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Gun Injuries
last updated:
Mon, 1/14/2013 2:20 PM

Every year, Le Bonheur treats about 40 children who are victims of gun shot wounds, says Safe Kids Mid-South Director Susan Helms. Most of these victims are between the ages of 10 and 14.

The best thing you can do to protect your child is to keep guns out of your home. According to Safe Kids, if this is not possible, keep children from accessing firearms by:

  • Storing guns unloaded and locked (including gun locks)
  • Storing ammunition in a separate location, also locked
  • Hiding the keys to gun and ammunition storage

Helms recently spoke to ABC24 reporter Jackie Orozco about kids and gun injuries. Watch the report below.

Secure Your TV
last updated:
Fri, 12/28/2012 9:56 AM

A new report released recently by Safe Kids Worldwide and SANUS revealed that every three weeks, a child dies from a television tipping over -- and nearly 13,000 more children are injured each year in the U.S.

The report shows that young children are at greatest risk of TV tip-overs. According to the research, seven out of 10 children injured by TV tip-overs are 5 years old or younger. This age group also accounts for nine out of 10 serious injuries requiring hospitalization, including head injuries, which are among the most severe.

“Every 45 minutes, or less than the length of a Sesame Street episode, a child visits the ER because of a TV tipping over,” said Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South at Le Bonheur.

Many TV tip-overs are a result of unsteady TVs that are not secured to the wall. Flat screen TVs that are top-heavy with narrow bases can be easily pulled off an entertainment center or table. Large and heavy old-style cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs placed on dressers or high furniture can also tip over if children climb the drawers to reach a remote control, a piece of candy, a video game or anything else that attracts their attention.

The report also revealed that three out of four parents don’t secure their TV to the wall. Most families are unaware that securing a TV is an important safety measure. Others decide not to mount their TVs because of concerns about damaging the wall or installing the TV incorrectly.

“You wouldn’t think to bring a baby home from the hospital without a car seat or have your child ride a bike without a helmet,” said Helms. “Similarly, securing your TV will go a long way in protecting your family.”

Make sure you do the following to prevent furniture tipovers in your home:

  • Check Your TV. Assess the stability of the TVs in your home.  Remember, a curious, determined child can topple a TV. Children playing with friends or pets could knock a TV over, while other kids might be tempted to climb up to reach items placed on or near a TV, such as remote controls or candy.
  • Secure Your TV. Securing your TV to the wall is a safe solution. Much like child proofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, TV mounts and furniture straps are necessary precautions for keeping your family safe.
Bicycle Safety
last updated:
Thu, 10/04/2012 3:55 PM

The seventh annual Go Jim Go ended yesterday and raised more than $190,000 for Le Bonheur. We thought readers might like to learn more about bike safety in honor of Jim Jagger's 333-mile bicycle ride across the Mid-South.

We urge parents, caregivers and children to be safe while riding a bike – no matter how long or short the distance traveled.

Helmets, especially, are important. “A bicycle helmet is essential safety gear,” says Susan Helms, Le Bonheur director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South. “Helmets could prevent an estimated 75 percent of fatal head injuries and up to 45,000 head injuries to children who ride bikes each year.”

Sometimes children mistakenly believe that they don’t need to wear helmets when they’re riding near home. Unfortunately, about 53 percent of vehicle-related bike deaths to children happen on minor roads and residential streets.

“Teach kids to obey traffic signs and the rules of the road. Kids should not ride without supervision until they have demonstrated that they always follow the rules,” says Helms.

A helmet should also be labeled to indicate that it meets the standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “As long as it’s certified, let kids pick out their helmets” Helms says. “If they think a helmet looks cool, they’ll be more likely to wear it when you’re not around.”

