‘Tis the season to be decorating! Many families celebrating Christmas have already or will soon decorate the outside and inside of their homes, celebrating in style. But for some of you, safety may be a concern. Both infants and toddlers can become injured by electrical outlets, ornaments and even a Christmas tree. This may be the first year you’ve had to think about safety issues at Christmas either because you are a first time parent or because your toddler has started developing an interest for these lovely decorations.
If your stories include, “I woke up to find all the ornaments smashed all over the floor,” or “My infant had a glass ornament break in his mouth,” then here are my top 10 suggestions for you:
1. Use plastic ornaments.
Learn to see the world through a child’s eyes. These shiny and sparkling ornaments attract your child like a moth to a flame. Glass or sharp/pointy ornaments in his/her mouth can cause injury.
2. Use garland instead of lights. Remove the temptation to play with the light bulbs or the electric light sockets.
3. Keep electric sockets covered. If you have not already purchased these, these covers are available at a number of local pharmacies and stores.
4. Keep lights out of reach from all children. Depending on the bulbs used, this can hurt sensitive little fingers or hands. Not to mention, older toddlers can pull the bulbs apart from the light set. They can chew on them or offer them to the younger children in the home. In addition, the light set can be pulled causing the Christmas tree to topple onto your child.
5. Avoid ornaments & lights at the bottom of your tree. Some families decorate the top ½ or ¾ of the tree to help their child resist temptation. Again, for the same reason that when pulled, the Christmas tree could fall onto your child.
6. Use play yard gates to surround your Christmas tree. To avoid direct contact all together, these gates are the best. You can find them at your local store or by doing an internet search for Superyard XT Pay Yard.
7. Keep candy dishes out of reach. Your child can choke on a lot of traditional candy. In addition, if they pull the candy dish, it may fall & shatter onto the floor. Then, your child might get glass or ceramic cuts on their hands, feet, or elsewhere.
8. Avoid marshmallows. This is a fun treat if used appropriately. However, small children and even older children have choked on this. Some have even died. Marshmallow does not dissolve. So, it would be very hard, if not impossible to get this out of your child’s throat, even if you know how to use the Heimlich maneuver. Two very famous cases involved the death of a 12 year old girl in 1999 and a 32 year old woman in 2006 while playing the "Chubby Bunny" game (http://bit.ly/1sqHoWR).
9. Ask for help; have someone watch your child while you decorate.
It’s hard to keep your children away from all the decor while still trying to decorate. A watchful eye is especially needed if you are decorating the outside of your home. Children have a way of getting into trouble or hurting themselves whenever you are not looking. As a pediatrician, I commonly hear, “It was only a minute.” Then, injury occurs.
10. Lastly, be careful when you gift wrap.
Even wrapping gifts can result in an injury. It may only be bags, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, & scissors to you, but it’s a gold mine for your child. If left unattended, small children can suffocate in plastic bags and cut themselves with scissors. Keep these items out of your child’s reach at all times.
A Christmas tree and Christmas time decorations can be a wonderfully fun time at home, as long as you keep safety in mind.
This July 4th, I've noticed everyone is having their own kind of fun. Some are choosing to spend time at a barbecue with their neighbors. Some are going to the movies. Some are going the Disney.
As for us, we enjoyed some fireworks last night with some friends. It was set up the top level of the parking garage at the Mall near us. It was really magical to be so close to the fireworks and see the kids faces light up. One of them said, "This is the best day ever!" This afternoon, we'll be at our community pool with friends. As for tonight, we are just going to chill. I'm going to clean up the house a bit. Maybe watch Star Wars tonight at home.
Whatever you do, it is important to remember safety first. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some links to safety information and videos.
http://bit.ly/17VXIZq Between fireworks and pools, there's always a risk for injury or drowning. Please keep an eye on your kids, as they tend to not pay attention when there is a lot of people & excitement around. In addition, with lots of people around & lots of distractions, we are less likely to keep a close eye on our children.
Beach and pool safety is paramount. The most common thing I've heard with drownings or near drownings is, "I only stepped away for a minute." That's all it takes if no one is actively watching your child. Often, one adult is left to watch many kids. This isn't safe either. Make sure several adults are in charge of this important duty.
It is best to leave the fireworks to the professionals. They have everything set up to prevent all kinds of injuries, including eye injuries, skin burns, fires and more. At last night's fireworks show, there were two fire trucks in place. This shows how important it is to have all the right personnel in place. However, if you choose to handle fireworks, making sure you handle fireworks safely is important. Wear protective goggles, use ear protectors, make sure fuses are set up safely & so that you can set them from a distance. Keep a safe distance away from them as you set them. Remember, you are a role model for your children. Chances are, if you show them how to use fireworks safely, they'll do the same when they are older.
