Pediatric Traumma Registry

  28. NCHS State Injury Mortality Data

  29. OSHA Injury and Illness Statistics

  30. Parental Attitudes Toward Unintentional Childhood Injuries

  31. Reducing Injuries to Youths on Farms

  32. Safety Experiencing the Great Outdoors

  33. Safety City

  34. Safety For Older Farmers

  35. Safely Power Up Lawn And Garden Tools This Spring

  36. Santa's Little Helper - Buying Safe Toys for Christmas

  37. Special Information on Shaken Baby Syndrome

  38. Ski Injury Fact Sheet

  39. Sleep and Childhood Injury

  40. Snowmobiles-High Speed Danger Zone

  41. Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

  42. Things to know before you mow this spring season

  43. UMTRI Pregnant Crash Dummy May Better Evaluate Fetal Loss

  44. Unintentional Injury Deaths Lower

  45. What You Should Know About Spinal Cord Injuries

  46. Young Workers Need More Protection

AAP Releases Statement on Farm Safety for Children and Adolescents

In this month's issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement on the dangers facing children and adolescents who live on farms. According to AAP, the proportion of fatalities among adolescents in agriculture is greater than that for any other work that adolescents are engaged in. Citing national statistics, AAP states, among the "estimated 1,298,000 children and adolescents younger than 20 years living on farms in 1991, the overall annual farm death rate was 8.0 per 100,000 child and adolescent farm residents."

The AAP statement provides recommendations for pediatricians on patient and community education and for public advocacy related to agricultural injury prevention among children and adolescents who live on or visit farms. These recommendations include the following:

  • Separate young children from farm hazards by fencing in a play area.
  • Limit young children's access to large farm animals
  • Properly store farm chemicals and cleaning agents.
  • Provide children and adolescents with proper hearing protection from loud farm equipment and train them to use it properly.
  • Educate parents about normal growth and development patterns of adolescence, and encourage them to consider the physical and emotional readiness of their adolescent for farm work.
  • Share information about farm safety in the pediatrician's office, the community, the schools, and farm organizations such as 4-H and Farm Safety 4 Just Kids.
  • Prohibit adolescents under the age of 16 from operating any farm vehicles, and make sure that older adolescents have a driver's license and proper training to operate farm vehicles.

The authors maintain that injury-control efforts by pediatricians are warranted because of "the lethality of farm injuries, the implications for long-term disability of those injured, and the impact on families."

American Academy of Pediatricians, Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention and Committee on Community Health Services. 2001. Prevention of agricultural injuries among children and adolescents. Pediatrics 108(4):1016-1019.

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Baby Bath Seats Give Parents False Sense of Safety: Consumer Groups Asks Government to Ban Deadly Product

Washington, D.C. - Consumer Federation of America (CFA) today joined with eight other consumer and safety organizations to petition the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CFISC) to ban infant bath seats. Citing continued deaths and a deadly misperception by parents and caregivers regarding the product's safety, the groups asked CPSC to reconsider its 1994 vote against rulemaking.

"Baby bath seats are an invitation to danger. Since 1994 when CPSC decided not to take action, an additional 52 deaths have occurred. Enough is enough - the assembly line for this product should be shut down immediately," said Mary Ellen Fise, CFA's General Counsel and author of the petition.

To date there have been at least 66 drowning deaths to infants and 37 reports of near drowning incidents. In the first six months of 2000 alone, five babies have died. When CPSC last considered this issue, just 14 children had drowned.

Drownings typically occur when the infant tips over, climbs out of, or slides through the product. In most, but not all cases, the child is left unattended for a brief time by the parent or caregiver.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Clay Mann, Intermountain Injury Control Research Center, found that parents and caregivers of infants that use 6aby bath seats engage in more risk taking behavior than parents and caretakers not using bath seats. Caregivers using bath seats prepare baths with deeper water and are more likely to leave a child unattended in the bath for conscious, willful reasons (e.g., to perform household chores). There is a false sense of safety that is propagated by having a mechanical aid to "help" to hold a slippery baby upright. This "sense of security" promotes the idea that a child could be left alone in the bath for "just a minute."

Baby bath seats (and products called bath rings) are intended to assist in bathing infants by holding the infant in a sifting position in a full size bathtub. These products usually have suction cups to hold them in place in the bathtub and a plastic seat with leg openings to secure the baby in a sitting position while being bathed. With a bath ring, the baby sits directly on the tub surface or on a mat attached to the legs of the bath ring.

Infant bath seats have very limited utility. They are not recommended for use until 6 months of age, when most infants can sit securely. Once an infant can pull up (generally between 7 and 9 months of age) or attempt to stand while holding onto objects, infant bath seats should be discontinued, since the infant could climb from the seat. This time interval indicates that bath seats have a useful product life of approximately 2 months.

Joining CFA in the petition were: The Drowning Prevention Foundation, The Danny Foundation, Intermountain Injury Control Research Center, the California Coalition for Children's Safety and Health, the California Drowning Prevention Network, The Contra Costa County Childhood Injury Prevention Coalition, the Greater Sacramento SAFE KIDS Coalition, and Kids in Danger.

Baby bath seats sell at retail in the $10-$20 range, making them affordable for most families. CFA recommends that families not purchase bath seats found on retail shelves or at yard sales and not use bath seats loaned by friends and family. "Throw your baby bath seat away and remove this potential risk of drowning for your baby today," advised Fise.  In addition CFA (as well as CPSC) recommends that parents and caregivers never leave a baby alone in the water for even a second and that they keep their child in arms' reach at all times.

CFA is a non-profit association of over 260 pro-consumer groups, with a combined membership of 50 million, that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through advocacy and education.

Web address: www.consumerfed.org

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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Brainy Bear's HeadSmart Hint - Make HeadSmart Choices When You Are on the Mountain!

Always make HeadSmart choices on the mountain. These smart choices include being aware of other skiers, wearing a helmet, stretching, eating right, not skiing beyond your ability, respecting the mountain and the weather, wearing your goggles and sunscreen and making sure that your equipment is in good condition. Being HeadSmart is being safe. All of these choices are yours to make.

This document was last updated on May 25, 2000.

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CDC Examines Youth Risk Behavior In Recent Survey

Seventy-two percent of all deaths among children and young adults aged 10-24 are a result of only four causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor vehicle crashes top the list at 31 percent, followed by other unintentional injuries (11 percent), homicide (18 percent), and suicide (12 percent).

CDC performed school-based surveys in which students in grades 9-12 were given questionnaires. Results from a 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) reveal that numerous high school students engage in behaviors that increase their likelihood of death from these four causes.