Safe Kids Mid-South also reminds parents and caregivers to:

  • Make sure the helmet fits and your kids know how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock forward and backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Safe Kids recommends the “Eyes, Ears and Mouth” test:

EYES: Position the helmet on your head.  Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
EARS:  Make sure the straps of the helmet form a "V" under your ears when buckled.  The strap should be snug but comfortable.
MOUTH:  Open your mouth as wide as you can.  Do you feel the helmet hug your head?  If not, tighten those straps, and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.

  • Make sure the bike is the right size for the child. There should be about one inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child’s groin when the child’s feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure the bike is in good repair — reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
  • Remember, bike helmets are for biking. Kids should not wear bike helmets on the playground (where the straps can get caught on equipment and cause injury) or for activities that require specialized helmets (such as skiing or football).
  • Model and teach proper bicyclist behavior. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals, and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights.
  • When in doubt, get help. The sales staff at any bicycle shop or outdoor recreation store should be able to provide expert advice on fitting and adjusting bikes and helmets.
Fourth of July Safety
last updated:
Mon, 7/02/2012 3:59 PM

Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country, and fireworks displays are a crowd favorite each year.  Fireworks can be fun to watch, but they can also be very dangerous. Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, warns families to take extra precautions around this holiday.

Around this time of year, more than 2,500 children in the United States ages 14 and younger are treated for fireworks-related injuries. 

“Don’t ever let children play with fireworks, period,” says Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South. “They’re intended for use by adults with permits to carefully use them in open spaces. Children should watch from a safe distance with plenty of adult supervision to make sure they don’t get too close.”

Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns or blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. Helms says the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them.

Safe Kids Mid-South recommends these precautions for adults using fireworks:

  • Light fireworks only on smooth, flat surfaces, and aim them away from spectators, buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Do not try to re-light fireworks that malfunction.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or hold them close to your face.
  • Visit www.recalls.gov to make sure the pyrotechnic devices you are using are not subject to any safety recalls.
  • Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
  • Keep a phone handy, and know first aid for burns. Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and know how to use it.
  • Teach kids how to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothes catch on fire.
Detergent Packs: A Danger to Kids
last updated:
Wed, 6/06/2012 2:00 PM

You might have seen this recent interview with Safe Kids Mid-South's Susan Helms on WREG. She talked to reporter Zaneta Lowe about the reported dangers of kids ingesting laundry detergent packs. Kids think these packs, which are small and can look like candy, are for them, says Susan.

Watch the interview to learn more from Susan about this warning.  

Sandboxes: Is Your Sand Safe?
last updated:
Fri, 5/11/2012 1:08 PM

Popular DIY bloggers Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love recently posed a question about the safety of some sandboxes. Their concerns were over certain types of sand -- commonly found in playgrounds or sandboxes -- that contain crystalline silica and asbestos tremiline-- both known to potentially put children at risk for developing cancer, says Susan Helms, Le Bonheur director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South.

Helms says the kind of play sand that can have both of these carcinogens is made from crushed rock,  so look for river or beach sand for your child’s sandbox.  These can usually be found at landscape or gardening stores.  Though slightly more expensive, Safe Sand sells carcinogen-free sand for sandboxes.

Helms also recommends following these guidelines from the National Health and Safety Performance:

  • Sand play areas should be distinct from areas for any other equipment (such as swings, slides).
  • All sandboxes should be kept covered when not under active adult supervision.  This area needs to be secured to prevent entry by children or animals, and sufficient to prevent contamination by liquids and solids.
  • Sandboxes should be equipped with constant and effective drainage systems and made to present no safety hazards.
  • Sterilized sand or very fine pea gravel may be used.
  • Sand that becomes contaminated should be replaced.  Treatment of sand with chemicals is not recommended.
  • Sand in sandboxes and play areas should be replaced as needed, but at least every two years.
How To: Stay Safe this Spring
last updated:
Tue, 4/10/2012 4:01 PM

Around this time of year, traumas are more common, and Le Bonheur sees patients suffering from all types of accidental injuries. Injuries from lawnmowers and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) are especially common – and preventable, too. We want to remind parents how to prevent these accidents from occurring. It’s always good to brush up on safety tips!

