Category: First Aid and Safety

Keep Your Kids Safe from These Hidden Dangers

Did you know that you could break your child's leg while going down a slide together?
Did you know that you could break your child’s leg while going down a slide together?

Accidents are the leading cause of death for kids, with drownings, car accidents, fires, shootings, and poisonings at the top of the list.

But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore all of the other less common causes of accidents.

Did you know that riding down a slide with your kid on your lap is a common way to break their ankle or leg?

If you did, would you still ride down with them?

You can see Meadow’s leg breaking (her foot is going in the wrong direction) as she is going down the slide with her mom. Few people know this can happen and we are lucky that Meadow’s mom continues to tell her story, so that we don’t have to worry about unintentionally hurting our kids.

A few weeks later, another mom posted a video of her son’s leg breaking as they went down a slide in the UK.

Surprisingly, the AAP has actually already warned parents that “going down a slide on a parent’s lap can lead to a broken leg for small children.”

Did you know about that warning?

Keep Your Kids Safe from These Hidden Dangers

Tragically, there are other parents out there that have stories to tell about all of the other hazards listed below.

You can’t raise your kids in a bubble, but just remember that the more risks that you take, then the more likely it is that your kids will eventually get hurt.

Be careful and be mindful of these often overlooked dangers:

  • TV and furniture tip-oversanchor furniture and TVs so that they don’t tip over and hurt your kids
  • ATVs – as injuries and deaths continue, the AAP continues to say that children and teens under age 16 years should not ride on all-terrain vehicles
  • hands, feet, untied shoes, or sandals that get trapped in escalators – tie shoes, stand in the center of the step, and hold the rail
  • elevators
  • falls from shopping carts – kids are frequently hurt in shopping cart falls and tip over incidents, which is why you shouldn’t let your kids ride in  or on a shopping cart
  • inflatable slides and bounce houses – videos of bounce houses flying away are certainly rare examples of safety hazards, but as the use of these inflatables because more common, so do the injuries
  • glass-topped tables – avoid if not made with tempered glass
  • inflatable air mattresses – suffocation danger for infants and younger toddlers if put to sleep on an air mattress
  • bunk beds – should have a guardrail on the top bunk, which should be restricted to kids who are at least 6-years-old
  • high water – don’t drive through high water – Turn Around Don’t Drown – and watch for hazards, like downed power lines, during flooding after storms
  • parade floats – falls from parade floats and kids getting run over near parade floats makes planning and supervision important
  • portable pools
  • recalled or broken toys – a toy that has broken might reveal small parts that can be a choking hazard, lead paint that can be ingested, or sharp edges
  • home exercise equipment – young kids can get injured on your stair climber, treadmill, or stationary bike
  • toys with small parts – choking hazard, which makes it important to buy your kids age-appropriate toys
  • lawn mowerslawn mowers are dangerous and cause a lot of injuries, often when you run over a younger child that you didn’t know was there. Keep in mind that the AAP recommends minimum ages of 12 years to use a push mower and 16 to use a riding mower.
  • magnets – can lead to serious intestinal injuries if two or more magnets are swallowed
  • hoverboards – can overheat while be charged, causing fires
  • clothing – hood and neck drawstrings are a safety hazard and should be cut from young children’s clothing
  • paper shredders
  • window blind cords – kids still die after getting strangled in window blind cords
  • balloons – it is important to remember that balloons are a choking hazard for young kids, as they can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
  • pool, spa, and hot tub drains – faulty drain covers can lead to drownings if a child gets stuck to a hot tub drain. Teach your kids to stay away from drains and make sure drain grates or covers meet the latest safety standards.
  • liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes – can be ingested by young children if not stored in a secure place
  • laundry detergent pods – don’t let your kids eat them
  • poisons – household products and medications commonly poison kids and should be stored properly
  • home trampolines – should not be used and can lead to injuries, even when you think you are using them safely
  • BB guns – non-powder guns can serious injure kids and shouldn’t be used by younger kids or without adult supervision
  • loud toys – listen to toys before you let your kids play with them, as some toys with sirens, etc., can get very loud, especially if your child holds it up to their ear
  • windows – install window guards and stops to prevent falls from windows above the first floor because kids can’t fly
  • digging in the sand – playing in the sand is great fun and still safe, as long your kids don’t try to build deep holes that are deeper than their knees, cave-like structures, or tunnels that they crawl into, as these can suddenly collapse on top of them
  • cedar chests – kids have suffocated in cedar chests that lock automatically when closed
  • playgrounds – too little shock-absorbing surface, ropes on playground equipment (strangulation hazard), sharp edges, tripping hazards, and uncoated metal that can get hot and burn in the summer