Results revealed that 16.4 percent had rarely or never worn safety belts when riding in a vehicle driven by someone else. Overall, male students (20.8 percent) were significantly more likely than female students (11.9 percent) to have rarely or never worn safety belts.

Thirty-three percent said they had ridden more than one time in the past 30 days with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. Hispanic students (39.5 percent) were more likely than white students (32.4 percent) to have ridden with a driver who consumed alcohol. Hispanic male students (41.8 percent) were more likely than white male students (33 percent) to report this behavior. Twelfth-grade male students (39.7 percent) were more likely than ninth grade male students (29.9 percent) to have ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Thirteen percent of surveyed students said they had driven a vehicle after drinking alcohol more than once in the past 30 days. Male students (17.4 percent) were more likely than female students (8.7 percent) to have driven after drinking alcohol. White students (14.6 percent) were more likely than black students (7.9 percent) to have driven after drinking alcohol.

White female students (10.3 percent) were more likely than black female students (5.4 percent) to have driven after drinking alcohol, while white and Hispanic male students (18.7 and 17.2 percent, respectively) were more likely than male black students (10.6 percent) to report this behavior.

YRBSS data are currently used by health and education officials at national, state, and local levels to analyze and improve policies and programs targeting health-risk behaviors among youth.

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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CPSC Recall

Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled five brands of portable cribs of similar defective design (see below). This is not a complete list and may not include information about deaths or injuries under investigation. Be sure to check with the CPSC about any recalls.

  1. Kolcraft "Playskool Travel-Lite" Portable Crib (models 77101 and 771103).
  2. Evenflo "Happy Camper, Happy Cabana, and Kiddie Camper" Portable Play Yards.
  3. Baby Trend "Home and Roam and Baby Express" Play Yards (manufactured before 1995).
  4. Century Fold-N-Go Travel Playards (models 10-710 and 10-810).
  5. All Our Kids Playards (models 741, 742 and 761), imported by Draco (out of business).

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Dog Safety Tips

Dog Safety Tips for Parents

You can reduce the chances of children in your care being bitten or injured by a dog if you teach them some basic safety tips:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never run from a dog and scream.
  • Stay still when an unfamiliar dog comes up to you ("be still like a tree").
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still ("be like a log").
  • Do not look a dog in the eye.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first.
  • Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

Additional Dog Safety Tips

Any adult can lessen the risk of dog bite injuries. For example:

At Home

  • Never leave an infant or child alone with any dog.
  • Teach your dog submissive behaviors, like rolling over to show its stomach.
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling.
  • Seek medical care for any serious dog bite and report all dog attacks.

In the Community

  • Support animal-control programs in your community and the enforcement of local laws regulating dangerous or vicious dogs.
  • Support dog bite prevention educational programs in schools.

Work with a Veterinarian

  • Get the advice of a veterinarian about the right breed of dog if you are thinking about getting a family dog.
  • Spay or neuter your dog, this often reduces its aggressive tendencies.
  • Be sure all pets are properly immunized.
  • Seek a veterinarian's advice quickly if your dog becomes aggressive.

The Problem 

Who Is Affected?

Dogs can make great pets. Many people who have dogs think of them as part of the family. But dogs can also bite, and dog bites can cause serious injury and even death. During 1995-96 in the United States, at least 25 persons died as the result of dog attacks. Twenty of these deaths were among children.

In 1994, an estimated 4.7 million persons in the United States were bitten by dogs. Of these, roughly 800,000 persons sought medical care for the bite. Over half (420,000) of those getting medical care were children.

Children are often bitten on the face, and any bite can cause severe injury or infection. Children's small size may cause a dog to act in a dominant way toward a child. Many children's lack of judgment and ignorance about how to behave around a dog and their inability to fend off an attack can add to the risk. It is very important that parents closely supervise children when around dogs.

  • Stay Bite Free!
    Humane Society of the United States

    Title's include "Be Bite Free!" and the "National Dog Bite Prevention Week" campaign.
  • NCIPC Bibliography of Articles on Dog Bites
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

    Title's include "Dog-Bite-Related Fatalities", "Dog bites: how big a problem?" and "Which dogs bite?  A case-control study of risk factors."
  • It is estimated that 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and that 800,000 get medical care for their injuries. View and download the publication, "A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention,"  which is intended to help local and state leaders develop comprehensive dog bite prevention programs that can effectively reduce dog bite injuries in their communities.

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A Heavy Backpack Could be Affecting Your Child's Health

Your child may complain about too much homework because it cuts into her playtime. But too much homework - in the form of heavy books - could be compromising your child's health. A study researched backpack usage practices in school-age children and evaluated its effects upon their health.

Researches in th physical therapy department at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, surveyed 345 children in fifth through eighth grades on the type of bags they used, how much they used the bags during the day, their activity level, their perception of the bag's weight and how comfortable it was, and history of back pain. The students also weighed themselves and their backpacks.

The study showed that more than 55% of students carried a backpack that was greater than 15% of their body weight, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students carry no more than 10% to 15% of their weight in a backpack. One third of the students reported a history of back pain, and girls and younger children were found to carry proportionally larger loads.

What This Means to You: A heavy backpack could lead to back and shoulder pain and injuries in your child. Make sure your child wears her backpack properly, with both straps over her shoulders. A waist belt and a bag with wide straps can also help to distribute the bag's load more evenly and may reduce injuries. Encourage your child to stop at her locker frequently and only carry the most essential items in her backpack to keep the load to a minimum.

Source: Study by Simmons College Graduate Program in Physical Therapy, February 2001

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Heavy Backpacks Raise Children's Risk of Falling

By Amy Norton

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) - Heavy backpacks may do more than weigh kids down. Children who haul a heavy load may have as hard a time getting around as many elderly people, increasing their risk for falls and injury.

Arkansas researchers put backpack-carrying students up to tests of balance and mobility that are usually used to assess fall risk in the elderly. The investigators found that those with the heaviest packs--25% of their body weight--showed balance problems and had trouble performing everyday tasks such as stair climbing and opening doors.

Experts recommend that children's backpacks hold no more than 15% of their body weight. In the current study, 14-year-old girls who carried 15% of their body weight fared better in the tests than those with the heavier packs. But those carrying 5% performed best, according to Dr. Kevin M. Means of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Means told Reuters Health that a high-school student came up with the idea for the study when she noticed classmates constantly rushing to class and running down stairs carrying backpacks swollen with books. Most of Means' research has focused on balance and mobility in the elderly. However, he said, children are also a high-risk group for falls.

