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Safety Tips for Spokane Parents and Kids

Classes and resources provided by Safe Kids Spokane include car seat safety, fire and burn prevention, pedestrian safety, drowning prevention, helmet fitting, and more.

Global network of Safe Kids

Safe Kids Spokane is part of a global network of organizations aimed at helping kids grow up safe and injury free. Visit safekids.org to find more safety tips by age or activity.

In the Car

Preventing Heatstroke

Young Spokane children are particularly at risk for heatstroke, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Don't Leave Your Kid in the Car!

Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave a baby alone in a car while we quickly run into the store.

The problem is that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable. Here’s how we can all work together to keep kids safe from heatstroke.

Hard Facts

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.

Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT.

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
  • Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

Help us spread the word: Look Before you Lock!
Get more info and watch a short video here



Child Passenger Safety - 4 Basic Steps

A Safe Kids Spokane reminder: All car seats and booster seats must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.Did you know Washington State has two occupant protection laws? Know and follow these guidelines, or you could risk a ticket of $124!

The Child Restraint Law:

  • Children under 13 years old must travel in the back seat when practical.

  • All car seats and booster seats must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Children who are under 8 years of age or under 4' 9" are required to remain in a child restraint. When your child reaches 4' 9" they may try the adult safety belt.

  • If it does not fit correctly they must remain in a child restraint.

The Seat Belt Law:

  • All vehicle occupants must be properly restrained in all seating positions.

  • The driver is responsible for properly securing all children under the age of 16.

  • Passengers 16 years of age and older are responsible for themselves. They may receive their own citation if they are not properly restrained.

  • Buckling one seat belt around two people or placing the seat belt under the arm or behind the back is dangerous, can cause death or serious injury, and is a violation of the law.

Don’t worry - we've got your back (seat!); just follow these tips:

  • Rear-Facing Seats: Always buckle children in the back seat. Toddlers are five times safer riding rearfacing than forward-facing into their second year of life. Put harnesses through the slots so they are even with or below the child's shoulders.

  • Forward-Facing Seats: When children outgrow their rear-facing seat they can move into a forward-facing seat, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat. Put harnesses through the slots so they are even with or above the child’s shoulders.

  • Booster Seats: When children outgrow their forward-facing seat they can move into a booster seat, in the back seat, until the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly. Booster seats MUST always be used with a lap and shoulder belt.

  • Seat Belts: When a child reaches age 8 or 4'9 they may be able to use the car’s seat belt system. Take this 5-step quiz to see if your child is ready for a seat belt:

    1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
    2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
    3. Does the lap belt stay on the top part of the thighs?
    4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the chest and shoulder?
    5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

Get more child car seat safety tips:

Summertime

Safe Kids Spokane tip: Even if you or your child knows how to swim, children, teens and adults should always wear a life jacket.

Drowning is silent! By following proper water safety tips and using a life jacket, unintentional injuries can be avoided and lives can be saved.

Supervision is Key to Safety

Always designate an adult to supervise your child/teen at all times

Know Your Limits

No matter how good a swimmer you are, it is easy to misjudge the water or your skills. If you are tired, rest and stay out of the water. Drowning happens to even the strongest swimmers who become too tired to make it back to shore.

Beware of Rivers

Many lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in the summer. Calm rivers can hide dangerous undercurrents, rocks and tree branches. Rivers are unpredictable and should be avoided.

Wear a Life Jacket

Even strong swimmers can benefit from a life jacket. Wear a life jacket when swimming, boating, innertubing or rafting. Play toys such as water wings, air mattresses and swim noodles are not safety devices.

Learn What To Do in an Emergency

Respond quickly when someone appears to be in trouble. Know your location and contact medical personal quickly.

Learn CPR

Providence offers CPR training events during the year. Watch our Calendar for dates, times and locations.

Life jackets Float. Do You?

This award-winning video addresses what you always hear - and tell your kids: "Wear a life jacket, wear a lifejacket!" But, is it really that big a deal? The answer to this question is both entertaining and eye opening as we discover the many challenges moving water presents. Vertical currents, holes, strainers, foot entrapment, cold water...these are hazards that the ever changing river throws at us.

