Fireworks are not Always Fun on the 4th

Fireworks have long been a part of celebrating major events and holidays, such as the 4th of July, but in the hands of the untrained they can and do cause serious injuries, including severe burns and other injuries in children.

Each year, fireworks send 3,000 +children under the age of 15 to emergency rooms in the U.S.

fireworksThe National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) reports that sparklers, which burn at about 1,200°F and are typically viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries, accounting for one-third of the injuries to children under five.

According to The National Fire Protection Association, the best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home…period. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Follow these simple fireworks tips:

  • The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays hosted by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
  • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
  • Do not give children sparklers or allow them to pick up fireworks or other novelty items.
  • If your friends or family members refuse to stop using fireworks, please follow these tips:
    • If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
    • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
    • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
    • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
    • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a devise does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
    • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
    • Do not give children sparklers or allow them to pick up fireworks or other novelty items.

Sources: Safe Kids USA, The National Fire Protection Association(NFPA)

 Be Safe! Have Fun! Celebrate our Nation’s Birthday!

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The Unwanted BBQ Guest

June 08, 2015

By Crystal McDade-Ngutter, Ph.D., Food Safety Education Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

It’s summer time! Break out the swim suit, sunglasses, sandals and grill. Not only is summer peak season for backyard barbeques, it is also prime time for foodborne illnesses. Bacteria grow fast at warmer temperatures and can make you sick—leaving you with not so good memories of your family barbeque this summer.

Listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous bacterium that you should be on the lookout for all year round—especially in the summer months. Listeria can cause a foodborne illness called listeriosis. It can grow at refrigeration temperatures and is one of the deadliest foodborne illnesses.

Pregnant women are more likely to be affected by Listeria than healthy people. In fact, they are about 10 times more likely than the general population to get listeriosis. Listeria can be passed to your unborn baby, even when you show no sign of sickness. It can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and death in newborns.

During pregnancy, it is important to be aware of the foods you are eating. Listeria is commonly found in ready-to-eat foods. These foods include:

  • Soft-ripened cheeses (traditional Mexican-style cheeses, Camembert, Brie, Feta, and Ricotta);
  • Raw vegetables;
  • Store-brought salads (ham, chicken, tuna, and seafood);
  • Deli meats; and,
  • Hot dogs (a barbeque favorite).

If these foods can’t be reheated or cooked, pregnant women should avoid eating them.

Hot dogs are a certainty at any barbeque. For this reason, it is important to keep Listeria from lurking in your hotdogs especially for pregnant guests, their unborn babies, and newborns. Here are a few tips to keep your grilled hot dogs in tip-top shape:

  • Never eat hotdogs straight out the package as a pre-BBQ snack—hot dogs must always be heated to 165°F or higher before eaten.
  • Wash hands after handling hot dogs from the package.
  • Avoid getting hot dog juice from the package on other foods, utensils, or preparation surfaces.
  • After grilling hot dogs, keep the temperature at 140°F or higher until served.
  • Make sure leftover hot dogs are refrigerated or put on ice two hours after they are removed from the grill or one hour if the temperature is over 90°F. When you reheat them, heat them to 165?F or higher.
  • Leftover hot dogs that have been refrigerated should be eaten within three to four days.

Properly cooking hot dogs WILL help keep Listeria from making a surprise appearance at your backyard BBQ.

Please visit www.foodsafety.gov for more information about food safety and direct food safety questions to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or www.AskKaren.gov.

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Preventing a Dog Bite

dogA dog can be a wonderful family pet and loving companion.

But, with the joy of owning a dog there is the responsibility of training and socializing a dog. Children need to learn how to treat a dog; not only their own dog but any dog they may encounter. What follows is a press release that speaks to preventing dog bites.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week  / May 17-23, 2015 Press Release

The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery and the American Academy of Pediatrics have joined forces with the U.S. Postal Service, non-profit community, insurance industry and veterinarians to educate the public that dog bites are a serious health issue and are avoidable.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually – more than half of whom are children. Over the past five years, dog bite injuries are reported to be the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury in children ages 0-14 in America.

Dog Bite Prevention Week is an ideal time to educate children and adults on how to handle, train and treat dogs. If you are considering getting a dog, talk with a veterinarian about choosing a dog that will fit in well with your family. As a dog owner, you should socialize your new pet, train your dog with commands, vaccinate your dog against rabies? and other diseases, and neuter your dog, as they are less likely to bite.

The American Humane Association reports that 66 percent of bites among children occur to the head and neck. In 2014 approximately 28,500 reconstructive procedures were done to repair dog bites, as reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which is a 6 percent increase since 2013.

“Even the friendliest dog may bite when startled or surprised. Be cautious; once a child is scarred they are scarred for life,” said Gregory R. D. Evans, MD, FACS, president of the ASRM. “Most children love dogs and like to put their faces up close to the dog’s face. Parents should never permit this. Injuries to the face and hands can be disfiguring or disabling and require prompt, expert medical attention.”

The ASRM and AAP joined this coalition to raise awareness and help prevent devastating, life-changing injuries from dog bites.  Medical experts suggest steps you can take to protect your family from a dog bite:

  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Teach your child to see if the dog is with an owner and looks friendly. Then ask the owner for permission to pet the dog. Let the dog sniff your child and have your child touch the dog gently, avoiding the face, head and tail.
  • Tell your child not to bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Tell your child not to run past a dog.

