Heatstroke Awareness Month

CHOC would like to remind everyone to never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Since 1998, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. Purple Ribbon Month is recognized annually during the month of August and serves as a reminder that it is never safe to leave a child unattended in a vehicle and in memory of all of the children that have lost their lives to these preventable tragedies.

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is a condition that occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down.

Symptoms may include dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat or hallucinations. Symptoms can quickly progress to seizures, organ failure and even death.

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends to always ACT: AVOID heatstroke related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car. Make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own. CREATE reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine. TAKE action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations.

Remember, it takes very little time for a child to be at great risk of death or injury when alone in a car. For more information, please visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

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Helpful Tips for New Drivers

Your teenager has earned their driver’s license, hooray! However, before you hand over the keys, be mindful that the first six months after getting a license are the most dangerous times for any driver and risk remains high during the first year. Moreover, one in four crash fatalities in the United States involves a 16-to-24-year-old driver.

CHOC Children’s, in partnership with State Farm, is committed to helping end these tragedies. Check out these reminders below, to help educate your teens and ensure they are safe on the road.

As a driver:

  • Wear your seat belt and insist that passenters also wear theirs. In California, a peace officer has the right to give a driver a ticket if their passenger is not buckled up.
  • It is ok to tell passengers, “Please do not distract me while I’m driving.” Research shows that a teen’s risk of being involved in a crash increases greatly with each peer passenger in the car.
  • Pull over to use your cell phone or have your passenger answer it instead. Or, put your phone away to avoid temptation in using it.

As a passenger:

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Respect your driver. Be helpful by reading directions. Avoid talking loudly or playing loud music.
  • It is ok to refuse to get in a car if you think it is an unsafe situation. Develop a code word. Calling or texting your parent with a previously agreed-upon code word that signals trouble can help teens get out of an unsafe situation.

As a parent:

  • Get involved! Involved parents who set rules and monitor their teens’ driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens’ crash risk by half.
  • Know the law. In California, drivers must be at least 16 years old to be eligible for a provisional driver’s license. There are special restrictions and requirements for drivers under 18.
  • Be a good role model. Do not talk or text on your phone while driving. Make sure you are not speeding or tailgaiting.
  • Create a “Passenger Agreement” with your teen. By setting clear expectations, a Passenger Agreement can help reinforce key behaviors that keep teens safe as passengers now and as drivers later.

For more tips for your teenage drivers, please click on these helpful CHOC resources: http://blog.chocchildrens.org/tips-for-teens-to-avoid-distracted-driving/


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    Travel Tips for Your Family

    Whether your family is jet-setting across an ocean or taking a quick road trip up north, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has many family vacation travel tips to help you stay safe, and make the idea of travel with kids stress-free.

    Car travel

    • Most rental car companies can provide a car safety seat, but selection may be limited. Check that the provided seat is size- and age-appropriate for your child.
    • Set a good example by always wearing a seat belt, even in a taxi.
    • Keep children occupied by pointing out interesting sights along the way and by bringing soft, lightweight toys and favorite music for a sing-along.
    • Plan to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours.
    • Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute. Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels in minutes, and the child can die of heat stroke.
    • Parents should carry safe water and snacks, child-safe hand wipes, diaper rash ointment, and a water- and insect-proof ground sheet for safe play outside.

    International travel

    • Check with your doctor to see if your child might need additional vaccines or preventive medications, and make sure your child is up-to-date on routine vaccinations. Bring mosquito protection in countries where mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are present.
    • To avoid jet lag, adjust your child’s sleep schedule two to three days before departure. After arrival, children should be encouraged to be active outside or in brightly lit areas during daylight hours to promote adjustment.
    • Stay within arm’s reach of children while swimming, as pools may not have safe, modern drain systems and both pools and beaches may lack lifeguards.
    • Road travel can be extremely hazardous in developing countries. Make sure each passenger is buckled and that children use the appropriate car safety seat. Let your driver know you are not in a hurry, and that you will reward safe driving.
    • Conditions at hotels and other lodging may not be as safe as those in the United States. Carefully inspect your room for exposed wiring, pest poisons, paint chips, or inadequate stairway or balcony railings.
    • When traveling, be aware that cribs or play yards provided by hotels may not meet current U.S. safety standards. If you have any doubt about the safety of the crib or play yard, ask for a replacement or consider other options.