Means presented the study findings Friday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Young people weighed down by heavy backpacks may be more prone to falls, Means said. "And, they may be more likely to injure themselves when they do fall," he noted.

Parents should heed recommendations to keep their children's packs to less than 15% of body weight, according to Means. And since weight distribution is also important, children should carry their packs squarely on their backs, with both arms through the straps. Means noted that mail carriers and others who do a lot of "one-sided" carrying tend to have shoulder and neck problems.

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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Injury Jeopardy

Burn, Fire, and Damnation

It protects when you sleep
and alerts you with a beep
What is a smoke detector?
they're usually A-B-C or B-C
but they're not alphabetic or Jurassic
What is a fire extinguisher?
Playing with these raises our ire,
too often they result in fire
What are matches?
The lower it's setting, the lower the heat
so you'll not burn your hands or feet
What is water heater temperature?
Three words make a lesson for kids to learn
what to do when their clothes catch a burn
What is Stop-Drop-Roll?

One More for the Road

The old level was a good impairment score,
but the new one helps us to stop even more
What is BAC level?
Teens who want to reduce their deaths,
their group syas drunk driving is cool -- NOT!
What is S.A.D.D.?
It's done at night where drunk drivers roam
we're all checked to help get us safely home
What are sobriety Checkpoints?
They're served drinks that keep them straight
to get friends home without a bad fate
What are designated drivers?
Coffee, exercise, or a shower that's brick,
THIS method always makes drinking drivers less risk
What is none of the above?

Behind the Wheel

Safer than even mommy's arms,
they keep little ones from harm
What is a car seat?
At bad curves where many smash,
THIS equipment helps reduce a crash
What are guardrails?
This helps keep you firm in your seat
and keeps you from flying off into the street
What are seat belts?
This device blows up to further take care
unlike the roundhouse, it's NOT filled with hot air
What is an air bag?
A number that changes on roads in town and out
A determining factor if the car kills -- never in doubt
What is the speed limit?

This 'N That

They're safest when lidded and stored away
so not to be eaten when kiddies play
What are poisons?
We have them to hunt and protect us and ours
too often they cause purchase of our funeral flowers
What are unsecured firearms?
Kids in pools, us in currents or swimming after we drink,
THIS can happen even quicker than anyone can think
What is drowning?
If your steps are dark or lack a rail
this injury can take the wind out of your sail
What are falls?
We love to blow them up and bounce them in the air,
but littles ones can choke on them without supervised care
What are balloons?


When too many are plugged in as you desire
more than chestnuts roast in an open fire
What are Christmas lights?
When kiddies run and roam around on THIS night
drivers need to slow down and keep them in sight
What is Halloween?
Avoid the roads this first of all crazy nights
for too many drive after getting purposely "tight"
What is New Year's Eve?
This easily happens though it does seem absurd
if you're not careful slicing that Thanksgiving bird
What is cutting your hand?
They sparkle, flash, and make a big BOOM,
but unsafe handling can cause a kid's doom
What are firecrackers?

Sharing the Road

To protect your brain from further damage, Charley
wear these on any two-wheel engine, even your Harley
What are motorcycle helmets?
Our young, the elderly, and drunks under a dark street
All are at high risk for this injury fate to meet
What is a pedestrian injury?
Kids ages five to nine move fast and are hard to see,
if they play round parked cars, you can predict the injury
What are dart outs?
Painted curves and braking stripes, obstacles and cones
These skill building events can save a broken heads and bones
What are bide rodeos?
Originally comprehensive, our law was limited in 1978
so now only under-eighteen receive a ticketing fate
What is the motorcycle helmet law?

You're Not the Lone Ranger

This intervention method says "This here's the rule"
and you'd better follow it, so you don't get hurt, fool
What is legislation?
The center of injury prevention, it must be convinced of the need
far more than any single person if your efforts are to succeed
What is the public/community?
It's people banding together to reach goals they believe in,
avoid repeating other's efforts and prevent death and grievin'
What are coalitions?
Although it's a great law and you tell the local folk,
if THIS is not done, your law is a big joke
What is enforcement?
You must do this to find out if your intervention is great
and if it's not, "try, try again" with another plan you create
What is evaluation?

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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New EMSC Product Catalogs Available

The EMSC Clearinghouse has released its Fall EMSC Product and EMSC Grantee Product Catalogs.

The EMSC Product Catalog is available to the general public through the EMSC web site (www.ems-c.org). Products listed in this directory are available in large quantities for mass distribution. The EMSC Grantee Product Catalog contains products that either have limited quantities or are only available in photocopy format. Grantees may obtain this catalog through the EMSC Clearinghouse by calling (703) 902-1203.

Each catalog includes an EMSC Product Order Form. New EMSC policy requires that a shipping and handling fee be placed on all orders, which must be prepaid. As in the past, single copies of some products are free. A minimum fee will be assessed for videos, CD-ROMS, slide sets, T-shirts, pins, and multiple copies of a single item.

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Parental Attitudes Toward Unintentional Childhood Injuries

Injuries as a Threat To Child Health

The low socioeconomic parents who participated in this research generally were unaware that injuries are the number one cause of death among children. Furthermore, nearly ¼ of the participants showed an optimism bias, that is, a belief that their child was less likely to be injured than other children.

Taken together, these findings suggest that a focused concern about childhood injuries, and awareness of the significance of this threat to their child's health, is not well established among these parents.

Attitudes Towards The Preventability of Childhood Injuries

The participants generally endorsed statements indicating that parents could do much to reduce the likelihood of childhood injuries, and that childhood injuries were fairly preventable. However, Aboriginals were less certain of the control they could exercise over preventing childhood injuries, in comparison to the attitudes expressed by mainstream groups.

These results suggest that most parents conceptualized 'injuries' not as 'accidents' that are uncontrollable, but as negative events over which they can exercise some control. However, the parents also strongly expressed the opinions that:

  • Constant supervision of children by parents, which was recognized as a way to decrease childhood injury, was not a realistic expectation, therefore children were always going to be at some risk of injury.
  • Individual child characteristics influenced the likelihood of children being injured almost regardless of what the parent did with respect to child proofing and supervision.
  • Children's risk-taking and getting hurt were naturally occurring aspects of play (i.e., that risk-taking in this context was somehow less modifiable than risk-taking in non-play contexts).
Thus, while most parents expressed the opinion that childhood injuries were fairly preventable, if parents made the efforts to do so, they also comfortably accepted the assumptions that:
  • children will get hurt during play, some children more so than others depending on the individual characteristics of the child, and
  • that it was legitimate that parents not be expected to provide constant supervision of children, thereby placing children at some risk of injury.

