Prevent Nursery Product-Related Injuries by Babyproofing the Nursery

When preparing for a new baby, most parents consider baby proofing their home, but the nursery is often overlooked. Children’s products are recalled more than any other type, says Amy Frias, community educator at CHOC Children’s and Safe Kids Orange County coordinator.

“Accidents are going to happen. Parents just need to do what they can to prevent serious injuries,” says Frias. “Nobody thinks a major accident in the home is going to happen to them.”

Frias offers the following tips for baby proofing the nursery. These “babyproofing” rules apply not only to your home, but anywhere else your baby may spend time, such as a grandparent or babysitter’s house or daycare.

Falls

Since children up to age 5 spend most of their time at home, they are more likely to be injured in the home than anywhere else. Most injuries children experience in the home are due to falls.

“If a product for your child comes with a strap, use it. Don’t assume the baby is safe without a strap,” says Frias. “Babies don’t tell you when they’ve learned a new trick like how to roll over and in this case off the changing table. You don’t know what they can do until they do it.”

Lower your crib mattress once your baby is able to sit up. Lower it again once the baby begins to pull themselves up.

Before a baby learns to crawl, secure furniture to the wall, especially heavy items such as tall dresses and changing tables to prevent them from tipping over.

Parents are not immune to falls, so when using a baby carrier, be aware of your surroundings when wearing your baby,” says Frias.

Safe sleep for babies

Although it’s safe for babies to room share with their parents, they need their own sleep surface. Remember the ABC’s of safe sleep: babies should sleep ALONE, on their BACK, in their own CRIB (or other sleep surface).

Remember that a baby’s sleep surface should be naked. Remove any blankets, stuffed animals or other items from their crib.

The biggest risk factors in nurseries are tied to suffocation, strangulation and entrapment, says Frias:

  • Suffocation: don’t keep bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, or anything else besides a mattress and fitted sheet in the baby’s crib.
  • Strangulation: avoid using mobiles. Furniture should be kept away from windows that have cords, since baby can pull themselves up and become entangled in the cords.
  • Entrapment: there should be no gaps larger than two fingers between the crib side and mattress. The crib mattress should be firm and fit well in the crib. It is important that parents only use a Consumer Product Safety Commission approved crib. Cribs with drop sides do not meet the current standards, are not safe, and should not be used. If your child will be in a used crib make sure it does not have a drop side. Do not use infant positioners such as wedges or pillows due to risk of suffocation and entrapment. Avoid using crib bumpers.

The dangers of baby walkers

Walkers are safer now than they used to be, but the risks outweigh any perceived benefits, says Frias. “Research shows that baby walkers are not developmentally helpful for children as they learn to walk.”

Using baby walkers can calm and entertain a baby while a parent needs their hands free, but it allows babies to move faster than they can on their own— often faster than a parent’s reaction time, she says.

They also give babies a boost to reach hot, heavy or poisonous objects.

“Even though some walkers come with locking wheels that prevent a spill down the stairs, they can fit through a lot of doorways you wouldn’t expect them to,” Frias says. “It’s best not to have them in the house, especially if you have stairs.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended a ban on the manufacture and sale of baby walkers in the United States. Canada banned the sale, advertising and import of baby walkers in 2004.

Research baby products carefully

Before making a purchase, research the product via the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, which offers specific product-related information on recalls, research and safety standards.

Used products should be researched the same way, if not more stringently than new products.

Remember to register your products with the manufacturer to ensure that you will be notified in the event of a recall.

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Importance of Stretching for the Young Athlete

By Victor Araiza, physical therapy assistant at CHOC Children’s

Stretching can often take a back seat to your general exercise routine and sport-related activities, but these are an essential part of any conditioning or physical therapy program. Stretching decreases the risk of injury or re-injury and promotes wellness.

Why is stretching so important?

Stretching the right way will help improve flexibility and make it easier for you to move. Stretching properly can increase and improve motion in your joints, increase blood flow, and decrease feelings of stiffness. Other potential benefits of stretching can include reducing delayed onset muscle soreness, increasing athletic performance and reducing the risk of tendon or muscle tears.

It is important to stretch correctly and know which muscle groups you want to stretch. Often, the muscles that tend to be tight are the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, calves and chest muscles. If proper technique is used when stretching, it will help improve flexibility and increase range of motion. This will increase blood flow and decrease stiffness, in turn decreasing the risk of injury or reinjury.

When to stretch

It is recommended that you perform static stretches after exercising, engaging in strenuous physical activity or participating in an athletic event. Static stretches target specific muscles based on the position you are in with the intent to elongate just past the point of a moderate pulling sensation. The static stretch should be held in the same position for 30-60 seconds and repeated two to three times. For an athlete, it is common to perform a dynamic warm-up prior to sport related activities and static stretches after activities. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommends stretching activities be done at least two days per week. It is also important to know and understand which stretches would benefit you based on your limitations and desired activity participation.