Keep your kids safe.

Don’t overlook these hidden dangers.

More on Hidden Risks and Dangers to Kids

History of Car Seat Recommendations

We have come along way since the old days when kids would ride around without seat belts in the front seat of the car. Or a bunch of kids would ride packed into the back of a station wagon, also without seat belts.

In those early days, kids weren’t necessarily safe even if they were strapped in while in the car…

In 1938, Popular Mechanics offered instructions on making your own car seat.
In 1938, Popular Mechanics offered instructions on making your own car seat. Problem solved!

A leash might keep your child from jumping out of the car, but offers absolutely no help if you get in an accident.
A leash might keep your child from jumping out of the car, but offers little help if you get in an accident.

Anyone remember when cars didn’t even have seat belts? It’s hard to imagine, but three-point seat belts, the lap and shoulder harnesses that we use today, didn’t become standard in cars until 1968. Before that, many cars just had optional two-point lap belts.

Latest Car Seat Recommendations

Do your kids ride safely when they are in the car?

According to the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids should ride:

  • in a rear-facing car safety seats in the back seat until they are 2 years of age or reach the weight or height limits of their car seat
  • in a forward-facing car safety seat in the back seat for as long as possible and until they reach the weight or height limits of their convertible or forward-facing car seat
  • in a belt-positioning booster seats in the back seat until they are between 8 to 12 years of age and the car’s lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly
  • with lap-and-shoulder seat belts in the back seat once they have outgrown their booster seats and until they are at least 13-years-old, when they might be ready to ride in front seat

In addition to these updated recommendations, we have seen many improvements in car seats and booster seats, including higher weight limits for rear facing car seats and car seats with harness straps.

History of Car Seat Recommendations

With all of these improvements, it is easy to remember that it wasn’t that long ago that kids rode without car seats.

Pediatricians began pushing folks to use car seats as early as 1971.Although the first car seats were invented in 1962, it wasn’t until 1968 that we got a car seat that could actually protect a child in a car accident. Before that, kids might ride in homemade car seats, safety harnesses, or leashes.

Better car seats followed once the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued the most minimum of car seat safety standards in 1971 and pediatricians began to push for routine car seat use. It would still take more than a decade, until 1985, that all states actually required young kids to ride in car seats.

Then, in 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued their first major recommendations about car seat safety. Those recommendations included that infants should ride rear facing until they are at least 20lb or 1 year of age and that rear-facing car seats should be placed in the back seat if a car had a passenger side air bag.

Why issue recommendations if states had already passed car seat laws?

It was in response to an increasing number of air bag deaths, as more and more cars began to have passenger side airbags in the 1980s and 90s. In fact, by 1998, front side passenger side air bags were required on all new cars and light trucks sold in the United States. As we now know, a car seat in the front seat, up close to the air bag isn’t a good idea if you are in an accident and the air bag deploys.

The 1996 recommendations also called for the use of convertible car seats that could be used forward facing after a child’s first birthday and through about 40 pounds, and then booster seats until seat belts fit properly.