Knowledge of Safety Issues Relevant To Childhood Injuries

Parents were aware of the types of injuries that could occur at different ages. However, in general, parents were not very knowledgeable about the sources of common injuries at different ages.

Parents were of the opinion that degree of risk in a situation was determined, in part, by individual child characteristics, such as:

  • the developmental level of the child in question
  • personality attributes of a child
  • child gender, to a more limited extent.

Most participants felt that they had sufficient knowledge with which to act to prevent injuries to their children. However, urban "mainstream" parents felt less sure of having sufficient knowledge to prevent injuries, in comparison to rural "mainstream" parents.

Parents did not identify specific gaps in their knowledge, nor did they mention the need for particular types of information. Nonetheless, when specifically requested to answer the question of what types of information might be most helpful to them, they were more interested in information on how to reduce injuries at different ages, than they were in information on types of injuries common at different ages. About ¼ of the respondents also were interested in free first-aid training.

With respect to specific safety topics, participants scored uniformly high on knowledge of measures related to automobile and pedestrian safety, recognizing the importance of:

  • Using safety seats for infants.
  • Supervising preschoolers crossing streets
  • Close supervision of toddlers since they might run into the street.

Nonetheless, respondents' discussion of the car seat scenario illustrated that parents did not consistently act with knowledge of automobile safety in mind. Specifically, the parents were willing to consider not insisting on the child wearing a seat belt, depending on the immediate demands and circumstances (e.g., distance and speed of travel, degree of resistance by child). Thus, knowledge of safety rules that should be followed (e.g., always wear a seat belt) did not necessarily have a direct influences on parents' thinking about what were acceptable practices to follow in real-life situations.

Beliefs About Influences On Children's Risk-Taking And Cautiousness Behaviors

Parents endorsed statements that children learn to recognize a risky situation based on grownups teaching them to do so and by their own everyday experiences (e.g., getting hurt, observing others get hurt). They did not agree that children are born with a natural sense of danger that helps them to recognize risky situations.

Parents did not feel that a sense of cautiousness was something that just naturally developed as children aged. Direct teaching (by grownups) and learning based on getting hurt were judged as more significant influences on children acting in cautious ways and avoiding risk. In comparison to "mainstream" groups, more Aboriginals felt strongly that injuries teach children to avoid risk subsequently.

Parents felt strongly that grownups can have a significant impact to teach children to avoid risk-taking. mothers, more so than fathers, felt especially committed to the fact that grownups have a responsibility to teach children to act cautiously and avoid risk-taking. However, none of the parents suggested that children should be taught to take calculated risks, to reason about risk-taking-i.e., to balance the potential consequences relative to the personal desire to perform that activity.

Participants also felt that children's acting in risky ways during play reflected a number of factors, including:

  • Children naturally having a lot of energy and therefore being very active during play.
  • Children not thinking sufficiently about danger during play.
  • Children imitating the risk-taking behaviour of others during play.
  • Child characteristics such as:
    • Age (younger children are naturally curious)
    • Gender (boys are more likely to engage in risk-taking than girls)
    • Personality attributes (some children are more reckless than others).

Influence On Parents' Awareness Of Injury-Risk In Situations

Parents proffered two possibilities with respect to awareness of the risk of injuries in the situations presented in the various scenarios (which in themselves were considered to be fair representations of real-life situations):

  • Lack of awareness of the risk on the part of parents, or,
  • Conscious dismissal or downplay of the degree of injury-risk on the part of parents.
Some parents are aware of the injury-risk but decide to accept the risk on a rational basis. Common explanations for accepting the risk included:
  • the parent has a 'false sense of security' that nothing would happen, because they had performed the risky behavior many times previously with no negative consequences.
  • The parent being stressed and distracted by a crying or upset child and deciding to accept a more risky behavior in order to minimize, or put an end to, the child being upset.

Sometimes parents are distracted by something that they feel requires their immediate attention (e.g., phone, doorbell), or taxes either their attention (e.g., paying bills) or their emotions (e.g., distressed child). This results in their not stopping to think in terms of safety before acting. Sources of distraction were mentioned as reasons why parents may not be aware of the injury risk.

Influences On Parents' Assessment Of Degree of Injury-Risk In Situations

A number of factors influenced parents' judgements about the degree of injury-risk, including:

Individual child characteristics, such as:
  • The age of the child
  • The extent to which parents 'knew' their child and how likely he/she was to act either to avoid risk or pursue it.
  • Child gender, to a more limited extent (about 50% of participants felt boys engaged in more injury risk behavior than girls and were therefore more likely to be injured more often).

Beliefs about how common the injury is (i.e., that most if not all children have these types of injuries at one time or another during their childhood) influenced their attitudes about the likelihood of their child experiencing the injury in the situation.

Influences On Parents' Judgements About Responsibility For Childhood Injuries

Participants did not necessarily assign full responsibility for childhood injuries to parents. Participants' decisions about responsibility for injuries to children were influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • the individual characteristics of the child, such as age, personality, and gender, which were assumed to influence the extent to which the parent could have foreseen an injury outcome.
  • The degree to which the danger was self-evident (e.g., poison versus a cake as the source of the danger).
  • The extent to which the injury outcome was likely (e.g., any child in that circumstance would likely wind up injured).
  • The judged appropriateness of the parent's level of supervision (i.e., under some circumstances, it was deemed appropriate to expect constant supervision of a child by parents).

Parents Beliefs About The Best Way To Teach About Safety

The most commonly reported approach to teaching about safety was to use lots of repetitions of safety principles. In short, to "preach" again and again.

Some parents also mentioned the importance of setting a good example. However, surprisingly, this point was not often emphasized as especially significant. Parents seemed to think that what they said to children was more critical than the example they set.

A number of factors influenced how parents taught their children about safety and avoiding injury-risk, including:

  • the potential severity of the injury outcome - harsher discipline was endorsed when the severity of the potential injury was great.
  • Child characteristics, especially age - one could reason more with older children than younger ones, and older children had better memory for safety information.

Surprisingly, child gender was not endorsed as a factor that influenced how parents taught children about safety. Although half the participants felt that boys engaged in more risk-taking than girls, most parents did not report teaching sons differently from daughters.

Parents disagreed as to when was the best time to teach about safety, with some endorsing teaching when the child is in the act of risk-taking, and others supporting the idea that anticipatory teaching is better. Generally, parents thought that anticipatory teaching, if used at all, was most appropriate for older children, since they had better memory abilities than younger children.

