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Protect Yourself And Your Kids From Scalds

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 6, 2014

This week is National Burn Awareness Week, and various entities around the country are doing their part to spread the word about taking the proper precautions.  The main topic of interest this year seems to be the prevention of scalds, which can result from any number of safety shortfalls around the kitchen and the home.  So that your family might be protected, please consider the tips on hand from a wide-ranging resource put together by the American Burn Association.

The first set of tips focus on protecting your family from the threat of a food or beverage-related burn injury.  First, if your children are going to be in the kitchen, make sure that they’re not going to be too close to cooking areas.  If you’re preparing food and you’re worried about them being underfoot, make sure there is an enclosed play area or high chair available and positioned somewhere you can keep an eye on them even as you cook.

As your children age, they’re going to grow more curious about their environment, which means they could reach for just about anything in their vicinity.  That’s why parents would be wise to cook on the back burners of a stove rather than the front ones, where pots and pans could be easily reached and pulled away.  This is also a good reason to turn handles inward at all times, as those handles can make an alluring grappling point for children in the midst of play.

When it comes to hot liquids, make sure you’re not placing a cup anywhere that a child could easily reach it and knock it over.  That means low surfaces are a no-go.  You should avoid carrying coffee or similar items if you’re carrying a child or walking near him or her, as any spill could prove dangerous.

People should also understand the scald potential posed by items that are pulled out of the microwave.  Children should not be allowed to use the microwave until they’re old enough to handle the responsibility.

One big danger posed by the microwave is the buildup of steam.  Anything with a cover that doesn’t allow steam to escape can rapidly escalate in temperature, which is why you typically see labels telling users to wait a couple minutes prior to opening the microwave door.  Caution should be used with popcorn bags, frozen dinners, and other items.

Finally, be careful when preparing a bath for your children.  Make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature.  At no point should you leave their side.  An unsupervised child is at risk for both drowning and scalds if he or she turns on the hot water faucet.

New Rules From FDA Seek To Improve Infant Formula Safety

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 6, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration wants to ensure that infant formulas are as safe as they could possibly be, and to that end, they have come out with a regulation that enacts rigorous standards related to such products.  There are three chief aims of the recently released rule.  First, any product classified as infant formula would have to go through the proper testing procedures so that any potential contaminants could be identified prior to the product coming to the market.  The production of the formula must also be carried out in a way that emphasizes cleanliness and safety.  Finally, the FDA establishes benchmarks for the types of nutrients that must be contained within a product.

For more information, click here.

Collision Data Highlights Need For Expanded Car Seat Usage

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 5, 2014

Although car seats and various safety mechanisms designed to protect children have come a long way in recent decades, parents still have a role to play.  After all, a child can’t be protected during a collision if they’re not using the very systems that are supposed to offer that protection.

Newly released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight just how large this problem is.  650 kids younger than 12 lost their lives in a collision in 2011, the most recent year that data is available.  Of those, roughly one in three were not using the appropriate seat belt or car seat when the crash took place.  This is despite the fact that overall fatalities among the same demographic were actually reduced in the preceding decade.

The best thing that parents can do to further promote safety is to use the appropriate buckling system, depending of course on the child’s age.  The CDC offers guidelines on how to ensure proper usage.  Rear-facing is the way to go until the child turns two and/or reaches the appropriate height plateau.  The transition must then be made to forward facing, and once the child is over those limits, a booster seat should be a necessity until the child is around 57 inches in height.

If you’re using these, make sure to use them every single time, no matter how long or short the trip.

FDA Campaign Takes Aim At Youth Smoking

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2014

For most people that find themselves with a smoking habit that’s hard to kick, their exposure to the addictive substance began when they were young, likely due to peer pressure and a desire to fit in.  Because of this, it’s important to emphasize early on how important it is to stay clear of the deleterious effects of tobacco.

The Food and Drug Administration has unveiled a new campaign with the admirable goal of protecting children from the dangerous effects of a tobacco habit.  In a news release touting the potential of the new campaign, the agency points out that each day sees an estimated 3,200 kids and teens try a cigarette for the first time, and nearly a fourth of those may become habitual smokers.

That’s why the FDA will unfurl an ad campaign next week that attempts to get across a message called “The Real Cost.”  Over the coming year, you are likely to see this ad campaign implemented across a number of mediums.  Print, internet, and television ads will focus on trying to get the most at-risk demographics to understand the dangers of tobacco.

Over the next couple years, the FDA will study how well the ongoing effort is working.  8,000 teens have been picked out to supply information about their tobacco usage, and the hope is that teens privy to the message will be less inclined to try and/or stick with tobacco.

Sugarfly Children’s Jackets Recalled Over Strangulation Risk

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2014

Cotton and polyester jackets under the Sugarfly brand are being recalled by the New York City-based Runway Fashions because of the risk that they may lead a user to be strangled.  820 of these children’s jackets could run up against federal regulations designed to eliminate the risk of strangulation to children.  Children’s jackets are not supposed to contain drawstrings near the neck due to the hazard that this would pose, but unfortunately, these particular jackets have those drawstrings and thus federal standards are breached.  No injuries have been reported in relation to the issue, and parents are being asked to protect their own kids by taking out the drawstrings.  A refund can be sought from Burlington Coat Factory, the only retail outlet where these products were available.