In 2002, we were introduced to the LATCH system, which made installing car seats easier. And the idea that school age kids needed to stay in car seats or booster seats a lot longer than most parents thought necessary was introduced. The AAP also clarified that infants should ride rear facing until they are 20lb and 1 year of age.

The 2002 car seat guidelines introduced the idea of booster seat for older kids.
The 2002 car seat guidelines introduced the idea of booster seat for older kids.

And then, in 2011, the AAP published the recommendations that we are still following today.

State car seat laws still haven’t kept up with the latest recommendations from the AAP though. Some still just use age based criteria or have criteria for car seats and booster seats that are far lower than AAP recommendations. And South Dakota still doesn’t even have a booster seat law!

Other Car Safety Recommendations

Of course, car safety isn’t all about car seats and seat belts.

Since the first laws and recommendations about car seats and seat belts, we have also learned:

Are you still sure that your kids are safe in the car?

What to Know About the History of Car Seat Recommendations

Car seat safety recommendations have come along way since kids began riding in cars.

More on the History of Car Seat Recommendations

Dry Drowning – Hype or Hazard

Every day, about two or three kids drown in the United States.

And that’s why drowning is a leading cause of death for children and teens. In fact, it is the number two cause of unintentional death, right after motor vehicle traffic accidents. Not surprisingly, drowning is the number one cause of death for toddlers and preschoolers.

So, what are many parents afraid of?

Dry Drowning

Although the focus should be on making sure you learn CPR, fence off your pool, supervise your kids around water, and have them wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket around the water, some parents are overly worried about dry drowning instead.

“Parents are being unduly alarmed by media reports suggesting that children can die from drowning a week after swimming,” said Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Some children can experience complications from swimming. For example, it is possible for a child to inhale water and develop an infection, such as pneumonia, which can become very serious and cause breathing problems. If a child has breathing problems at any time, the parent should take him or her to the emergency department. But there are no cases of completely normal, asymptomatic patients who suddenly die because they went swimming a few days ago. It’s also time to retire those incorrect terms, because it is inaccurate and incorrect to say a child was initially fine after a water event and then “dry drowned” a day or week later.”

Another story on The Today Show alerting parents to the dangers of dry drowning.
This story on The Today Show “alerting” parents to the dangers of dry drowning, ended up scaring many of them.

It isn’t hard to see why.

Although media reports of “dry drowning” deaths are rare, they are continuously shared on Facebook and other social media platforms, making it seem like they are much more common.

Still, it is important to note that what folks call dry drowning is often “delayed” drowning. Your child is not going to get sick simply because they coughed in the pool. They are going to have to cough, choke, and actually inhale some water to develop “delayed” drowning, which is rare.

Even though it is rare, you should still know about it though, right?

“You’ll want to keep a close eye on your child for about 24 hours following a close call in the water. Delayed symptoms of drowning include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing and/or chest discomfort. Extreme fatigue, irritability and behavior changes are also possible.”

Delayed Symptoms of Drowning: Know the Signs

Of course, but it shouldn’t be overblown to the point where you get panicked whenever your kids are in the water.

Or if you think more about dry drowning than you do about a much more common hazard – drowning.

What to Know About Dry Drowning Hype

Dry drowning is often a rare type of delayed drowning that occurs after a child inhales water and later develops what can become life-threatening symptoms, including fatigue, fever, coughing, and troubling breathing.

More on Dry Drowning Hype

Learn How to Spot and Treat Poison Ivy

You can probably spot poison ivy if you were looking out for it, right?

Leaves of three, let it be…

You know the problem though, right? Most of the time, you aren’t actually looking out for it.

Spotting Poison Ivy

It would be nice if we got a warning anytime we were going to be around poison ivy.

Poison Ivy Warning Sign
Our local YMCA used to have a sign warning kids to stay out of the surrounding woods.

Or if someone was nearby to point it out to us.

Poison ivy won't always be this easy to spot.
Poison ivy won’t always be this easy to spot.