Stretching is encouraged:

  •  When range of motion is limited.
  • Prior to or after vigorous exercises.
  • As a component of your sport-specific conditioning program, team warm-up/cool down and before/after a participation in a sporting event.

When is stretching not encouraged?

  • When someone has excessive movement in their joint(s)
  • An athlete who has experienced a recent fracture
  • After sudden onset of inflammation or swelling
  • When you feel a sharp pain when attempting to stretch

 Tips on how to stretch

It is important to remember that just because you perform stretches doesn’t mean that you will never get injured. Stretching won’t prevent an overuse injury that is predominant in sports that involve the repetition of similar movement patterns. There are other important factors such as strength and endurance training, essential to reducing the risk of injury. Please consult your pediatrician for a referral to physical therapy if you and your child need assistance with an exercise and stretching program.

Learn more about rehabilitation services at CHOC.

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Keeping Little Ones Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season can be one of the busiest times of year for families. Keeping these safety tips from CHOC’s community educators in mind can help ensure your family stays safe while partaking in all the fun and festive experiences the season has to offer.

holiday safety tips for kids

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CHOC Named One of the Safest Hospitals in the Nation

CHOC Children’s Hospital has once again been named a “Top Hospital” by The Leapfrog Group for providing the safest and highest quality health care services to patients.  CHOC is one of only nine children’s hospitals in the nation—and the only one on the West Coast— to earn the prestigious distinction.

leapfrog award

“CHOC is committed to becoming the world’s safest children’s hospital. While this is a never-ending journey, being named as a Top Children’s Hospital for the eighth time by the Leapfrog Group suggests we are on the right track. Leapfrog has always emphasized patient safety as the top priority, one with which our patients, families and partners would no doubt agree. It’s a humbling honor, and serves as both encouragement and motivation to continue our efforts to provide the safest, highest quality care possible,” said Dr. James Cappon, chief quality officer, CHOC.

The selection of Top Hospitals is based on the results of the 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates and a hospital’s ability to prevent medication errors. The rigorous standards are defined in each year’s Top Hospital Methodology.

“Being acknowledged as a Top Hospital is an incredible feat achieved by less than three percent of hospitals nationwide,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “With this honor, CHOC has established its commitment to safer and higher quality care. Providing this level of care to patients requires motivation and drive from every team member. I congratulate CHOC’s board, staff and clinicians, whose efforts made this honor possible.”

To see the full list of institutions honored as 2016 Top Hospitals, please visit www.leapfroggroup.org/tophospitals.

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Year-Round Water Safety Reminders

By Justin Pick, pediatric resident at CHOC Children’s

Living in Southern California affords us some of the best weather in the world, with year-round access to beaches, pools, and hot tubs. However, these privileges come with risk. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children between the ages of five and 24. Even though summer may technically be over, keep in mind these year-round water safety reminders to ensure your children are safe around water.

Above all, it is most important to learn how to swim by finding a swim class nearest to your home.

Pool Safety

 Remind your teen about the importance of swimming in a pool with an on-duty lifeguard who is adequately trained in CPR.

  • CPR training for all teenagers and caregivers is important in the event of an emergency. Locations for training include: hospitals, The Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA
  • Avoid running around the wet edges of pools to avoid falls with severe head injuries.
  • Drink plenty of fluids because people often do not realize how much they are sweating, even when temperatures have dipped after summer months. On a typical day, kids should drink the number of 8 oz. cups of water equal to their age. For example, a five-year-old should drink five 8-oz. glasses of water every day.
  • Consistently reapply sunscreen since the sand and ocean can act to concentrate the rays of the sun. Everyone should wear sunscreen whenever they’re outdoors, all year long.
  • Always have access to a phone with cell reception to dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

Open Water Safety

 Never swim alone in the ocean! Even good swimmers need buddies.

  • Know your swimming ability and do not try to swim in deep water (where your feet are unable to touch the ground) if it is not safe for you to do so.
  • Pay attention to warning signs in the area. Only swim in designated swim areas.
  • Stick to beaches with an on-duty life-guard
  • Avoid diving into water in which the depth is unknown or if there are any potential objects (i.e. rocks, debris) that may cause injury.
  • Avoid swimming near fast moving waters, especially rip tides. If trapped in a rip tide, swim parallel to the shore until you have escaped the rip tide and then adjust your course and safely swim to shore.

Boating Safety

  • Be mindful of other drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Always obey local boating laws
  • Review the boating safety manual in the event of a capsizing
  • Always have a cell phone in case of emergencies
  • Be aware of the direction of land; we recommend always having land within vision.
  • Always have access to life preservers on the vessel in the event of an emergency
  • Always let someone know where you intend on going in the event of an emergency, so an efficient search and rescue can be initiated.

Download your copy of CHOC’s guide to drowning prevention.

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