ATVs
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Safe Kids Worldwide all have issued formal policies recommending that children younger than 16 not be allowed to drive ATVs under any circumstance. The injuries sustained during an ATV accident are typically severe.

“An ATV crash is 12 times as likely to kill a child as a bicycle accident,” said Susan Helms, director of injury prevention and Safe Kids. “While very important, helmets provide only limited protection on an ATV. No safety device can protect against the spinal and abdominal injuries commonly caused by ATV rollovers, collisions and ejections.”

Read more about ATV safety.

Bicycles
Always wear a helmet. Make sure the helmet fits and your kids know how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock forward and backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Safe Kids recommends the “Eyes, Ears and Mouth” test:

  • EYES: Position the helmet on your head.  Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
  • EARS:  Make sure the straps of the helmet form a "V" under your ears when buckled.  The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • MOUTH:  Open your mouth as wide as you can.  Do you feel the helmet hug your head?  If not, tighten those straps, and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.

Make sure the bike is the right size for the child. There should be about one inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child’s groin when the child’s feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure the bike is in good repair — reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.

Read more about bike safety.

Lawnmowers
These tips are recommended by the AAOS:

  • Children should be at least 12 years old before they operate any lawn mower, and at least 16 years old for a ride-on mower.
  • Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.
  • Young children should be at a safe distance from the area you are mowing.
  • Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.
  • Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.
  • Never pull backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary – carefully look for others behind you when you do.

Read more about lawnmower safety.

Swim Lessons: Right Age to Start?
last updated:
Thu, 3/01/2012 1:45 PM
Starting to think about enrolling your child in swim lessons for the summer? Swim lessons – whether they’re through a school, church or independent program – are valuable and help keep children safe in and around water. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) used to recommend that children begin swim lessons at the age of 4 – the age at which they’re considered to be developmentally ready to learn to swim. But now more children are starting lessons as young as 1 to 2 years old, and that’s OK says the AAP.

“While the AAP still recommends that all children who are 4 years old and older begin to take swimming lessons, pediatricians are no longer against swimming lessons for younger toddlers and preschoolers between the ages of 1 to 4 years old,” Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South, said.

Safe Kids reminds parents swim lessons don’t make kids “drown proof.” Parents should still keep a constant watch over little ones when they’re in and around water. Swim lessons do not necessarily reduce the child’s risk of drowning.

Le Bonheur and Safe Kids helped launch Make a Splash Mid-South, a community-wide, volunteer initiative created to give more children the opportunity to learn to swim. Make a Splash has partnered with area aquatic centers to offer free and low cost swim lessons to at-risk children ages 6 to 12 years old.

For information about water safety, check out our post that explains what parents can and should do to keep their kids safe near water.

Holiday Safety
last updated:
Fri, 12/23/2011 10:31 AM

As you prepare for the holidays this month, make sure your family is safe. During this time of year, it’s easy to get distracted, and that’s when accidents happen. Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, offers these important holiday safety reminders:

If you decorate a tree:

  • Decorate with children in mind. Do not use ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them. Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level, and keep lights out of reach.
  • Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree, and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent.
  • Never leave a lit Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets.
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets, and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
  • Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
  • Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees.

To prevent poisoning this holiday season:

  • Keep alcohol, including baking extracts, out of reach, and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
  • Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach. Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.
  • Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry plants can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach them.
  • In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.
Stay Safe on Halloween
last updated:
Mon, 10/31/2011 2:14 PM

Happy Halloween! This spooky holiday is full of fun and festivity, but it’s important to talk to kids about staying safe during a night of trick or treating. Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, shares ways to keep your children safe.