That’s not usually going to happen, so you need to learn how to spot poison ivy if you want to avoid it.

What’s the first step in learning how to spot poison ivy? Understanding where poison ivy is likely to be growing.

Any “wild” area, especially along tree lines and fences, just off paths and trails, and around ponds and lakes, are likely places you will find poison ivy.

DSC_0362
Whether it is a tree line, fence, or edge of a path, you will likely find poison ivy growing nearby.
DSC_0358
Yup, there it is on one of the posts.
DSC_0366
Looks like a great place to go fishing… and get exposed to poison ivy if you aren’t careful.

If you really want to avoid getting a poison ivy rash when you are outside in an area that might have poison ivy plants, it is likely a good idea to wear long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, gloves, and boots. There are also products, like IvyX, that you can apply to your skin that are supposed to protect you from poison ivy oils.

Identifying Poison Ivy

While it is a good rule of thumb that you might run into poison ivy in a wild area, in some parts of the country, you might even encounter poison ivy in your own backyard. That’s why learning how to identify poison ivy plants is so important, especially if you or your kids have severe reactions to these plants.

This poison ivy plant is growing out of the edge of a lawn.
This poison ivy plant is growing out of the edge of a lawn. Photo by CDC/ Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr..

What’s the key to identifying poison ivy? That’s right – think of the old adage – leaves of three, let it be.

DSC_0353
Birds eat the poison ivy berries and poop out the seeds, which is why you find these plants growing along tree lines… or in your garden.
Poison ivy plants use aerial roots to grab on to trees and fences.
Poison ivy plants use aerial roots to grab on to trees and fences.

There is a little more to it than that though. After all, other plants have three leaves. If you really want to be a pro at identifying poison ivy, you also need to know that with poison ivy:

These dead poison ivy plants on this tree could still trigger a reaction.
The dead poison ivy plants clinging to this tree could still trigger a reaction.
  • the middle leaflet has a longer stalk (petiole) than the other two
  • leaflets are fatter near their base, but are all about the same size, are green in the summer, and can be red in the fall
  • you can sometimes find poison ivy plants with clusters of green or white berries
  • their stems don’t have thorns, but do have aerial roots, which help them cling to trees and fences

Most importantly, understand that even a dead poison ivy plant or a plant without leaves can trigger a reaction.

Thinking about burning poison ivy? Don’t! Inhaling the smoke from a burning poison ivy plant can be deadly.

What about poison oak and poison sumac?

They look very similar (well, except poison sumac, which has 7-13 compound leaflets, instead of just 3), but unlike poison ivy, which grows as a vine, these other plants that can cause the same type of reaction grow as a low shrub (poison oak) or a tall shrub/small tree (poison sumac).

Avoiding Poison Ivy Rashes

If your kids are active and adventurous, it is likely going to be a little harder to avoid poison ivy than for kids who rarely go outside.

And even if they get good at spotting poison ivy, the next time they spot it, might be when they are climbing down a tree that is covered in it.

What can you do if your child is exposed to poison ivy?

  1. You can quickly cleanse the exposed areas with rubbing alcohol. How quickly? You have about 10 to 15 minutes to prevent a poison ivy reaction after an exposure.
  2. Next, rinse the exposed areas with cool water. Don’t use soap, since soap can move the urushiol around your body and actually make the reaction worse. It is the urushiol oil from the poison ivy that actually triggers your poison ivy rash.
  3. Don’t forget to scrub under your nails with a brush.
  4. Now, take a shower with soap and warm water.
  5. Lastly, put on disposable gloves and wipe everything you had with you, including shoes and tools, etc., with rubbing alcohol and water. And wash the clothes you were wearing. It is possible that urushiol that remains on these things could trigger another reaction if you touch them later.

Instead of rubbing alcohol, several over-the-counter  products are available, like Zanfel, IvyX Cleanser Towelettes, and Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub or Cleanser.