Click here for more about the recall.

Stress Safe Twitter Usage To Teenagers

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 31, 2014

Today’s children are growing up in a world saturated with social media.  As such, they may think nothing of going online and sharing sensitive details of their lives once they become teenagers and even before then.  As a parent, you have to remain cautious and instill a sense of caution in your kids when it comes to social media.  As far as Twitter goes, you might think about some of the tips available in a new report out of Cincinnati.

The first thing that you as a parent should know, and that you should stress to your children, is that any message put out on Twitter is not going to be private.  Yes, you can send direct messages that would in theory be private, but nothing is stopping someone from rewriting that or taking a screengrab.  When it comes to social media, kids should know that all sensitive details of their lives, including emails, phone numbers, identifying information, and photos, should not be sent via social media.

Twitter allows a sense of freedom that can be dangerous if people your children know begin to interact with them in an inappropriate manner.  You might emphasize to your kids that they should only follow and communicate with their friends, and if anyone begins to badger them with inappropriate comments or demands about personal information, let your children know that they can come to you for help without getting in trouble.  Dangerous communications can and should be reported.

See To The Safety Of Your Kids’ Car Seats

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 31, 2014

We recently related the news that federal officials will be updating the safety standards of car seats to reflect the importance of providing protection to children in the event of a side collision.  But because the adoption of those rules may still be a little ways off, it will be important for parents to take other necessary precautions to protect their kids.  Thankfully, a new report offers some guidance in this regard.

One of the most important things that a parent can do to vouch for safety is sadly one of the most neglected: simply bring the seat to a certified technician to take a look at it.  If you’re unsure of where to go for such a thing, contact a local law enforcement agency, which should be able to point you in the right direction.  They may be able to identify critical mistakes that could easily go overlooked otherwise.  Also visits the Safe Kids Worldwide website to look into upcoming events providing free checks to the community.

Parents also need to be cautious when they’re thinking about accepting a car seat from a friend or loved one.  There’s always the risk that it could suffer from a structural flaw brought about by a crash or a defect that a previous recall sought to correct.  It’s be best to be cautious and simply buy new, and you especially should never buy a used product from someone you don’t know or trust.

Research Highlights Injuries Posed By Shopping Carts

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 30, 2014

If you have children, you’ve likely placed your kids in the shopping cart at some point while you picked out your groceries.  However, you may think twice about that once you get a look at recent research which highlights the number of injuries that this situation creates every year.

The research, which is explored in the Washington Post, hails from the Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Between the years 1990 and 2011, a whopping 530,494 kids below the age of 15 sustained a cart-related injury that led them to seek care from an emergency room.  That adds up to 66 injuries daily and 24,000 per year.

The most common type of injury was a child simply falling out of the cart, with that situation being so prevalent that it accounted for slightly more than seven out of ten injuries.  There were also reported situations where the cart tipped over, a child had part of his or her body get stuck in the cart, or the child was struck by the cart.

The report noted some of the ways that these eye-opening injury numbers could be reduced.  Restraints can conform to better standards, and the place the child sits can be brought lower to the floor so that a fall creates minimal damage.  Awareness efforts geared toward parents could also help.

Laceration Threat Prompts Recall of 3,500 Kids’ Beds From Ikea

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 29, 2014

The Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based IKEA North America Services has announced the recall of SNIGLAR and KRITTER junior beds because of a possible laceration threat posed.  22,000 such items were previously recalled last summer, but this latest announcement adds 3,500 additional beds to the safety announcement.  These products have a guard rail attached to the frame of the bed via a metal rod, but this rod could pose a safety hazard.  It can break, and when that happens, children sleeping in the bed could experience a laceration.  One small scratch has been reported in association with the latest recall, and owners should seek out repairs from the company so that scratches and more serious incidents do not happen in the future.  The products were available across the country between July 2005 and last May.

Click here for more about the recall.

Exercise Defensive Driving When Approaching A School Zone

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 27, 2014

In the winter, it becomes even more important to use the proper precautions while in a school zone.  The roads can get slick, and in the early morning, the rising sun can interfere with your ability to see the roadway (and any children that might be crossing).  So that kids can get to school safely, please consider taking the precautions available in a new report whenever you drop kids off, pick them up, or merely travel through a school zone on the way to work.

First, pay attention to signs, especially in residential areas.  That way, you know when it will be appropriate to slow down.  Even if you’re not in the official school zone, you can monitor your speed so that you’re not going to endanger kids who may be walking or biking to school.

Be prepared to go slow, leaving plenty of time in your commute should you get behind a child on a bicycle in the road or a school bus picking up kids.  If you ever navigate around anyone on a bike, remember California’s Three Foot Rule, which is in place to keep cyclists safe.  When it comes to buses, these are never acceptable to pass, as a stopped bus may have just let off kids or be picking them up, and thus those kids could dart across the street without you being ready to stop.

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