My Blog

Posts for category: Safety

By contactus@priority-pediatrics.com
June 26, 2019
Category: Safety
Tags: Guns   death   Storage   2nd Amendment   Second Amendment   unlocked   Asking   firearms  
June 21 is "Asking Saves Kids Day"

On June 21st pediatricians were promoting a national campaign from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Brady United entitled Asking Saves Kids. It's never too late to ask this question even after June 21.
This annual campaign encourages caregivers/parents to ask about the presence of unlocked firearms in the homes their children visit on the first day of summer.  On ASK day June 21st, all physicians and medical staff were encouraged to ask families about safe firearm storage in their homes.  ASK Day is important because 1/3 of all American homes with children have a gun in them, and roughly 40% of gun owning households store their guns unlocked. The CDC estimates nearly 2 million children live in a home with loaded, unlocked guns. As a result, every 30 minutes a child or teen dies or is injured by a gun. In the state of Georgia from 2010-2017, 452 children died from firearm injuries.
This should not be the cost of our 2nd Amendment privileges. 

Please ASK one question that can change your child’s life when your child plays in your home or over at someone's residence:  
Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?
By contactus@priority-pediatrics.com
May 26, 2019
Category: Safety
Tags: Boating   Water Safety   Swimming   Pools   Life Jackets   Coast Guard  

Drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children age 1–4. It doesn’t only happen when you are by the pool or at the beach; drowning can happen anywhere, even in one inch of standing water. Among children under age 4, 70% of drownings happen during non-swim times. It is quick and it is silent, but it is preventable.

Memorial Day has come & gone, but summer is upon us and more families will be active around water. Join the American Academy of Pediatrics and be an advocate for Drowning Prevention. We all can reduce drowning and save children’s lives by working together to implement safety measures we know will protect children. 

Drowning can happen to any family. It’s quick, and it’s silent. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death among children aged 1-4, and is a leading cause of death among teens. We can lower these rates if pediatricians, parents and policy-makers work together to implement the types of solutions we know will keep children safe. Please share these resources with parents and caregivers. 

An Important Message on Drowning from Grieving Parents:

Dear Doctors and Families, 
 
We write this from a place of grief, a sense of urgency, and a hope that no other family experiences what we have this summer. On June 10, 2018, we each lost a child to drowning during a non-swim time: Emmy Miller (19 months) and Levi Hughes (3). In the midst of our grief, we are honored to be partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a National Drowning Prevention Awareness Project. We respect our own pediatricians tremendously and hope this message conveys to you that high level of respect as we ask for your partnership with us on this endeavor. 
 
Drowning is the #1 cause of preventable death between the ages 1-4 and the #2 cause in ages 5-14. Raising awareness of physicians, parents, and communities about this underrecognized killer is a shared responsibility that we must embrace. As health care providers, you are perfectly positioned to educate families about the importance of water safety and drowning prevention. We realize that well-child visits are busy, and there is much you must cover. However, you remain a deeply trusted source of information for parents.  We hope our stories can help spur you to action and prevent future tragedies.  
 
Over the last two months, we have been stunned to learn how often drownings occur during times when children are not swimming but slip away and drown in pools, ponds, streams, lakes, bathtubs, and even toilets. If you and your colleagues already share information on water safety, including drowning during non-swim times, we THANK YOU. If our stories inspire you to think about how you currently address water safety, we are grateful for your honest reflection.

We will be working with the AAP to develop resources to help you promote awareness using evidence-based approaches at multiple levels, from individual interactions to community and policy interventions. Pediatricians are, by nature, child advocates. If we can help elevate the prevention of drowning, it could save many lives. We believe in the power of the medical community, which is why we are reaching out to you. 
 
Developing quality materials will take time, but we want to provide an action step that can be taken now, so we don’t lose valuable time in spreading awareness. We have developed a PDF flyer that we hope you will print out and hang in your clinics or include in your educational materials for families. Increasing parental awareness of the dangers of water can also lead to discussions of a “water safety plan” for all families. The development of these plans can be immediately implemented into well-child visits, without the need for any materials. 
 
If you would like to know more about the stories of Emmy and Levi, here are the links to the TODAY Show interviews: 
 
https://www.today.com/video/bode-and-morgan-miller-open-up-about-drowning-death-of-daughter-emmy-1288207939874 

https://www.today.com/video/morgan-miller-fellow-mom-nicole-hughes-raise-awareness-after-drowning-of-children-1289047107813 
 

We are incredibly grateful for your time and attention to this urgent matter. 
 