Those that favored waiting until the child was in the act of risk-taking seemed to believe that anticipatory teaching might "give children the idea" of risk taking, as opposed to decrease the chances of their risk-taking.

Parents' Sources Of Safety Information

Parents were able to identify a number of sources of safety information that they themselves used. However, the fact that it took some time for them to think about and identify their sources, suggests that they do not often use these sources to seek out safety information. Consistent with this very frequent response was that safety was "common sense" and did not require specific educational materials.

The most common sources of safety information mentioned included:

  • other parents, family
  • written materials (e.g., child rearing books, pamphlets, parent magazines)
  • family doctor and/or public health personnel
  • shows on television (e.g., Rescue 911).

The general consensus was that there are a lot more sources of, and much more, information on keeping infants safe, in comparison to what is available with respect to the post-infancy years.

This document was last updated on July 16, 1999.

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Reducing Injuries to Youths on Farms

A recent report by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) shows that young people who live on, work on, and/or visit farms are being injured at a high rate.

The findings in the report, 1998 Childhood Agricultural Injuries (released by NASS Oct. 6, 1999), provide an opportunity for agricultural safety and health professionals to pursue new strategies aimed at decreasing the childhood agricultural injury rate, NIFS member Barbara Lee says.

"New strategies should be pursued to influence grandparents and other farmers to modify their farms with child sensitive safety features if they intend to allow children to visit and/or work there. These measures would coincide with other protective measures (e.g., bicycle helmets, child passenger seats in autos) that have greatly reduced childhood injury rates outside of agriculture," says Lee, who is also the director of the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.

It's also important that teen-agers receive job-related safety training, especially when they don't live on a farm but accept employment on a farm, Lee says.

"Teen-agers have become low-cost labor for expanding farms, but there are not enough farm resident teen-agers to meet the labor demands. Thus, 'city kids' are taking jobs on farms without understanding the hazards."

Thousands of injuries

The following were among the findings of the recent NASS report, which was based on a random telephone survey of 50,000 farm operations conducted for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

  • Approximately 32,800 agricultural-related injuries occurred to young people under the age of 20 who lived on, worked on, or visited a farm in 1998. (Injuries were defined as a condition that resulted in at least four hours of restricted activity).
  • Of those injuries, 56 percent were non-work-related, and 44 percent were work-related.
  • Most of the injuries (23,640) occurred to youths who were part of the farm household.
  • A total of 7,040 injuries occurred to youths visiting a farm. Sixty-nine percent of those were classified as non-work-related, while 31 percent were work-related.

(For more information on this report, check the NASS home page at: www.usda.gov/nass).

This document was last updated on June 16, 2000.

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From the Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

Safely Power Up Lawn And Garden Tools This Spring

Northbrook, IL

 Most people look forward to venturing outside when temperatures are on the rise. When spring hits, spring cleaning enthusiasts break out lawn and garden tools to do their seasonal spruce-up around the house.

The safety experts at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) recommend the following tips to remember when using lawn and garden appliances.

  • Before using any appliance or tool, read and follow the manufacturer's use and care instructions that come with the product.
  • Always look for the familiar UL Listing Mark before purchasing a power tool, garden appliance or any other electrical product. The UL Listing Mark on a product means that representative samples of that product have been tested to nationally recognized safety standards with regard to fire, electric shock and related safety hazards.
  • Before each use, inspect power tools and electric garden appliances for frayed power cords and cracked or broken casings. If the product is damaged, stop using it immediately. Don't attempt to repair it yourself. Return the product back to the retailer or manufacturer or have a qualified repair shop examine the product.
  • When using power tools and garden appliances, always wear proper attire. Keep your clothing, hands and feet away from cutting blades at all times. Never wear jewelry when working with tools. Always wear safety glasses.
  • Pay attention to warning markings. Don't allow tools to get wet unless they are labeled "immersible." When using tools or extension cords outside, make sure they are appropriate for outdoor use.
  • Never alter a product or remove safety features such as blade guards or electric plug grounding pins.
  • Use only properly rated outdoor extension cords with outdoor electrical tools.
  • Check the switch on a power tool or garden appliance to make sure it's "OFF" before your plug it in.
  • Unplug all portable electrically operated power tools when not in use. These tools contain electricity even when turned "OFF" but still plugged in.
  • Use and store power tools and garden appliances away from water sources to avoid electric shock. Never use power tools and appliances in the rain.
  • Have a qualified technician install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles in all outdoor outlets. After installation, test your GFCIs monthly.
  • Never carry an appliance by the cord, and never yank the cord when removing it from a receptacle. When disconnecting the cord, always grasp the plug -- not the wire. Keep the cord away from heat, oil and sharp edges.

Power tools and garden appliances, like any household appliance, need to be maintained and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Following these precautions and the manufacturer's instructions may help you to enjoy longer, safer use of your spring cleaning tools.

For more information on UL's spring safety campaign and tips on safe use of ladders and power mowers, visit UL's Web site at www.ul.com, or call UL's fax-on-demand line at 1-800-473-4766.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products for public safety for more than a century. More than 14 billion products bearing the UL Mark enter the marketplace every year.

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Safety City

Make The Right Call to EMS

  1. Know the address of where you are baby-sitting. Know where the nearest intersection is so that you can give directions to emergency workers if necessary.
  2. Be sure you know the emergency number to call from the home you're working at because it may not be the same as the one you'd call from your own home.
  3. Ask for a phone number to reach the parent(s). If they are not reachable, ask them to give the name and phone number of someone else to contact, or contact your own parents.
  4. Tell the emergency dispatcher the age of the child, how he or she was hurt, what the victim's condition is, and where he or she is right now.
  5. Tell Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel when and what the child last ate.
  6. Remember that EMS call takers are specially trained to aid you. Answer their questions.
  7. Attend classes for baby-sitters if they are offered in your community; learn how to handle life-threatening situations, such as stopping bleeding, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and responding to poisoning.
  8. Remember that watching the children-not talking on the phone or watching television-is your first priority.
  9. Find out if the children under your care have any special medical problems. NEVER give medicine to them unless the parent(s) has instructed you about what and how much to give.
  10. Stay in the house unless you have permission to take the children outside. Never leave the house without the children.
  11. Remember to pull to the crib rail all the way up when putting a baby to bed.
  12. Be careful when bathing kids. A slippery tub can be dangerous.
  13. Know where a flashlight and batteries are, or better yet, take a flashlight with you.
  14. Keep matches, lighters, fireworks, medicines, household chemicals, knives and other sharp objects out of the reach of small children.
  15. Don't use cigarettes, lighters, the fireplace, candles, drugs, alcohol, or fireworks.
  16. Call the parents, or your parents, if for any reason you become afraid.
  17. Don't waste precious time trying to put out a fire, even if you are afraid you might be blamed for it. Take the child and get out of the house, then call for help from a neighbor's.
  18. Don't leave food unattended. If you must prepare meals, keep them simple. Don't let the children cook, they can help but they shouldn't use knives or appliances.