The organization recommends that children:

  • Always trick or treat with an adult until the age of 10
  • Only trick or treat in areas that are well lit
  • Cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing; always walk, don’t run, when crossing streets
  • Make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars that are turning or backing up
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible
  • Wear light-colored, flame retardant costumes decorated with retro-reflective tape or stickers
  • Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips and falls
  • Carry a flashlight or glow stick to increase visibility to drivers
  • Wear face paint and makeup; a mask can restrict a child’s vision
  • Only eat treats and candy that are properly wrapped in their original packaging

It is also important that drivers do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe. Safe Kids recommends that drivers:

  • Be especially alert in residential neighborhoods
  • Drive more slowly and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on and near the road
  • Be sure to drive with full headlights on they can spot children from greater distances
  • Take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs
  • Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see a moving vehicle
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully
  • Remember that children are excited on this night and may move in unpredictable ways
  • Remember that popular trick or treating hours are during the typical rush hour period, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.
  • Reduce distraction inside their car so they can concentrate on the road and on pedestrians
Celebrate Walk to School Day
last updated:
Wed, 10/05/2011 3:20 PM
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Today is International Walk to School Day, and Safe Kids Mid-South and FedEx volunteers led activities at Dunbar Elementary School to celebrate. Across the country, Safe Kids Coalition held more than 600 International Walk to School Day activities to highlight pedestrian safety. The celebrations also put a spotlight on particular pedestrian dangers or issues in their community.  This year Safe Kids Mid-South hosted "Olympic-style" interactive pedestrian safety lessons.

To brush up on your pedestrian safety, check out this post we published a couple of weeks ago by Susan Helms, director of injury prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South.

How To: Practice Bike Safety
last updated:
Tue, 9/27/2011 4:24 PM

As some of you may know, the sixth annual Go Jim Go fundraiser for Le Bonheur starts tomorrow. For the sixth year in a row, News Channel 3 meteorologist Jim Jaggers will embark on a 333-mile journey throughout the Mid-South to raise money for Le Bonheur. Here’s his route for this year:

Wednesday, Sept. 28 – Shelby County
Thursday, Sept. 29 – Oxford, Miss.
Friday, Sept. 30 – Olive Branch and Southaven, Miss.
Monday, Oct. 3 – Forrest City, Ark.
Tuesday, Oct. 4 – Ripley and Brownsville, Tenn.
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Shelby County

In in honor of Go Jim Go, we encourage you to check out our previous post on bike safety, by clicking here. These tips are provided by Safe Kids Mid-South and Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South at Le Bonheur.

We also encourage you to tune into WREG News Channel 3 each day of Jim’s ride. He will be broadcasting live from the road, and a different Le Bonheur patient will be featured during the 5 p.m. newscast each evening.

To learn more about Go Jim Go or to donate, visit www.lebonheur.org/gojimgo, text LB4Kids to 80088 or call 866-350-9355.


 

Baby Safety Month
last updated:
Mon, 9/19/2011 2:42 PM

The first year with a new baby is an exciting, joyful time. It's also a time when new parents have to think about the safety of their baby. Children from birth to age 1 are more likely to die from accidents than older children. The leading causes of deaths from accidents at this age are suffocation, motor vehicle crashes, drowning, home fire or burn injury, falls and poisoning. September is Baby Safety Month, led by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

“The arrival of a new baby means big changes for the whole family, especially when it comes to making sure the home and car are safe for the baby,” said Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South at Le Bonheur.

Babies spend most of their time sleeping, so creating a safe place for a baby to sleep is a top priority for Safe Kids Mid-South.Two out of three babies who die from injury in their first year of life die from suffocation.  Many of these deaths happen when babies sleep in an unsafe way, and  research shows that almost all of these tragedies can be prevented. 

“Just remember the ABCs of safe sleep for babies,” says Helms. “Babies should sleep ALONE on their BACKS in a CRIB.  The crib should be in the parents’ room, if possible.  It should meet all safety standards and have a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet. The crib should be empty except for the baby. No pillows, no comforters, no soft bedding or stuffed animals.  These can suffocate a baby.”