You could even use a degreasing soap (dishwashing soap, like Dawn). One group of dermatologists has suggested that you could prevent a poison ivy rash after getting exposed by using a damp washcloth and liquid dishwashing soap, washing for three minutes with “repetitive, high-pressure, single-direction wipes under hot, running water.” Repeat this full body wash two more times within one to two hours of your exposure.

If these methods don’t work and your child gets a poison ivy rash, look for treatments to control the itching and inflammation, which will likely mean visiting your pediatrician for a prescription for an oral steroid (tapered over two to three weeks to prevent a rebound rash) and a steroid cream. In addition, other anti-itch treatments and home remedies can be helpful, including an oral antihistamine, calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, cold, wet compresses made with Domeboro powder packets (modified Burow’s Solution), etc.

Keep in mind that without treatment, poison ivy rashes typically linger for about three weeks. Fortunately poison ivy isn’t contagious, so you wouldn’t have to keep your child our of school for that long, but except for very mild cases, see your pediatrician for treatment if they have poison ivy.

What to Know About Poison Ivy

Learn to avoid poison ivy, so that you can avoid getting a poison ivy rash.

More on Poison Ivy

Choosing the Best Sunscreen for Babies and Kids

I know, we tell you that kids should get less time in front of screens and need more time outside playing.

And we tell you that they shouldn’t be tanned or get sunburned.

In addition to raising your risk of skin cancer, sunburns are painful.
In addition to raising your risk of skin cancer, sunburns are painful. Photo by Chelsea Marie Hicks (CC BY 2.0)

So what can you do?

Sun Protection

Use sunscreen!

But you are using sunscreen and your kids still get real dark and tanned?

Then make sure to apply it 15 to 30 minutes before your kids go outside, use enough to get good coverage, and reapply it every few hours.

Any other tricks?

Slip on clothes. Slop on sunscreen. Slap on a hat. Seek shade. And Slide on sunglasses to stay safe in the sun.
SLIP on clothes. SLOP on sunscreen. SLAP on a hat. SEEK shade. And SLIDE on sunglasses to stay safe in the sun.

You want to use sunscreen every time they go out, even if it is cloudy, and not just when they are going to be at the pool all day, limit exposure during the hottest parts of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), use sun protection clothing with a UPF of 15 to 50+, a hat, and sun glasses, and find shade when it is available.

Choosing the Best Sunscreen for Babies and Kids

Are there any tricks to choosing the best sunscreen for your kids?

Although I’m sure you can find a lot of buying guides that try and score or rate sunscreens, it is a lot simpler than that.

The best sunscreen is the one that you are actually going to use and:

  1. provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection
  2. has an SPF of at least 15 to 30 (you can go higher, but get a minimum of 15 to 30)
  3. is water-resistant (even if your child isn’t going to be in the water, they will likely be sweating…)

For infants, or a child with eczema or sensitive skin, also make sure your child’s sunscreen is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.

What else?

Do you want your child’s sunscreen to be tear-free and non-greasy?

Do you want sunscreen that comes in the form of a stick, gel, foaming lotion, lotion, dry touch lotion, wet skin sprays, spray, or continuous spray?

Do you want a kids’ brand, like Aveeno Baby, Banana Boat Kids, California Baby, Coppertone Kids, Coppertone Waterbabies, Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids, Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby, etc.?

There are plenty of options to help you get a sunscreen that you will actually use regularly. Personally, I like the dry touch lotions. They go on quick and easy, don’t leave a lot of left-over residue if you over apply, and don’t leave you feeling greasy afterwards.

I strongly dislike all of the spray sunscreens. What’s my beef with them? Ever see someone apply a spray sunscreen on their kids outside? If you have, then you have seen that the sunscreen doesn’t just end up on the kid. That’s also easy to see if you ever make the mistake of trying to apply spray sunscreen inside your home. It leaves a big greasy puddle on the floor. What does that mean? You likely aren’t applying as much sunscreen as you think you are when applying a spray sunscreen.