Great viewing, and a great reminder for kids ... and parents!

Safe Kids Spokane tip: Even if you or your child knows how to swim, children, teens and adults should always wear a life jacket.

Why should people of all ages wear life jackets?

Drowning is swift, occurring in as little as 30 seconds, and silent. In 2010, there were 108 drownings in Washington state (40 among 45-64 year olds).

Safety is for everyone - and drownings are preventable! By following proper water safety tips and using a life jacket, unintentional injuries can be avoided and lives can be saved.

Guidelines for wearing life jackets

Even if you or your child knows how to swim, children, teens and adults should always wear a life jacket:

  • When on a boat, raft or inner tube
  • When swimming in open water like a lake, river or the ocean
  • When playing in or near the water and on docks (for young children)
  • When participating in water activities such as skiing, surfing, wind surfing, jet-skiing, etc.

How do you use a life jacket?

  • Every spring, check the life jacket for fit as well as wear and tear. Throw it away if you find air leakage, mildew, rot, or rust.
  • Practice wearing your life jacket in the water. Each type of jacket provides flotation in slightly different positions. Make sure your jacket works for you as designed.
  • Never substitute toys, such as water wings, or plastic rings, for a life jacket.

Safe Kids Spokane tip: Even if you or your child knows how to swim, children, teens and adults should always wear a life jacket.When buying a life jacket check for:

  • Coast Guard approval label.
  • A snug fit. With the life jacket on, raise your arms over your head. Look to the left and right; the chest part of the jacket shouldn't hit the chin.
  • Head support for younger children. A well designed life jacket will support the child’s head when the child is in the water.
  • A strap between the legs for younger children will help prevent the life jacket from coming off.
  • Appropriate type of activity and water conditions. There are five different types of life jackets. Check the label or ask the salesperson to describe to you the different types and their purposes.
  • Comfort and appearance. This is especially important to teens who may be less likely to want to wear a life jacket.

Preventing Heatstroke

Young Spokane children are particularly at risk for heatstroke, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Don't Leave Your Kid in the Car!

Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave a baby alone in a car while we quickly run into the store.

The problem is that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable. Here’s how we can all work together to keep kids safe from heatstroke.

Hard Facts

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.

Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT.

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
  • Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

At Play

Portable Pools Pose Drowning Risk for Young Kids

Safe_Kids_4Not even shallow wading pools are safe, experts say

healthfinder.gov—Portable swimming pools, including the increasingly popular inflatable models, pose serious risks to young children, experts warn.

In a new study, investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, detail the drowning deaths of more than 200 children under 12 years old linked to a variety of above-ground pools, some large and deep, others small and shallow.

"About every five days a child drowns in a portable pool in the US," said lead researcher Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Because these pools are inexpensive and easy to assemble, many parents may not consider them as big a risk as in-ground pools, he said. The greatest risks are for children younger than 5 years, the researchers found. The report, published in the June 20 online edition of Pediatrics, highlights the need for safety precautions around all pools, safety advocates said.

For the study, Smith's team used 2001-2009 data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. During this period, the researchers identified 209 drowning deaths and 35 near-drownings in children under 12. They found that 94 percent of the children were under 5 and most (56 percent) were boys. In addition, about three-quarters of the deaths took place in the child's own yard, usually during the summer.

More than 40 percent of the drownings occurred when the child was being supervised; 39 percent happened with no adult supervision; and 18 percent were blamed on a lapse of supervision. About 40 percent of the drownings happened in a shallow wading pool.

"That's 18 inches or less of water," Smith said. "Children can drown in very small amounts of water. It only takes a couple of inches and a few minutes."

While a variety of safety measures such as alarms and fencing are available for in-ground pools, Smith said, this is not the case for portable pools. The researchers call for industry development of affordable fencing and reliable pool alarms and covers for portable pools.

Many techniques used to deny access to in-ground pools, such as fencing, cost more than a portable pool itself, he said. "We have to come up with other strategies that are affordable and effective for portable pools."

Experts said the study also raises concerns about pool ladders. "Most of the kids got into the pool using a ladder that was provided with the pool," Smith said. He suggests removing the pool ladder when no one is bathing and storing it where children can't get to it. Parents who have wading pools should empty them when not in use.