If you’re threatened by a dog, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still until the dog leaves or back away slowly. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands. If you are bitten by a dog take the following steps immediately:

  • Rinse the bite area with soapy water.
  • Elevate limb(s) that have been bitten.
  • For deeper bites or puncture wounds, apply pressure with a clean bandage or towel to stop the bleeding. Then wash the wound, dry it and cover with a sterile dressing. Don’t use tape or butterfly bandages to close the wound.
  • It’s a good idea to call your child’s physician because a bite could require antibiotics or a tetanus shot.  The doctor also can help you to report the incident.
  • If your child is bitten severely, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room.
  • When going to the emergency room, advise the personnel of:

o        your tetanus vaccination status;

o        vaccine status of the dog;

o        who the dog owner is; and,

o        If the dog has bitten before.

 

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Let’s Keep Kids Safe Around Water!

water safetyKids love the water, whether it is the bathtub, the backyard pool, a river, lake or ocean. But, keeping children safe around water during the summer especially takes all our concentration.

What follows are prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control.

Learn life-saving skills.  Everyone should know the basics of swimming (floating, moving through the water) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Fence it off. Install a four–sided isolation fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when they aren’t supposed to be swimming. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.

Make life jackets a “must.” Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim. Life jackets can be used in and around pools for weaker swimmers too.

Be on the lookout. When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times. Adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, talking on the phone, and using alcohol or drugs.

Here are some other resources on water safety.

The Red Cross offers a Water Safety Quiz http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety/quiz

PoolSafely.gov for Parents and Families.

For more water safety resources and fun activities, visit:

 

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Protecting Against Sources of Lead

According to the US Centers for Disease Control,(CDC) a child’s environment is full of lead.

Children are exposed to lead from different sources including paint, gasoline, solder, and some consumer products. They come in contact through different pathways including air, food, water, dust, and soil.

lead paint on brushAlthough there are several exposure sources, the one we all know the most about is lead-based paint. It is the most widespread and dangerous high-dose source of lead exposure for young children and pregnant women and their unborn children.

Other sources the CDC warns about include:

Candy

The potential for children to be exposed to lead from candy imported from Mexico has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings on the availability of lead-contaminated candy and to develop tighter guidelines for manufacturers, importers, and distributors of imported candy. Lead has been found in some consumer candies imported from Mexico. You cannot tell by looking at or tasting a candy whether it contains lead. Consuming even small amounts of lead can be harmful. There is no safe blood lead level. Lead poisoning from candies can cause illness.

Folk Medicine

Lead has been found in some traditional (folk) medicines used by East Indian, Indian, Middle Eastern, West Asian, and Hispanic cultures. Traditional medicines can contain herbs, minerals, metals, or animal products. Lead and other heavy metals are put into certain folk medicines on purpose because these metals are thought to be useful in treating some ailments. People selling a remedy may not know whether it contains lead. You cannot tell by looking at or tasting a medicine whether it contains lead. Lead poisoning from folk remedies can cause illness, even death.

Toy Jewelry

If swallowed or put in the mouth, lead jewelry is hazardous to children. The potential for children to be exposed to lead from this source caused the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue on July 8, 2004, a recall of 150 million pieces of metal toy jewelry sold widely in vending machines.

Toys

Lead may be used in two aspects of toy manufacturing on toys.

Paint: Lead may be found in the paint on toys.  It was banned in house paint, on products marketed to children, and in dishes or cookware in the United States in 1978; however, it is still widely used in other countries and therefore can still be found on imported toys. It may also be found on older toys made in the United States before the ban.
Plastic: The use of lead in plastics has not been banned. It softens the plastic and makes it more flexible so that it can go back to its original shape. It may also be used in plastic toys to stabilize molecules from heat. When the plastic is exposed to substances such as sunlight, air, and detergents the chemical bond between the lead and plastics breaks down and forms a dust.

Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell. Children may be exposed to it from consumer products through normal hand-to-mouth activity, which is part of their normal development. They often place toys, fingers, and other objects in their mouth, exposing themselves to lead paint or dust.

Tap Water

tap water faucet is a source of leadMeasures taken during the last two decades have greatly reduced exposures to lead in tap water. These measures include actions taken under the requirements of the 1986 and 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/sdwa/index.htmlExternal Web Site Icon) and the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lcrmr/index.htmlExternal Web Site Icon).

Even so, lead still can be found in some metal water taps, interior water pipes, or pipes connecting a house to the main water pipe in the street. Lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures or from the solder that connects pipes. When water sits in leaded pipes for several hours, lead can leach into the water supply.

The only way to know whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water. Therefore, you must ask your water provider whether your water has lead in it. For homes served by public water systems, data on lead in tap water may be available on the Internet from your local water authority. If your water provider does not post this information, you need to call and find out.

The CDC  recommends that children under six and pregnant women living in older homes that may, at one time been painted with lead-based paint, not be present when renovations and repairs are done to their homes. CDC also expresses concern about young children and pregnant women being exposed to dust from peeling paint, cracks and chips in paint in older homes.

CDC literature on lead exposure is extensive and well-worth the read at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

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