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Safety For Older Farmers

  • Workers 55 years of age and older account for approximately half of all deaths in farming, and have fatality rates at least 2.5 times higher than younger workers.
  • These older workers account for a disproportionate number of fatalities related to tractors, trucks, mowing machines and farm animals.
  • Educational efforts to address older workers must be tailored to this age group and have their involvement from the start. Older farm workers should be actively engaged in improving existing engineering controls and in developing new ones.

    Risks and suggestions

    Risks that increase the aging farmer's susceptibility to injury:

  • sensory loss, loss in muscle and skeletal strength, and slower reaction time
  • more rapid fatigue
  • reduced ability to handle such tasks as operating agricultural machinery under time stress
  • automatic, rather than attentive, behaviors (due to the farmer having performed the task so many times in the past)

    Some suggestions that can helptailor safety messages to older farmers are:

  • Don't underestimate the value of personal messages. Focus on "self-help" - give older farmers on opportunity for personal decisions.
  • Use older farmers in safety materials. Use case studies and stories involving their peers.
  • Talk about the concern for young children. Show older farmers how they can help model appropriate safety behavior for their own children and grandchildren.
  • Develop specialized "niche" messages. Do this by working with your local aging network. In order to be effective, Lago says, it's important to get these networks working with you.

    This document was last updated on December 15, 1999.

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    Shaken Baby Syndrome

    In the past few years a newly recognized injury to children has been identified and described. This injury is often referred to as "shaken baby syndrome." This is a serious injury, and the results can be devastating.

    Most of the time, shaken baby syndrome occurs when adults, frustrated and angry with children, shake them violently. If you are a parent or ever care for a baby, it is important to know the dangers of shaking. You also need to tell everyone who cares for your baby, that it is never okay to shake the baby.

    Young infants have very weak neck muscles and only gradually develop the strength to control their heavy heads.

    If they are shaken, their heads wobble rapidly back and forth, which may cause brain damage and bleeding in and on the surface of the brain. Severe damage of this type is most common in very young infants, but it can happen even to three year olds.

    Be Safe, Not Sorry

    The consequences of shaking a child include

    • Brain damage
    • Spinal injury/paralysis
    • Blindness or eye trauma
    • Seizures
    • Retardation-mild to severe
    • Delay in normal development-impaired motor and sensory skills
    • Broken bones
    • Dislocations
    • Death

    In other words, shaking a baby is not harmless. It is child abuse. So remember, it is never okay to shake a baby.

    How to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

    • The most important rule to remember is never shake an infant or child for any reason.
    • Always provide support for your baby's head when holding, playing with, or transporting her or him. Instruct others who care for your infant in the proper support of the head.
    • Make sure that all those who are in contact with your infant know the dangers of shaking. This includes babysitter, child care providers and even siblings.

    Ways to Cope With a Crying Baby

    All babies cry a lot during the first few months of their lives. Things you might try to deal with a crying baby include:

    • Offer the baby a pacifier
    • Take the baby for a walk in a stroller or ride in the car.
    • Wrap the baby in a blanket, and place him or her in a crib or other safe place, close the door and go to another room.
    • Call your child's doctor or nurse for other tips on caring for a fussy baby.

    What to Do if You Shake Your Baby…

    …either accidentally or on purpose. Even though you may feel embarrassed or guilty, it is imperative that you get the baby to the emergency room immediately. Bleeding inside the brain can be treated. Immediate medical attention will save your baby many future problems… and possibly even save his or her life.

    Prevent Injury, Don't Shake!

    Instead stop,

    1. Take a deep breath. And another. Then remember, you are the adult.
    2. Close your eyes and imagine you're hearing what your child is about to hear.
    3. Press your lips together and count to 10… better yet, to 20
    4. Put your child in a time-out chair. (Remember: one time-out minute for each year of age.)
    5. Put yourself in a time-out chair. Think about why you are angry: Is it your child, or is your child simply a convenient target for your anger?
    6. Call a friend or neighbor.
    7. Do something for yourself:
      • play favorite music,
      • exercise,
      • take a shower.
    8. Change your activity:
      • shake a rug,
      • do dishes or laundry,
      • scrub a floor,
      • beat a pillow.

    9. Sit down, close your eyes, think of a pleasant place in your memory for four minutes.
    10. Write down the ten best things about yourself. Write down the ten best things about your child.
    11. Contact PREVENT CHILD ABUSE - ILLINOIS, a chapter of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, (217) 522-1129, for additional child care and parenting resources.

    This information provided by:

    A chapter of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse

    528 S 5th st., Suite 211, Springfield, IL 62701
    Telephone 217/522-1129 - Fax 217/522-0655

    This document was last updated on July 28, 1999.

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    Sleep and Childhood Injury

    Among adults, some researchers have found that sleepiness may contribute to accidents - in the home, at work, and in motor vehicles. However, the effect of sleepiness on the occurrence of unintentional injuries among children has received little research attention.

    In a study conducted by researchers in Italy and the United States, 292 injured children who were seen in the children's emergency room of the pediatrics department of the University of Udine, Italy, were evaluated. All injuries were declared unintentional. After administering a questionnaire, researchers interviewed either the child or one of the child's parents, depending on the child's age. Information on gender, age, and educational level; medication use; the child's usual sleeping pattern; the child's sleeping pattern during the last week; date, hour, and nature of the injury; and a brief account of the accident was obtained. Researchers also investigated the 48 hours before the injury, asking whether the child was asleep or awake hour by hour.

    The relative risk of injury during a 24-hour period in which the child had slept less than 10 hours was compared with a period in which the child had slept a minimum of 10 hours. Both nighttime sleep and daytime naps were included in sleep duration calculations.

    Results showed that injury was more frequent among boys (62%) than girls (38%). However, between 1 and 4 years, and between 10 and 11 years of age, about as many girls as boys were injured. Falls were the leading cause of injury, followed by knocks (striking against objects or being struck by objects or persons), and then cycling accidents. Sleeping less than 10 hours a day was associated with an 86% increase in risk of injury in boys but not girls. In boys, a fourfold increase in the risk of injury was associated with being awake for at least 8 hours before the accident.