With much respect,

 
The Hughes Family and the Miller Family 

 

Swim Lessons: When to Start & What Parents Should Know

 

Infant Water Safety: Protect Your New Baby from Drowning

 

Drowning Prevention for Curious Toddlers: What Parents Need to Know

 

Beach, Boating, and Lake Swimming Safety Tips

 

Pool and Swimming Safety Tips

 

Parents and Caregivers: What You Should Know

  1. Parents and caregivers should never (even for a moment) leave young children alone or in the care of another child while in or near bathtubs, pools, spas, or wading pools and when near irrigation ditches, ponds, or other open standing water.

  2. Parents and caregivers must be aware of drowning risks associated with hazards in the home.

    • Infant bath seats can tip over, and children can slip out of them and drown in even a few inches of water in the bathtub. Infants should always be with an adult when sitting in a bath seat in a bathtub.

    • Water should be emptied from containers, such as pails and buckets, immediately after use.

    • To prevent drowning in toilets, young children should not be left alone in the bathroom, and toilet locks may be helpful.

    • Parents and caregivers should prevent unsupervised access to the bathroom, swimming pool, or open water.

  3. Whenever infants and toddlers (or noncompetent swimmers) are in or around water, a supervising adult with swim skills should be within an arm’s length, providing constant touch supervision. Even with older children and better swimmers, the eyes and attention of the supervising adult should still be constantly focused on the child. This “water watcher” should not be engaged in other distracting activities that can compromise this attention, including using the telephone (eg, texting), socializing, tending chores, or drinking alcohol, and there needs to be a clear handoff of responsibility from one water watcher to the next. Supervision must be close, constant, and attentive. In case of an emergency, the supervising adult must be able to recognize a child in distress, safely perform a rescue, initiate CPR, and call for help. Parents need to recognize that lifeguards are only 1 layer of protection, and children in and near the water require constant caregiver supervision, even if a lifeguard is present.

  4. To prevent unintended access, families should install a 4-ft, 4-sided isolation fence that separates the pool from the house and the rest of the yard with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Detailed guidelines for safety barriers for home pools are available online from the CPSC. Families of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or other disabilities who are at risk for wandering off should identify local hazards and work with the community on pool fencing and mitigation of hazards.

  5. Although data are lacking, families may consider supplemental pool alarms and weight-bearing pool covers as additional layers of protection; however, neither alarms nor pool covers are a substitute for adequate fencing and adult supervision. Importantly, some types of pool covers, such as thin plastic solar covers, should not be used as a means of protection because they might increase risk of drowning.

  6. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should learn CPR and keep a telephone and rescue equipment approved by the US Coast Guard (eg, life buoys, life jackets, and a reach tool such as a shepherd’s crook) poolside. Older children and adolescents should learn CPR. See AAP.org. See American Red Cross.

  7. Children and parents should learn to swim and learn water-safety skills. Because children develop at different rates, not all children will be ready to learn to swim at exactly the same age. There is evidence that swim lessons may reduce the risk of drowning, including for those 1 to 4 years of age. A parent’s decision about starting swim lessons or water-survival skills training at an early age must be individualized on the basis of the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical and cognitive limitations, and health concerns related to swimming pools. Parents should be reminded that swim lessons will not drown proof a child of any age. It is critical that swim instructors stress this message as well as the need for constant supervision around water. Swim ability must be considered as only 1 part of water competence and a multilayered protection plan that involves effective pool barriers; close, constant, and attentive supervision; life jacket use; training in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator; and lifeguards. Children need to be taught never to swim alone and never to swim without adult supervision.

  8. Parents should monitor their child’s progress during swim lessons and continue their lessons at least until basic water competence is achieved. Basic swim skills include ability to enter the water, surface, turn around, propel oneself for at least 25 yards, float on or tread water, and exit the water.

  9. Any time a young child visits a home or business where access to water exists (eg, pool, hot tub, open water), parents and/or guardians should carefully assess the premises to ensure that basic barriers are in place, such as sliding door locks and pool fences with closed gates in good working order, and ensure that supervision will be consistent with the preceding recommendations.

  10. All children and adolescents should be required to wear US Coast Guard–approved life jackets whenever they are in or on watercraft, and all adults should wear life jackets when boating to model safe behavior and to facilitate their ability to help their child in case of emergency. Small children and nonswimmers should wear life jackets when they are near water and when swimming. Parents and caregivers should ensure that any life jacket is approved by the US Coast Guard because many do not meet safety requirements. Information about fitting and choosing US Coast Guard–approved life jackets is available at the US Coast Guard Web site. Parents should not use air-filled swimming aids (such as inflatable arm bands, neck rings, or “floaties”) in place of life jackets. These aids can deflate and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

  11. Jumping or diving into water can result in devastating spinal injury. Parents and children should know the depth of the water and the location of underwater hazards before jumping or diving or permitting children to jump or dive. The first entry into any body of water should be feet first.

