Nicole Hughes has a crucial message for parents and other adults: Don’t assume children are being supervised and kept safe from hazards just because there’s a lot of people around.
Hughes’ 3-year-old son drowned in a swimming pool after slipping out of a roomful of a dozen adults, half of whom were physicians.
“Without realizing it, subconsciously you’re letting your guard down when there’s a bunch of people around,” says Hughes, who now works with the American Academy of Pediatrics on water safety, in a New York Times article. “When ‘everybody’s watching the kid, then nobody’s watching.”
Her advice pertains not only to drowning prevention but to other summer injury hazards such as keeping children at least 3 feet away from grills and campfires.
Adults also need to remember that drowning remains a risk as children get older. Supervision is still essential, and no one should swim alone.
It’s time to throw open the windows—but do so carefully. Windows rank as one of the top hidden hazards in our homes (Learn about the others here). An average of eight children age 5 and younger die and more than 3,300 are injured each year from falling out of windows (SafeKids Worldwide, 2022). The Window Safety Task Force provides these tips to help protect children from accidental window falls:
Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach.
Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies or patio doors.
Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing and gaining access to an open window.
Use only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords in homes with young children. Free retrofit kits are available through the Window Covering Safety Council.
Don’t forget to look to windows when planning your home fire drill and emergency escape routes. You should plan two possible ways out of any room, especially bedrooms, in case the door can’t be used because of smoke or fire. That second exit is probably a window. Make sure the window can be opened, and practice doing so.
More children ages 5-14 go to emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries than with any other sport, and many of these are head injuries. Whether or not your locale requires a helmet, make sure your child wears one. A properly fitted bike helmet can save lives.
Get your child a helmet that fits now,
not one to ‘grow into.’ A helmet needs to fit well to provide protection. Here
are ‘fit tips’ from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Get the right size helmet:
around your child’s head.
try on several helmets in the correct size. Size can vary a bit between
helmet should sit level on the head and low on the forehead—not tilting on
the back of the head—one or two finger-widths above the eyebrow.
Once you’ve got the right size helmet, adjust
it for the right fit:
the side straps so they form a “V” shape under, and slightly in front of, the
the chin strap and tighten it. If the straps need to be longer or shorter, take
the helmet off to pull the straps from the back of the helmet.
final step is…a big yawn! With the mouth wide open the helmet should pull down
on the head. If it doesn’t, tighten it up.
Do the same for yourself! And be a good
role model – wear a helmet for every ride.
Eight-year-old Campbell Rogoff got the idea while playing with a 5-year-old neighbor in the Rogoff’s pool: “We could call this Camp Campbell”. She talked with her friend Lily Rae, also 8, about making Camp Campbell official.
“We thought it would be
great that kids can get out, and be with other kids,” said Campbell. Their day
camp would have a variety of activities and charge a reasonable camp fee.
Lily Rae suggested a
business model: they needed a ‘trial’ day to see if the idea would fly. When
four kids came on the trial day and “everyone loved it,” the girls knew they
had a winning model. When Camp Campbell officially opened on a Wednesday, they
had nine campers ages 4-6 years old. By the second camp day on Friday, nine new
and returning campers showed up.
Campbell’s parents knew just
how successful their daughter’s idea was when they got a call from someone they
didn’t even know.
“A mother had heard ‘Camp
Campbell’ was open and wanted to know how to enroll her child!” recalls
Campbell’s father Brett.
“Miss Campbell” and “Miss
Lily Rae,” as their nametags identified them, provided lots of activities
besides swimming in the pool. The campers enjoyed making and playing with water
balloons, ‘slime,’ and bubble mix, as well as—the favorite—whacking a pinata. Along
with the fun they were also taught important pool safety rules, such as staying
in the shallow end of a pool if you haven’t yet learned to swim.
Camp Campbell raised $100
in camp fees. Campbell discussed it with her family and decided to donate the
money to Prevention 1st, of which Brett Rogoff is a Board member.
The Rogoffs have added their own donation to this, introducing the girls to
another model: the matching gift.
It may be possible to be
too successful. One mom reported her son had begged: “Let’s go to Camp Campbell
Every day might be a bit too much work. But
Campbell and Lily Rae do plan to bring back Camp Campbell later this summer.
After all, the demand is there. And they’ve got a winning model.
campfire casts a warm glow and a sense of adventure—even if it’s in your own
backyard. Cooking dinner outside on a grill can make any meal “our favorite!”