    What This Means to You: This study suggests that children are more prone to injury if they don't get enough sleep - either during the night or during the daytime. Although sleep patterns and needs vary from child to child, try to make sure your child gets an adequate amount of sleep.

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    Spinal Cord Injury Statistics


    It is estimated that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI), not including those who die at the scene, is approximately 40 cases per million population in the U.S., or approximately 10,000 new cases each year. Since there have not been any overall incidence studies of SCI in the U.S. since the 1970's it is not known if incidence has changed in recent years.


    The number of people in the United States who are alive today and who have SCI has been estimated to be between 721 and 906 per million population. This corresponds to between 183,000 and 203,000 persons.

    Age at injury:

    SCI primarily affects young adults. 55% of SCIs occur among persons in the 16 to 30 year age group, and the average age at injury is 31.8 years. Since 1973 there has been an increase in the mean age at time of injury. Those who were injured before 1979 had a mean age of 28.6 while those injured after 1990 had a mean age of 35.1 years. Another trend is an increase in the proportion of those who were at least 61 years of age at injury. In the 1970's persons older than 60 years of age at injury comprised 4.7% of the database. Since 1990 this has increased to 10%. This trend is not surprising since the median age of the general population has increased from 27.9 years to 33.1 years during the same time period.


    Overall, 81.7% of all persons in the national database are male. This greater than four-to-one male to female ratio has varied little over the last 25 years.

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    Ski Injuries Fact Sheet


    There are a reported 3-4 injuries per 1000 skier days each year
    Less than 40% of all ski injuries are reported annually
    The majority of all ski injuries are minor
    Most ski injuries involve the ankle and thumb
    Approximately 10% of all ski injuries involve the head and neck
    Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of all ski injuries involve a stationary object (i.e. tree)
    Most ski injuries can be attributed to skier error - NOT equipment failure
    Most skiers do no use helmets
    Unlike vehicle crashes, alcohol does not appear to be a major factor in ski injuries
    While the skill level of the injured skier varies, experienced skiers can be injured just as easily as the beginner


    Reduce your speed

    • Excessive speed contributes to injury severity
    • Excessive speed contributes to loss of control

    Be familiar with the terrain of the area that you intend to ski
    Choose will groomed and clearly marked trails
    Don't overestimate your skills
    Wear a helmet. Choose one that doesn't restrict your field of vision

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    Steps to Ladder Safety

    Northbrook, IL

    All across the United States, people will be climbing ladders to spruce up the exterior of their homes, examine gutters, paint walls, and perform other tasks associated with spring cleaning. On average, about 150,000 people make emergency-room visits due to ladder mishaps each year. To avoid becoming an emergency-room casualty, the safety experts at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) would like you to be aware of basic safety guidelines for proper ladder use.

    The first "step" to using any ladder safely is to carefully read the instructions included in the manufacturer's use and care booklet, according to John Drengenberg, Consumer Affairs Manager at UL. The manufacturer's instructions contain guidelines that can help consumers use ladders more safely and effectively and also contain important guidelines for weight and height limits.

    "Consumers should choose the proper ladder for the intended task. For example, if the ladder will be used near electrical sources, consumers should use a nonmetallic ladder to reduce the possibility of electrical shock," says Drengenberg.
    Another crucial "step" is to always inspect the ladder before stepping on the first rung, Drengenberg adds. "Make sure the ladder has been well maintained, that the rungs are clean and all parts are intact -- never climb on a slippery or shaky ladder."

    Setting up the ladder correctly may help prevent falls. "When planting the base of any ladder, place all feet on a firm, level surface, not on rocks or boards. Spreaders, the devices that hold the front and back sections of a step ladder in an open position, should be completely open and locked before any weight is placed on the ladder. If using an extension ladder, don't place the ladder at too extreme an angle. Remember, different ladders have different safety considerations," Drengenberg advises.

    Finally, UL recommends that consumers follow several precautions to help prevent ladder accidents:

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    UMTRI Pregnany Crash Dummy May Better Evaluate Fetal Loss

    Each year, about 130,000 women in the second half of pregnancy are involved in motor vehicle crashes. About 30,000 of these women are injured and 160 are killed. To further examine this issue, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), under the sponsorship of General Motors Corp., conducted four projects to guide the design of a new pregnant dummy abdomen.

    About 300 to 3,800 pregnant women who survive motor vehicle crashes will lose their fetuses as a direct result of the trauma. There haven't been many studies to evaluate how to reduce fetal losses and maternal injury by improving safety restraint systems or vehicle design, according to UMTRI.

    Current Dummy Isn't Perfect

    The first generation pregnant abdomen for the small female crash dummy has numerous limitations. First, it does not assess the likelihood of fetal loss due to separation of the placenta from the uterus, which is thought to be the most common cause of fetal loss in motor vehicle crashes. Also, the abdomen does not have a realistic external contour and is too stiff.

    Results of in-depth crash investigations conclude that placental abruption is the primary cause of fetal loss in motor vehicle trauma, so the decision was made to focus on this specific injury.

    According to an UMTRI report, the four projects improve understanding of seated anthropometric changes throughout pregnancy, propose different failure mechanisms for traumatic placental abruption, and begin the development of an injury criterion for the likelihood of placental abruption and corresponding fetal loss.

    Ongoing work will concentrate on using the information gained to design, develop, and test the MAMA-2B, or Maternal Anthropomorphic Measurement Apparatus version 2B. UMTRI hopes this second generation dummy will better assess changes in vehicle interior and restraint system design to reduce the risk for the fetus and pregnant woman in motor vehicle crashes.

    For more information on UMTRI's report Improving Automotive Safety During Pregnancy, contact UMTRI Research Review, University of Michigan, Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; website www.umtri.umich.edu.

    This document was last updated on June 8, 2000.

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    Unintentional Injury Deaths Lower

    According to a report by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, safety devices such as smoke alarms, car seats and bike helmets have contributed to a 46 percent decline in the unintentional injury- related death rate among children ages 14 and under. As a result of better engineering, widespread education and improving safety devices over the past 20 years, children are better protected from preventable injury.

    The report chronicles important milestones in the evolution of safety devices such as their introduction into the market, the passage of landmark safety legislation, increased affordability and usage, and important innovations in materials such as plastics.

    "Of all the dangers children face today, parents need to focus on the one that is not only the largest killer of kids, but the one they can do something about -- unintentional injury," said Heather Paul, Ph.D., executive director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "The most effective proven intervention to protecting kids is the use of these safety devices. Safety device distribution and education have always been a core part of our mission, and it's gratifying to see injury death rates have declined as a result."