  12. When selecting an open body of water in which their children will swim, parents should select sites with lifeguards and designated areas for swimming. Even for the strongest of swimmers, it is important to consider weather, tides, waves, and water currents in selecting a safe location for recreational swimming. Swimmers should know what to do in case of rip currents: swim where there is a lifeguard, and if caught in a rip current, remain calm and either swim out of the rip current parallel to the shore (do not try to swim against the current) or tread water until safely out of the current and able to return to shore or signal for help.

  13. Parents and children should recognize drowning risks in cold seasons. Children should refrain from walking, skating, or riding on weak or thawing ice on any body of water.

By contactus@priority-pediatrics.com
May 14, 2019
Category: Safety
Tags: safety   First Aid   Emergencies  

By: Kathleen Berchelmann, MD, FAAP

Every year the summer arrives with full force in my ER: cutstickspoison ivy, infected bug bitessunburnseye injuriesbroken bones, and all other kinds of summer fun gone wrong. Luckily, you can easily treat or prevent much of the summer craziness if you are prepared.

Being prepared means you need a "Dr. Mom" first aid kit and know how to use it. Although pre-made store-bought first aid kits are a good start, these kits typically lack many items you'll need for your family.

Shopping List for Your Summer First Aid Kit

So to help you get ready, I have prepared a shopping list below for your summer first aid kit. Get it built now, so that you spend your summer having fun, not in the ER.

  • Pre-made first aid kit: It's cheapest and easiest to start by buying a pre-made kit, because otherwise it is difficult to find small packages of all the different kinds of gauze, tape, and antibiotic ointment you will need. Find a large kit with a sturdy container with extra space to hold all the things you will add to it. Or, get a small duffle bag or backpack to hold your first-aid kit, and start by putting the pre-made kit in the bag. Be sure the pre-made kit includes Band-Aids, gauze, tape, antibiotic ointment, and anti-itch or steroid ointment.
  • Water bottle for cleaning out wounds: The first thing you'll need to do with a crying kid is clean out their wound. And the nearest water source is probably too far to walk. You can use your water bottle to treat dehydration, too.
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine): Benadryl is probably the most important over-the-counter medication to have in your first aid kit—it's a first line treatment for insect bites, hives, and other allergic reactions that can be deadly. Some premade kits will include Benadryl tablets, but if you have young children be sure to include a bottle of liquid, Children's Benadryl or the generic equivalent. Benadryl is also a great treatment for an attack of seasonal allergies
  • EpiPen: If you have a family member with a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), ask your physician for a prescription. I keep mine in the outside pocket of my first aid kit for quick, easy access.
  • Numbing spray: Wound numbing spray can be purchased over-the-counter at any pharmacy and can really save-the-day when a child is burned, sunburned, or has a painful cut or scrape.
  • Prescription medication: Ask your physician for an extra prescription for any medication you use frequently, especially asthma and allergy medications. Keep the extra supply in your car first-aid kit. You'll be grateful when you can stay at your child's sporting event rather than head home for an inhaler or other medication.
  • Ibuprofen and Tylenol: Most pre-made kits include these standard pain medications, but you will have to add the liquid kind for children.
  • Dramamine, nausea medication: There's an easy fix for vomiting, car sick kids—nausea medication. Don't leave home without it. You'll kick yourself for not having it while you clean the vomit out of your car.
  • Sunblock: The worst sunburns occur when you least expect it—at sports events, or while doing yard work. Have some 30+ sunblock ready to cover those little spots on your ears and neck that your hat doesn't cover. Include some SPF lip balm or ChapStick, too.
  • Bug spray: The best protection comes from a repellant that contains 30% DEET. Insect bites are annoying at best, but at worst they get scratched and infected. We are seeing a growing number of insect bites that become infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA, which is difficult to treat.
  • Afrin nasal spray for nosebleeds: Although I generally don't recommend Afrin nasal spray for congestion related to allergies or illness, Afrin is a quick fix for a nosebleed. This medication causes the capillaries in the nose to constrict, thereby limiting the blood flow to the nasal mucosa and stopping the bleeding.
  • Hydrocortisone ointment: This inexpensive over-the-counter medication will treat almost anything that itches—insect bites, poison ivy, etc. If you stop the itch, the kids won't scratch, and you reduce the risk of secondary infection.
  • Flashlight/headlamp: If you don't have a reliable light on your cell phone, include an LED flashlight or headlamp. You can buy these very affordably now, even at the dollar store. A flashlight is not just for nighttime injuries—you'll need a bright light to get a good look at splinters, or look in kids' mouths, ears, etc.
  • Baby wipes: Even if your kids are out of diapers, a pack of baby wipes is infinitely useful in the car, especially for keeping hands clean and wiping noses.
  • ChapStick: ChapStick or lip balm can sooth cold sores, lip injuries, and sunburned lips in addition to regular chapped lips. You'll be glad you have it when you child complains about their chapped lips for the sixth time in ten minutes while you are on a family outing.
  • Clean towel: A nice clean towel is perfect for setting up your first-aid station while you dress a wound or remove a splinter. It's also useful for containing bleeding on bigger injuries. Consider a highly absorbent microfiber towel that can be stuffed into a small space.
  • Feminine hygiene supplies: Besides their obvious uses, tampons and maxi pads are very helpful for wound management and are an essential part of any first aid kit. Did you know that the modern tampon was invented in the 1800's for management of bullet wounds? An OB-style tampon can very effectively treat a persistent nosebleed. The smallest OB tampons fit nicely in the nose. Bleeding wounds can be easily controlled with a maxi-pad held in place with an ace wrap.
  • Premade finger splint: Not sure if that finger is broken or not? Just put it in a pre-made finger splint until you get your child to the doctor. You can buy premade finger splints at any pharmacy.
  • Alcohol wipes: I mostly use these for sterilizing my first aid kit instruments, such as tweezers and scissors. They are also useful for cleaning skin before trying to remove splinters.
  • ACE bandage: Although a first line treatment for sprains and strains, ACE bandages are also useful for holding bandages in place on bigger wounds, and holding splints on fractures.
  • Small scissors: For cutting dressings to the right size, cutting medical tape, opening packages, trimming fingernails and hangnails, etc.
  • A bottle of Gatorade: Very useful for hypoglycemia, dehydration, etc. Also useful as an occasional bribe for an over-tired, hungry child.
  • Ziploc bags: Ziplocs are essential for keeping track of teeth that fall out or are knocked out. Did you pull a tick off your child? Stick it in the Ziploc bag for later identification. Certain kinds of ticks are more likely to carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.
  • Tweezers & small magnifying glass: I mostly use these for removing splinters, but occasionally they are necessary to remove bugs from ears, fishing hooks from fingers, etc. Of note, tweezers are NOT the best way to remove a tick—tweezers often cause you to remove the tick body and leave the head in the skin. The best way to remove a small deer tick is to scrape it off with a credit card. You can clean the credit card first with your alcohol wipes. Here's more on how to remove a tick.