In addition to actively supervising children when they are in or around water (including pools, ponds and bathtubs), parents are advised to:

  • Erect fencing at least four feet high with a self-latching gate and keep it locked at all times unless an adult is present.
  • Watch children in or near the water at all times, and not socialize, read or sleep.
  • Learn to swim and provide swimming lessons to their children from an early age.
  • Know how to respond to an emergency: how to use rescue equipment, call 911 and perform CPR.

Use Your Head!

Proper-fitting helmets save lives. When it comes to biking, skating or skiing, a helmet that fits right can help prevent head injuries.

Get the right helmet fit.

A helmet should be adjusted each time you use it. Learn how to correctly fit a bike helmet.

  • Position the helmet: The helmet should fit level to the head and be within two fingers from the eyebrow.
  • Adjust the Straps: The straps should be adjusted to make a “V” just under and slightly in front of the ears.
  • Adjust the chin straps: Buckle the helmet, no more than two fingers should fit between the strap and the chin.
  • Test the fit: Open your mouth wide...a big yawn! The helmet should pull down on the head. Shake your head “yes” & “no”, the helmet should not move.

Is Your Child’s Playground Safe?

Playground safety at Sacred Heart Children's Medical Center in Spokane, WA.Home, school and neighborhood playgrounds are a great place for kids to get exercise and socialize with other children.

But they can be dangerous places, too. Each year, around 480,000 injuries occurred at playgrounds.

That’s why parents should inspect all playgrounds used by their children, including playgrounds in their own yards, to make sure they are as safe as possible.

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Keep debris such as rocks, roots or garbage away from the play area.
  • Look for broken, missing or loose guards, hand rails, steps and ladder rungs. Make sure any platforms or walkways have barriers (like a guard rail) to prevent falls.
  • Check for splinters or rotten wood, cracked plastic, rust, missing or damaged supports, anchors or footings, and other signs of deterioration.
  • No more than two swing seats should be suspended from a swing structure.
  • There should be plenty of soft material under and around play equipment— hardwood chips, mulch, pea gravel and sand are good options —and it should be at least 9 inches deep. Inspect for tree roots or rocks that could cause a child to trip
  • Allow plenty of space between play equipment.
  • Be aware that a child can get his or her head stuck in a space as small as 3½ inches.
  • Make sure your kids know not to stand behind, or in front of another child who is swinging.

Slip Into Snow Sports

Learn how to have fun, AND stay safe this winter, with winter safety tips from Providence.Winter was made for fun in the snow. Whether you're heading for the mountain to ski or just taking your sled to the hill, you can enjoy a great day out and get some exercise at the same time.

If you're just starting out, make sure to learn about your chosen sport and the risks involved. When it comes to snow-sport safety, “Our main concern is head trauma,” says Chris Rocholl, MD, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. “Kids who ski or toboggan through trees are at risk for a concussion.”

Skiers and snowboarders should opt for helmets to stay safe. The rest of your winter sports outfit should include many layers, gloves or mittens and a hat so you can stay warm no matter which of these sports you take part in:

  • Alpine skiing - Downhill skiing works your leg muscles, so it's a good idea to get in shape before you ski. Observe the rules of the slopes and know when to yield to oncoming skiers.

  • Cross-country skiing - The total body workout of cross county skiing burns an average of 650 calories per hour. Before you put on your skis (longer and narrower than the alpine version), make sure to stretch your arms and legs.

  • Snowboarding - The number of snowboarders is climbing; now 5.6 million people cruise the slopes. Wrist injuries are the most common snowboarding risk, so consider wrist guards. If you're just starting out, get a lesson with a qualified instructor at the ski area.

  • Sledding - While you may view sledding as a child's pastime, this fun trip outside can also raise adult heart rates. Walking back up a hill is great exercise, and you get the reward of a sled run - plus a great time with your family or friends.

  • Snow Toys - Exciting snow toys let anyone have a good time on the slopes. Many ski mountains offer snow tubing—it's like sledding with a lift. Some mountains rent snow bikes and scooters that can put you on the slopes in new ways.