    Airplane travel

    • Allow your family extra time to get through security, especially when traveling with younger children.
    • Have children wear shoes and outer layers of clothing that are easy to take off for security screening. Children younger than 12 are not required to remove their shoes for routine screening.
    • Strollers can be brought through airport security and gate-checked to make travel with small children easier.
    • Talk with your children about the security screening process before coming to the airport. Let them know that bags (backpack, dolls, etc.) must be put in the X‑ray machine and will come out the other end and be returned to them.
    • Discuss the fact that it’s against the law to make threats such as; “I have a bomb in my bag.” Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can delay the entire family and could result in fines.
    • Arrange to have a car safety seat at your destination or bring your own.
    • When traveling on an airplane, a child is best protected when properly restrained in a car safety seat until the child weighs more than 40 pounds and can use the aircraft seat belt.
    • The car safety seat should have a label noting that it is Federal Aviation Administration-approved. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, but they can be checked as luggage (usually without baggage fees) for use in rental cars and taxis.
    • Although the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap, the AAP recommends that families explore options to ensure that each child has her own seat. If it is not feasible to purchase a ticket for a small child, try to select a flight that is likely to have empty seats where your child could ride buckled in her car safety seat. Alternatively, there are also some FAA-approved harnesses for older infants and toddlers that fold down in a small, compact bag for convenience.
    • Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
    • To decrease ear pain as the plane climbs or descends, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum or drinking liquids with a straw.
    • Wash hands frequently, and consider bringing hand-sanitizing gel to prevent illnesses during travel.
    • Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems or with upper- or lower-respiratory symptoms.
    • Consult your pediatrician if flying within two weeks of an ear infection or ear surgery.

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    Prevent Backovers – What Drivers Should Know

    Most of us are often in a hurry, but before getting in a vehicle, all drivers, even those without children, should walk around their parked vehicles to check for children, or anything that could attract a child, such as a pet or toy. Sadly, thousands of children are killed or injured every year because a driver backing up didn’t see them.

    In an effort to raise awareness about protecting kids in and around vehicles, CHOC Children’s teaches families about preventable injuries that occur in driveways and parking lots when drivers are unaware that children are near vehicles. Take a minute to check out these important safety tips:

    • Designate an adult to supervise and find a safe spot for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move and make sure the drivers can see them.
    • Limit play in the driveway. Work with your kids to pick up toys and sports equipment off the driveway.
    • Don’t allow children to play unattended in parking lots when cars are present.
    • Accompany little kids when they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hands while walking near moving vehicles, or in driveways, sidewalks and parking lots.
    • Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway.
    • Trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure clear visibility.
    • Note that steep inclines and large SUVs, trucks and vans add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
    • Teach children that “parked” vehicles might move. Remind them that they may be able to see the vehicle, but the driver may not be able to see them.

    For more safety tips, programs and services at CHOC, including a list of community education classes, visit http://www.choc.org/community/.

    Related articles:

    • Heatstroke Awareness Month
      CHOC would like to remind everyone to never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Since 1998, more than 550 children across the United States ...
    • Helpful Tips for New Drivers
      Your teenager has earned their driver’s license, hooray! However, before you hand over the keys, be mindful that the first six months after getting a license are the most dangerous ...
    • Travel Tips for Your Family
      Whether your family is jet-setting across an ocean or taking a quick road trip up north, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has many family vacation travel tips to help ...

    Tips For Teens to Avoid Distracted Driving

    If teens didn’t need another reason not to text and drive, police across the region will crack down on distracted drivers in April as part of national Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

    The California Highway Patrol, state Office of Traffic Safety and more than 200 local law enforcement agencies statewide will be out in force, ticketing drivers caught texting, holding cell phones to their heads, or driving while appearing distracted in any way.

    The federal government reports that about 3,300 people died nationwide in car accidents involving a distracted driver in 2011. Further, 18 percent of all injury car accidents in 2010 were attributed to distracted driving.

    Law enforcement officials say that young and inexperienced drivers are more likely to have an accident because of distracted driving. For a driver of any age, using a cell phone behind the wheel reduces brain functions needed for safe driving by up to 37 percent.

    If that weren’t sobering enough, teens in California have a financial incentive to put down their phones while driving: The fine for a first-time texting or hand-held cell phone violation is $159, and subsequent tickets cost $279.

    According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, about 57,000 people statewide received tickets for distracted driving in April 2012 alone. Almost 450,000 people received tickets statewide in 2012.

    Here are some tips from the Office of Transportation Safety to help motorists of all ages prevent distracted driving:

    • Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving

    • Include in your outgoing message that you can’t answer while you are driving

    • Don’t call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving

    • Adjust controls and set your song playlist before you set out on the road

    • Stay alert and keep your mind on the task of driving – often after a long day at school or a not-so-restful night’s sleep, people’s minds can wander when behind the wheel. If you find yourself daydreaming, clear your head and focus on the road.

    • No eating or drinking while driving

    • No grooming

    • No reading

    • No watching videos

    • If something falls to the floor, pull over before trying to reach it.

    • Try not to get too involved with passengers

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