Here are five important things that all new parents should do to help keep their babies safe:

1. Make a place for babies to sleep by themselves. This can be in the parent’s room to make things like breastfeeding easier.  This is called room sharing. But parents should not let a baby sleep in their bed. Bed sharing is not safe for babies.

2. Put the baby in a safe place when you are cooking or carrying hot foods and liquids. Most scald burns in young children are from spilled hot foods and liquids. This is especially true for children ages 6 months to 2 years. The safe place can be a high chair, crib, play yard or any other safe environment.  If possible, use a travel mug with a top to protect children in case your hot drink tips over.

3. Keep babies away from water.  A baby can drown in as little as an inch or two of water. Babies younger than 1 year who drown often do so in bathtubs, five-gallon buckets and toilets. It can happen the moment your back is turned. Put outside locks on all bathroom doors. Use toilet latches. Empty buckets and wading pools after using them, and store them upside down. Never leave a baby alone in or near water – not even for a second. You need to protect them from drowning and also from being burned by hot tap water.

4. Keep babies and toddlers in rear-facing car seats. There are new rules for baby safety in cars and other vehicles. Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say that babies and toddlers will be safer if you keep them in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible – until they are at least 2 years old AND weigh at least 20 pounds. Also, never leave your child alone in a car –  even for one minute. Heat stroke can injure or kill them.

5. Be prepared for what your baby will do NEXT.  The trick to keeping children safe is to stay one step ahead of them. A baby will wiggle, kick, roll over, chew a toy, move around, pull up, crawl, take first steps and walk. Even if your baby can’t do all of these things right now, there’s always a first time. As babies grow, they will learn to do new things that could hurt them. You should take steps to keep your baby safe today. But you should also think about what you need to do now to keep the baby safe tomorrow.  This is true for anyplace your baby spends time, so make sure safety is in place wherever they go.

 

Take the Back-to-School Safety Pledge
last updated:
Thu, 9/01/2011 2:57 PM

With school back in session, Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s, offers a few tips below to ensure kids stay safe while traveling to and from school.

Here are some simple reminders for drivers:

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
  • Take extra time to look for children at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways or alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your cell phone, and don’t talk or text while driving.

Reminders for your children:

  • They should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars.
  • Make sure they always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them.

Take the Back-to-School Safety Pledge:

“I pledge to eliminate distractions while I drive, especially in school zones.”  

Before International Walk to School Day on Oct. 5, Safe Kids USA is hosting a drawing to win a Walk to School Day Safety Kit for your school. To enter, "Like" Safe Kids USA and watch for the Facebook wall post at noon EDT each day between Sept. 6 and Sept. 9. The first 100 to sign up daily will win a Walk to School Day Safety Kit, worth more than $200, for their school!

Keeping Young Athletes Safe
last updated:
Fri, 8/19/2011 2:31 PM

As the school year begins, so do school athletic activities. Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, offers three tips every parent should know about keeping young athletes safe:

Your child should have his heart checked.  An undetected heart defect can result in serious injury or even death.  That’s why a pre-sports physical is essential.  Also, check to be sure that your child’s school has automated external defibrillators -- which can save a life during cardiac arrest -- and make sure these devices are present at school practices and events.

The brain needs rest after an injury. Concussion is a serious thing and takes time to heal.  Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports. Be sure to tell your coach about any recent concussion.  Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion received in another sport of activity unless you tell the coach.

One-sport athletes should take extra precautions.  Many youth play one sport year round.  Overuse injuries, like pitcher’s elbow, have been seen by many doctors recently. To help prevent such injuries, do not increase training intensity, frequency or duration by more that 10 percent per week. Also, young athletes should take at least 10 weeks off from their sport each year.

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Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center is a leading children's hospital in the Mid South, providing pediatric care to children from 95 counties in six states.
50 N. Dunlap Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 • (901) 287-KIDS