More on Sunscreen and Protecting Kids from the Sun

What else should you know about sunscreen and keeping your kids safe in the sun?

  • It is best to keep younger infants out of the sun, until they are about six months old, when you can start using sunscreen safely.
  • An SPF or Sun Protection Factor of 15 to 30 blocks 93 to 97% of UVB rays. Going up to SPF 50 only increases that to 98%. In theory, that is supposed to mean that it would take you 50 times longer to get a sunburn wearing SPF 50 sunscreen than if you were lying in the sun unprotected. Of course, even with SPF 50, your kids would eventually get a sunburn if you didn’t reapply their sunscreen every few hours.
  • On clothing, a UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating of 15 is considered good sun protection, but for excellent sun protection, look for a UPF of 50+.
  • The UV index forecast can help you figure out when you should avoid being out in the sun, especially when UV Alerts are issued for your area.
  • Many people only use about 25% of the amount of sunscreen that is needed to provide real protection and keep kids from getting a tan or a sunburn. How much do they need? You can use the teaspoon rule (half a teaspoon for each arm, a full teaspoon for each leg, a full teaspoon for their chest, abdomen, and back, and half a teaspoon for their face, head, and neck) or just use a palmful of sunscreen to cover your child’s body. Of course, that’s your child’s palm, not yours. And for older teens and adults, you should use about 5 to 6 teaspoons of sunscreen at a time to cover your entire body.
  • If you think that your child had a reaction to their sunscreen, try a sunblock with Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide, or simply try another sunscreen that uses different ingredients. Apply a small amount to a small area of their body to see if they have a reaction before using it regularly though.
  • Sunscreen expires and becomes less effective after its expiration date. It also needs to be stored properly. Don’t use expired sunscreen or sunscreen that has been left in a hot car.
  • The ideas around “chemical-free” sunscreens, the need to avoid certain sunscreen ingredients, and that some sunscreens are safer than others is the same kind of hype that scares folks into thinking that they have to eat organic food, avoid GMOs, and that their are toxins in vaccines.

And remember that sunscreen is for everyone, not just people with light skin.

What to Know About Sunscreen and Sun Protection

Think about sun protection before your kids go outside, making sure you use a good amount of sunscreen every time they go outside, reapplying it often, and using other methods of sun protection too, including clothing, sun glasses, and shade.

More on Sunscreen and Sun Protection

News on the Latest Food Recalls and Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Breaking news – In addition to some new outbreaks, some popular foods have recently been recalled because of concern for Salmonella contamination, including four varieties of Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farms and many types of Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits.

It is not unusual for a food to get recalled.

Many have to do with undeclared eggs, gluten, peanut, or milk, things that can trigger food allergies, but some are because of potential bacterial contamination.

“When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne disease outbreak.”

CDC on Reports of Selected Salmonella Outbreak Investigations

And some lead to outbreaks that get people sick.

In fact, since 2006, there have been between four and fourteen multistate foodborne outbreaks each year, involving everything from ground beef and cantaloupes to sprouts and peanut butter.

The Latest Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Do you remember hearing about any of these outbreaks?

Unfortunately, many people don’t know about these recalls and outbreaks until it is too late – when they are or someone they know gets sick.

That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest food recalls and outbreaks, including:

  • an ongoing Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to raw turkey products that has gotten 90 people sick in 26 states
  • an ongoing Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak that has been linked to fresh crab meat from Venezuala that has gotten 12 people sick in 4 states
  • an ongoing Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to recalled Spring Pasta Salad from Hy-Vee grocery stores that has gotten 21 people sick in 5 states
  • an ongoing Cyclosporiasis outbreak that has been linked to salads sold at McDonalds that has gotten at least 286 people sick in 14 states
    Honey Smacks cereal has been linked to a Salmonella outbreak.
    Honey Smacks cereal has been linked to a Salmonella outbreak.