This year, being outside is a special pleasure. As we move outdoors and bring
fire with us, it’s important to bring safety as well.
Pick your spot carefully. Whether it’s a grill or firepit, make sure it’s well away from houses and sheds, vehicles, shrubs and trees including low-hanging branches.
Enforce a “3-Foot Rule” just as you do for the stove. Keep children and pets at least three feet from the fire or grill.
Never use gasoline or kerosene on either a grill or a campfire. If you’re using starter fluid with your grill, never put the fluid on a hot grill. Make sure lighter fluids are stored securely and away from children.
Resist the belief that bigger is better when it comes to campfires! A roaring blaze can more easily get out of control, and can send embers long distances.
Just as you wouldn’t leave the stove unattended, never leave your campfire or grill unattended. Put a campfire out completely before you go to bed. When you’re done with a charcoal grill, let the coals cool completely before moving or storing it.
Store lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.
Model safe behavior for your children, treating fire with respect. Avoid assigning fire tasks to children too young to understand fire risk or react if something unexpected happens. To learn more about what children understand about fire.
Talented young artists from schools throughout the area–RCSD Abelard Reynolds School #42, Cobbles Elementary School, East Rochester School, Harris Hill Elementary School, Honeoye Falls Manor School, RCSD Pinnacle School #35, Scribner Road Elementary School, St. Joseph School, and the Charles Finney School–contributed posters to the contest this year.
Congratulations to our 1st Place Winners in each category:
mentions go to:
And congratulations to fifth-grader D’angelo Dixon, the lucky winner of a random drawing of all poster artists, who will get a ride on a firetruck to RCSD Abelard Reynolds School #42, courtesy of the Rochester Fire Department!
Prevention 1st would like to thank this year’s judges for their work in choosing this year’s winners: New York State Senator Joe Robach, Rochester Fire Marshal Christine Schryver, and Memorial Art Gallery Education Director Marlene Hamman-Whitmore.
Posters were judged on
both artistic merit and the impact of its fire safety message. All participants
will receive a certificate and all posters will be displayed at the following locations
around the city and county during March:
Rochester Public Library Children’s Center (winners and honorable mentions)
Child-resistant caps on
medication bottles have helped reduce fatal poisonings of young children in the
U.S. since they were mandated decades ago. But they can only protect children
if they’re in place.
The holiday season brings visits
to and from friends and families of all ages. Grandparents and adults who don’t
usually have young children under the same roof may need to be reminded to carefully
replace the cap on medications and keep medication bottles out of sight and
Medications have overtaken
household products such as cleaning fluids as the leading cause of child
poisonings, and the number of ED visits and calls to poison control centers for
medication overdoses is rising. Between 2005 and 2009, ED visits for medication
overdoses among children younger than 5 years rose 20%.*
The peak incidence for
unintentional medication overdoses is in 2-year-olds. It’s an age when young
children are developing greater ability to move around on their own—and when
their ability to reach surfaces previously out of reach can increase
unexpectedly from one week to the next.
For all ages, analgesics
(painkillers) are the #1 substance involved in poisonings reported to poison control
centers, responsible for 11% of such poisonings.
The initiative Preventing
Overdoses and Treatment Exposures Task Force (PROTECT) is promoting development
of a new generation of safety packaging to limit the amount of medication a
child could ingest even if a child-resistant cap has not been re-secured properly.
Acknowledging that even enhanced safety packaging will not be 100% “child-proof,” PROTECT has also launched the “Up and Away” public education campaign to promote safe use and storage of medications. Among their suggestions: program the national poison control number (800-222-1222) into your cell phone.
Find more tips for preventing poisonings and other injuries in Prevention 1st’s Safety Resources.
from the National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics
System, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
All second-graders in Milwaukee Public Schools will be learning lessons from Prevention 1st’s Before the Fire: Prevention Works curriculum as part of their Learning Journeys. The free program includes lesson plans with learning objectives, activities, and links to resources.
Learning Journeys are beyond-the-classroom learning experiences. As part of theirs, more than 5,000 second-graders from 133 elementary schools will attend the Milwaukee Fire Departments Education Center’s Survive Alive House.
“The lessons in Before
the Fire: Prevention Works! will be excellent to use prior to and after
their Learning Journey”, said Michelle Wade, Learning Journeys Coordinator.
The free Before the Fire program was created by educators and fire safety experts to provide effective fire safety lesson plans for teachers, preschool and day care providers, parents and caregivers to teach children about fire, fire prevention, and escaping a fire.