2 Dangerous Car Seat Mistakes and Solutions
Car seat mistakes can have very serious consequences. Misuse of a car seat can injure your child, or fail to keep them safe in the event of a crash. A lot goes into finding the right car seat for your child. With so many factors to consider (including age, weight and height of the child, type and brand of a car seat, cost of the car seat, etc.) it can be easy to forget critical factors. Here are two common mistakes that certified technicians often find when speaking with parents. Mistake #1: Getting a used car seat without knowing its history Why: A used or secondhand car seat can pose several factors that can compromise its safety in a crash. First, car seats expire six to ten years after their date of manufacture, so refer to the car seat's manual for recommended car seat longevity. The safety mechanisms can be compromised if a car seat has been in a crash. So it's crucial to replace your car seat following a collision. Solution: Only use a car seat if you know its history. A new car seat is your best bet, as they are up to date on the latest safety guidelines, and safety mechanisms are up to standard. However, if you are considering a used car seat for your child, please ensure the following: The car seat has never been in a car crash. The car seat isn't expired or outside the manufacturer's recommended longevity. It comes with the car seat manual and has all safety labels, including manufacture date, model number, and use instructions and restrictions. The car seat or any of its parts have not been recalled. The overall state and integrity of the car seat and its parts are undamaged. The carseat or any of its parts have not been recalled and are present and in working order.
How to Talk to Your Children About Vaping
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), e-cigarette use isn’t just up among adults, but it has also tripled in usage for teens. Dr. Jose Cucalon Calderon, a Pediatrics Physician at Renown Health and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, provides helpful insight into e-cigarettes and the dangers it poses to kids and teens. What Are E-Cigarettes? E-cigarettes are electronic nicotine delivery devices. e-cigarettes use liquid nicotine as an alternative to traditional smoked cigarettes. e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is an addictive substance with known toxic side effects that, when released in very high doses, that can have health consequences and causes addiction. Nicotine is described as “toxic,” but the most "toxic" part of e-cigarettes' is everything else within the E-juice. Nicotine mainly keeps people coming back for more. According to the CDC, e-cigarettes are also advertised using the same themes and tactics that have been shown to increase youth use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes. In 2021, approximately 76% of students reported exposure to tobacco product marketing through traditional sources, and approximately 74% of students who used social media had seen e-cigarette–related content. What Does This Mean for the Health My Teen? We know that nicotine can affect brain development in kids and teens, so it is important to educate your teen on the risks of exposure. If you have young children in the home, it is important to be vigilant as well. One teaspoonful of liquid nicotine can be fatal for a young child. How Do I Monitor My Teen for E-Cigarette Use? Monitoring your children can be tricky for parents. E-cigarettes can be harder to detect, unlike traditional cigarettes that were easy to detect by smell and residual odor. E-cigarette use, or “vaping,” is often associated with a dry cough or chronic throat/mouth irritation. Overall, increasing research shows strong links between mental health conditions and posterior combustible tobacco use along with increased risk of marijuana use. Nicotine is addictive, but it does not cause altered mental status like the other drugs of abuse can. All parents are strongly encouraged to talk to their children about the potential dangers of e-cigarettes. What are the health risks of vaping? Vaping devices have been on the market for a relatively short period of time, with evidence-based health effects and complications still being discovered. Vaping effects poses many harmful risks to children and teens. The risks of vaping include: Chest pain Difficulty breathing Dizziness Headaches Impaired response to infection in the airway Inflammatory problems of the airway Nausea Nicotine addiction Seizures Vomiting For more information for both parents and teens about quitting smoking or vaping, you can click here. Parents can also use this tip sheet from the U.S. Surgeon General to talk to their child about vaping. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration free national helpline number is 1-800-662-4357 (HELP). It is available 24/7, 365 days a year offering confidential treatment referral and information (in English and Spanish). If you or someone you know is facing a substance (or mental health) problem, please reach out to them.