     

  • an ongoing Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal that has gotten at least 100 people sick in 33 states.
  • a resolved Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to pre-cut melons from Caito Foods in Indiana that has gotten at least 77 people sick in 9 states.
  • a resolved Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to recalled shell eggs from Rose Acre Farms’ Hyde County farm of Seymour, Indiana and has gotten at least 45 people sick in 10 states. Over 200 million eggs are being recalled that were sold in restaurants and stores (Target, Food Lion, and Walmart) in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • a resolved E.coi 0157:H7 outbreak that has been linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region and has gotten at least 210 people sick in 36 states, including 5 deaths. Although there has been no official recall, we have been warned to not buy or eat romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region (it is no longer being sold, but some product may still be in homes) or if you don’t know where it is from.
  • a resolved Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to recalled bulk packages of International Harvest, Inc. brand Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw that has gotten 134 people sick in 8 states

If your child is sick and has eaten any of the foods listed in an ongoing outbreak, be sure to call your pediatrician or seek medical attention.

How can you avoid these outbreaks?

“Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.”

Sprouts: What You Should Know

Although proper cooking and food handling can help keep your family from getting sick in some cases with these recalled foods, it likely won’t with others, such as when fruits and vegetables, that you eat raw, are contaminated with bacteria.

Got Salmonella? You might, if you eat these recalled eggs.
Got Salmonella? You might, if you eat these recalled eggs.

That’s why you have to be aware of food recalls and be sure that you don’t eat foods that have been recalled, especially if anyone in your family is considered to be at high risk to get sick (younger children, anyone with a chronic illness, anyone who is pregnant, etc.). Many experts suggest avoiding those foods that are at high risk of contamination for high risk people, including raw sprouts, uncooked and undercooked beef, pork, and poultry, eggs that aren’t pasteurized, and of course, raw milk.

Also be sure to seek quick medical attention if you have eaten them and get sick (diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever, etc.).

What to Know About Food Recalls and Foodborne Outbreaks

It is important to be aware of food recalls and foodborne disease outbreaks, whether they are caused by Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria, so that you can take steps to avoid those foods and keep your family from getting sick.

More on Food Recalls and Foodborne Outbreaks

Updated July 25, 2018

Child Access Prevention Laws and Gun Safety

There are many types of gun violence that gun safety advocates are concerned about, including:

  • homicides
  • mass shootings
  • school shootings
  • suicide
  • unintentional shootings

The problem isn’t just gang-bangers killing themselves, as some people who try to minimize the gun violence problem try to claim.

The American Pediatric Surgical Association, in an editorial about Firearms, Children, and Health Care Professionals, does a good job in pointing this out.

They state that “the risk of firearm homicide, suicide and unintentional injuries is more than 5-fold greater in the United States than 23 other high-income countries considered collectively. Firearm-related injury and death are issues for all Americans, in all communities. The risk of dying by firearm is the same for residents of the largest cities as it is for the residents of the smallest counties and holds true for adult and pediatric patients alike. This parity in risk is due to the predominance of firearm suicides and unintentional firearms deaths in the rural counties and the predominance of firearm homicides in the urban counties.”

Gun Safety Laws

Many new and proposed gun safety laws will hopefully help to reduce gun violence, including:

  • universal background checks and the closure of the gun show loophole
  • mental health restrictions for gun purchases
  • limitations on access to high-capacity magazines and assault-style weaponry
  • repealing the Dickey Amendment, which restricts the CDC from doing research on gun violence
  • child access prevention (CAP) laws

And we need to make mental health services more readily available to those who need them.

The March For Our Lives and National School Walkout events in March are already pushing lawmakers to make changes to keep kids safe from gun violence.
The March For Our Lives and National School Walkout events in March are already pushing lawmakers to make changes to keep kids safe from gun violence.

Surprisingly, many of these gun safety laws are supported by most members of the NRA, even if they are strongly opposed by the NRA itself.