Keep Your First Aid Kit in Your Car

You'll never have to remember to pack it. If you need something while you are at home, just go out and get it. If you have more than one family car, consider making a first aid kit for each car.

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:

By contactus@priority-pediatrics.com
May 14, 2019
Category: Safety
Tags: safety   parenting   texting   Driving  

Two-Thirds Of Parents Surveyed Have Read Texts While Driving, And More Than Half Have Also Written Texts, Researchers Say

 

Reuters (5/13) reports, “More than half of U.S. parents believe it’s unsafe to text while driving, but most of them do it anyway,” researchers concluded after surveying “435 parents in 45 U.S. states.” The study revealed that “52 percent of millennial parents (22 to 37 years old) and 58 percent of older parents said they thought it was ‘never’ safe to text and drive,” but nearly “two-thirds of parents have read texts while driving, and more than half of them have also written texts.” What’s more, “roughly three in four parents said they didn’t recall their child’s pediatrician speaking to them about distracted driving or the dangers of texting while driving.” The findings were published online in a research letter in JAMA Pediatrics. HealthDay (5/13) also covers the study.

By contactus@priority-pediatrics.com
May 14, 2019
Category: Safety
Tags: safety   Guns   Weapons   Storage  

Safe Storage Of Guns Could Prevent Up To A Third Of Gun Suicides And Accidental Child Deaths, Researchers Say

 

In the New York Times (5/13) “The Upshot,” Aaron E. Carroll, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana School of Medicine, writes, “Legislators and gun safety advocates often focus on how guns are” bought, even though “many lives could be saved, especially among children, if they looked more at how they are stored.” Just in the past decade alone, “guns killed more than 14,000 American children.” In new research, investigators have found that “even a modest increase in owners who lock up their guns would pay off in an outsize drop in gun deaths.”

        

CNN (5/13) reports, “US households with children do not safely store firearms in the way the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends: locked up and unloaded.” Were parents simply to lock up “all their guns, then up to a third of gun suicides and accidental deaths among children and teens could be avoided, researchers” estimated. The findings were published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

       

The New York Daily News (5/13) also covers the study.

        

FURTHER READING

Study: Safe gun storage prevents child and teen deaths