    Among the report findings:

    • Over the past two decades, the residential fire-related death rate has declined 55 percent among children. Studies have shown that a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a residential fire in half. Smoke alarms in the early 1960s were metal devices that were prohibitively expensive at $120 each and not readily available to the public. Today, smoke alarms cost as little as $10 and are purchased at retail outlets in every community.
    • While vehicle usage and miles traveled have soared over the past 18 years, the motor vehicle occupant-related death rate has declined by 10 percent among children. Car seats manufactured in the early 1970s provided comfort for kids riding in cars, but, ironically, offered little or no protection. Today, crash test standards exist that all car seats must meet. Correctly used, car seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent for infants.
    • Bike helmets are 88 percent effective in reducing the risk of brain injury and have contributed to a 60 percent decline in the death rate from bike-traffic injuries among children in the past two decades. Bike helmets were once merely a hairnet used only by professional racers. Now, bike helmets are made from protective polystyrene and fiberglass to absorb forces on impact and are used by both adults and children. In addition, 16 states now have bike helmet laws.

    While many factors have contributed to a decline in unintentional injury death rates, safety device usage, which has been greatly impacted by advances in technology, has clearly made a difference. Materials such as fiberglass, nylon and polystyrene have helped to make safety devices more accessible to the public by making them lighter, more affordable and more convenient to use.

    "When you see the SAFE KIDS statistics, you realize that injuries happen a lot more than you think -- and they are preventable," said Rob Yokum, president and CEO, American Plastics Council. "As a Grandfather, I marvel at the devices we never had when we were raising our kids. Just in the past 25 years we've seen tremendous advancements in the plastics technology that benefit children. We're confident that the role plastics play to improve safety devices will continue into the new millennium."

    Despite modern advances, unintentional injury remains the number one killer of children. However, new technologies, together with education and legislation, will continue to evolve as the public increasingly regards family safety as a high priority.

    The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is the first and only national organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury -- the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. More than 275 state and local SAFE KIDS Coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico comprise the Campaign. Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D., is chairman of the Campaign and Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore are honorary chairs.

    SOURCE National SAFE KIDS Campaign

    This document was posted on January 6, 2000.

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    What You Should Know About Spinal Cord Injuries

    Each year, nearly 11,000 Americans sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), and many of them suffer permanent disabilities. More than 190,000 persons in the U.S. live with paralysis caused by SCI.

    Safety Tips spacer.gif (49 bytes)

    Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries

    The following tips, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Spinal Cord Injury Information Network, may reduce the risk of spinal cord injury:

    • Wear a seat belt every time you drive a car or ride in one. Make sure your children are buckled into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (as appropriate for their age). Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of SCI.
    • Keep firearms and ammunition locked in a cabinet or safe when not in use. The second leading cause of SCI is violence, most often related to firearms use.
    • Prevent fallsthe third leading cause of SCIby
      • using a step stool with a grab bar to reach objects on high shelves;
      • installing handrails on stairways;
      • installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of windows;
      • using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
    • Play sports safely. For example:
      • Wear all required safety gear.
      • Never engage in head-first moves, such as spearing (in football, using the helmet to tackle) or sliding head-first into a base.
      • Avoid hitting the boards with your head in ice hockey.
      • Insist on spotters when performing new or difficult moves in gymnastics.

    The Problem 

    Who Is Affected?

    Almost 11,000 people in the U.S. sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury each year, resulting in temporary or permanent sensory deficit, motor deficit, or bowel or bladder dysfunction. In this country, nearly 200,000 people live with an SCI-related disability.

    More than half the people who sustain an SCI are between 16 and 30 years old. More males than females sustain this type of injurythe ratio is more than four to one. Blacks are at higher risk for SCI than whites, and the SCI rate among blacks has been rising in recent years. The most common cause of SCI is motor vehicle crashes, accounting for at least 35 percent of these injuries. Violence-related SCIs have been steadily increasing over the past two decades, and today, violence is associated with 30 percent of SCIs. Falls and sports cause 19 percent and 8 percent of SCI cases, respectively.

    Safety Resources 

    American Spinal Injury Association

    ASIA offers a national directory of spinal cord injury prevention programs

    (http://www.asia-spinalinjury.org/research/index.html). ASIA's phone number is 312-908-1242.

    Paralyzed Veterans of America

    PVA (www.pva.org) has information on living with SCI, including rehabilitation, living an active life, and sports and recreation after SCI. PVA's toll-free number is 1-800-424-8200. Or call the National Spinal Cord Injury Hotline at 1-800-962-9629.

    Spinalcord Injury Information Network

    Run by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, this site (www.spinalcord.uab.edu) provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about SCI.


    The data and safety tips in this fact sheet were obtained from the following sources:

    CDC. Spinal cord surveillance data from AR, CO, GA, LA, MS, UT 1990-1994. Unpublished.

    Johnson R. Traumatic spinal cord injury: Brief overview of impact. CDC. Unpublished.

    Spinalcord Injury Information Network. Frequently asked questions. Available at http://www.spinalcord.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=20183 Accessed September 13, 1999.

    Spinalcord Injury Information Network. Spinal cord injury: Facts and figures at a glance.

    April 1999. Available at  www.sci.rehabm.uab.edu/docs/factsfig.htm. Accessed September 13, 1999.

    Thurman D, Sniezek J, Johnson D, Greenspan A, Smith S. Guidelines for Surveillance of Central Nervous System Injury. Atlanta: CDC, 1995; II-3.

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    Young Workers Need More Protection

    A new report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (Protecting Youth at Risk, 1998) recommends that the government take greater steps to protect young people working in agriculture.

    The report, which notes that children and adolescents, working in agriculture often do not receive adequate training to help them avoid injuries, suggests extending Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to cover children n agriculture.

    The report also recommends that the federal government review the rules that define which jobs are too hazardous for workers under the age of 18, and take steps to update its regulations. Protection from hazardous work for those younger than 18 should be extended to agriculture, including family-owned farms the report recommends.

    The report notes that while only 8 percent of employed children and adolescents work in agriculture, more than 40 percent of the job fatalities in this age group during 1992-1996 occurred in agricultural settings.

    The physical, cognitive and emotional characteristics of children and adolescents, as well as their inexperience should be considered in designing job training, the report recommends.

    The study was found by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Labor. To purchase a copy, call 800/624-6242.

    This document was posted on December 24, 1999.

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    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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