CAP Laws

Most gun safety advocates are pushing for stronger CAP laws as a way to decrease the number of children injured and killed by unintentional shootings.

CAP laws work to limit a child’s access to guns in and around their home.

All too often, a toddler, preschooler, or older child will find a loaded, unsecured gun under a bed, on a nightstand, or in a closet, etc., and unintentionally shoot themselves or another family member.

“The safest home for a child is a home without guns, and if there is a gun in the home, it must be stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

CAP laws are not just about accidental shootings though. Kids who get access to unsecured guns also use them in suicides and school shootings.

Studies have found benefits to CAP laws, including declines in unintentional firearm death rates in children, decreases in non-fatal gun injuries, and decreases in suicide rates among teens.

Current CAP Laws

While some states have some sort of CAP law on the books already, many others don’t.

In Texas, “A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm (a firearm that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber) and the person with criminal negligence and failed to secure the firearm (to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means) or left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.”

However, many other states, including Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington, Vermont, and Wyoming, don’t have any kind of laws that would prohibit allowing kids access to unsecured firearms.

Again, that is a surprise since even the NRA advises that it is a gun owner’s responsibility to “store guns so that they are inaccessible to children and other unauthorized users.” They also state that it is a basic gun safety rule to “always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.”

Some other states have weak or limited CAP laws that simply make you criminally liable if a child or teen gets access to a gun and uses it in a felony. For example, in Oklahoma, it is “unlawful for any parent or guardian to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly permit his or her child to possess any of the arms or weapons,” but only if they are “aware of a substantial risk that the child will use the weapon to commit a criminal offense or if the child has either been adjudicated a delinquent or has been convicted as an adult for any criminal offense.”

And no states have all of the features of a comprehensive CAP law, which most experts advise would:

  • define a minor as being under 18 years for long guns and under 21 for handguns (in some states, a minor is only those who are 13 years old and under when it comes to child access prevention laws)
  • require that all firearms be stored with a locking device
  • impose a criminal liability on people who negligently store firearms where a minor could gain access, even if the firearm is unloaded and the minor doesn’t gain access or use the firearm
  • impose civil liability for damages if a minor gains access to a firearm that was stored negligently and causes damage after firing it

California is getting close though and is often thought of as being a leader in gun safety laws. Their CAP law was amended in 2013 (the Firearm Safe and Responsible Access Act) to make it a misdemeanor to leave an unsecured gun where a minor could find it, even if they don’t, in addition to being a misdemeanor or felony if they find and use the gun. Gun dealers also have to post warning signs educating gun buyers about the state’s CAP law.

Proposed Gun Safety Laws

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, there are pending gun safety bills in at least 23 states, including many bills that would strengthen background checks.

Still, only 27 states and the District of Columbia have child access prevention laws.

And there is currently no national CAP law.

A bill that was introduced in 2013, the Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2013 would have come close by amending the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to make it “unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to sell, transfer, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer) unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device.”

Another version of the bill that was far more broad would also “Prohibit keeping a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm and ammunition within any premises knowing or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child: (1) is capable of gaining access to it, and (2) will use the firearm to cause death or serious bodily injury.” It would also have raised the minimum ages that young people could purchase and possess handguns and long guns.

The Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2013 never made it out of committee though. It’s not hard to imagine that by “by raising the age of handgun eligibility and prohibiting youth from possessing semiautomatic assault weapons,” the bill, introduced by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas, could have prevented the latest school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Hopefully stronger gun safety laws will now be passed in more states and we will see fewer unintentional shootings and other tragedies that occur when kids find unsecured guns or buy their own, including AR-15 style guns.

parkland-survivor

In addition to other measures to reduce gun violence, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports safe storage and CAP laws.

What to Know About Gun Safety Laws

As we see more and more gun violence, including school shootings, something has to be done to protect our kids and keep them safe.

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