Fourth of July is about spending time with family, friends, good food, barbecue, water fun, and fireworks. Make sure this July 4th is synonymous with fun and safety.
Starting this summer, Tylenol will now have standardized dosing for their Infants' & Children's products. In 2009, the FDA made several safety recommendations, including changing the concentration of Tylenol so that it is unform regardless of the age of the child. That's precisely what they've done. As a result, the measuring devices will also change. The current concentrated Infant's Tylenol will cease to be manufactured.
The idea behind this standard concentration is to decrease the risk of overdosing a child. In this case, safety and standardization go hand in hand. An overdose of Tylenol can result in liver damage and/or death. This change is particularly helpful if you have children of various ages in your home. When exhausted in the care of your sick child, you will no longer risk choosing the wrong bottle (i.e. the wrong concentration) in the store or at home. Hence, your child is less likely to be overdosed or even underdosed.
This will have an impact if/when you choose to give your child Tylenol. It also will have an impact when you ask your child's Pediatrician for dosing questions. Why? Because both past & new formulations will be available in the market at the same time. So, your child's doctor will need to know the concentration of the specific bottle you have at home in order to tell you what dosage of Tylenol is appropriate for your child. In reality it won't be a big deal. But it is best to be prepared, as there is likely to be some confusion until all of the old formulations are truly a thing of the past.
On May 4, 2011, The Consumer Healthcare Produscts Association announced that other manufacturers of Acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) will also change their formulations so that their concentrations will also standardized to 160 mg/5 ml.
For more information regarding the change in Tylenol concentration and measurement, please go to http://www.chpa-info.org/
Here we go again; yet another food recall. Remember the spinach recall? How about the peanut butter recall? Now, it's Bumble Bee Chicken Salad. It seems that the list goes on and on.
Currently, there is a food safety bill in Congress that attempts to reduce the food borne illnesses that we have been facing as a nation. The Senate has passed the bill 73-25. It is now in the House. I hope it becomes a law.
According to Western Farm Press, Senate Bill 510 would give the "Food & Drug Administration (FDA) broad new authorities to issue mandatory recalls of suspected contaminated foods, increase the frequency of inspections for food facilities, and standardize information collected on food products to improve the agency’s ability to trace the history of those linked to outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. The FDA also would gain access to records of domestic food facilities in emergencies and would be empowered to bar importation of high-risk foods if the products lacked proper certification or if US inspectors were denied access to processing facilities."
The recalled products are:
1) Bumble Bee Lunch on the Run Chicken Salad Complete Lunch Kit – 8.2-ounce package (UPC 8660070741) with a "Best-by" date of 07/11.
2) Bumble Bee Chicken Salad with Crackers Ready-to-Eat Kit – 3.5-ounce package (UPC 8660070350) with a "Best-by" dates of 01/12 and 02/12.
Nationwide, manufacturers are recalling their drop-side cribs left and right. Recently, over two (2) million have been recalled due to an increased number of injuries and deaths. This brings the total to over nine (9) million that have been recalled in the last five (5) years. Some of the manufacturers affected include Pottery Barn Kids, Simmons, Bexco, LaJobi, Jardine, Evenflo, Delta, Child Craft (out of business), Graco, Simplicity, Generation 2, ChilDESIGNS, Stork Craft, Simplicity, PlayKids USA, and L.A. Baby. Sadly, the list does not end here. It goes on and on. To check to see if your crib has been recalled, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The injury or death can occur when the drop-side crib’s hardware comes loose, leaving a gap between the baby’s mattress and the rail, leading to suffocation or strangulation. Since 2000, these cribs have resulted in at least 32 deaths and 16 cases of entrapment in infants and toddlers, with another 14 deaths linked as well.
About two (2) weeks ago, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (http://www.cpsc.gov/) proposed a new standard that cribs manufactured for sale or resale must have four (4) fixed sides. If passed, it is predicted that as early as Summer 2011, drop-side cribs will be banned sale, re-sale or use in stores, hotels, and daycare centers.
What should you do if you have a one? Stop using it. Contact the manufacturer or search their website. Many are offering kits that will immobilize the rail. If no such kit is available, please consider replacing your crib. Although the deaths have been few, your child could become one of the rare ones. It is not worth taking the chance.