Know Before You Go
Grab your skis, goggles, coat – and don’t forget that helmet. Skiing and snowboarding are fun activities for all ages but come with the risk of injury. Read on for tips to make it a safe day on the mountain. Daydreaming about your next trip to the slopes? We talked to Jared Worchel, DO, about his top tips for gearing up. Get the Gear Before you head out to ski or snowboard, make sure you have all your gear ready and in good condition. Everything should fit correctly so that it keeps you as safe as possible. Wearing proper gear will also help keep you warm. Items to check on before you head out include: Boots Bindings Goggles Poles Helmet Outwear Gloves Pack water and snacks in case the drive takes longer than you except due to weather or traffic. You’ll also want to make sure that your cell phone is fully charged before you head out in case you need to contact friends of staff for help while on the mountain. Helmet, Helmet, Helmet Having a helmet that fits correctly is the most important thing you can do to prepare for a safe day on the mountain. According to a National Ski Areas Association study, helmet use has increased over the last 15 years, with 80 percent of skiers and snowboarders using helmets. Schubert would like to see that number increase to 100 percent. “If you have a head injury it could take you out for the rest of your life,” Dr. Worchel said. “The most important things to think about when fitting a helmet are making sure that it really fits you appropriately. You want to go into a store and try on as many different helmets as they have available. I know it’s tempting to buy one online, but you’re never going to know if it fits correctly.” If you are in an accident, your helmet’s fit can help protect you. Dr. Worchel has some tips on fitting: A helmet should fit low and snug over the head. Make sure that the helmet doesn’t wiggle or feel loose. Look for a model that has adjustability in the back, which will help you make sure it fits snugly. F ind a helmet with a chin strap that will help it stay in place throughout the day.
Top Safe Sleep Tips for Your Baby
Becoming a parent for the first time means lots of new unknowns – from learning to breastfeed and swaddle to buckling your newborn into the car seat for the first time. But when it comes to putting them to bed safely, it’s important to remember it really can mean life or death. It’s something we’re taught before our little one is even here: the correct way to put your baby to bed safely. Sadly though, the number of infant deaths continues to climb. The main culprit of sleep-related infant death continues to be all the items parents leave in the crib with their babies. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among babies each year. “The best advice is ‘bare is best.’ Keep your infant’s sleep space clutter free – no blankets, bumpers, toys or pillows,” said Karen Wagner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Follow the ABCs for Safe Sleep Remembering the ABCs is an easy way to remember how to put your little one to bed safely. A: Alone No blankets, toys or pillows. “We do recommend using a sleep sack as a blanket alternative,” said Karen. “It prevents the risk of suffocation and keeps your baby warm.” Keep in mind, the greatest risk for suffocation happens when babies are under 1 year of age, so it’s best to save the toys, blankets and pillows for their “big kid bed,” or around 18 months old. B: Back The slogan “back is best” is another good reminder. Keeping your baby on their back until they’re old enough to rollover helps reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). C: Crib It is best to have your baby sleep alone in their crib. While co-sleeping may be enticing, especially after a late-night feed, it increases the risks of possible suffocation. However, “having your child in your room, in their own crib or bassinet, is protective for SIDS,” Karen said. “In fact, we think co-rooming reduces SIDS risk by almost 50 percent.” Co-rooming allows parents to keep new babies in close reach and helps parents oversee their baby’s sleep, just in case something happens.
What Every Parent Needs to Know About SIDS
Although the exact cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is unknown, there are steps parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk. Here's what every parent needs to know. SIDS is the leading cause of death in the country in infants in their first year of life. However, the exact cause of SIDS still remains a mystery, though it is often attributed to unsafe sleeping practices. Karen Wagner, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Renown Health answers some of the most commonly asked SIDS questions. Protecting Babies from SIDS: Always place babies on their backs when putting them to sleep for naps and at night. Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet. Share your room – not your bed – with your baby. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding, out of your baby's sleep area. Do not smoke during pregnancy or around the baby; these are strong risk factors for SIDS. The risk of SIDS is even greater when a baby shares a bed with a smoker. To reduce risk, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby. Your SIDS Questions Answered: Who's most at risk? Three out of five SIDS victims are boys. African American and Native American infants are twice as prone to the syndrome. Other groups at increased risk include preemies, low-birthweight babies, and infants exposed to cigarette smoke. Is putting my baby down on their back really that important? It's vital. Back-sleeping increases a baby's access to fresh air and makes her less likely to get overheated (another factor linked to SIDS). I put my child to sleep on their back at night, but can I let this rule slide for a short nap? It's not worth the risk. Babies who normally sleep on their back are 18 times more likely to die of SIDS when placed down on their tummy for a snooze. Is side-sleeping safe? No. Studies show that putting a baby down on her side rather than on her back doubles the SIDS risk. It's easier for an infant to roll onto her tummy from her side than from her back. I'm worried about my baby getting cold. Is it safe to cover them with a blanket? Wait until their first birthday. Blankets, pillows, comforters and stuffed toys can hinder your child's breathing; even soft or improperly fitting mattresses can be dangerous. If you're worried that your little one may get chilly, swaddle them in a receiving blanket or use a sleep sack.
Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween
Halloween is around the corner. So while you're prepping pumpkins for carving, putting together creative costumes and coordinating trick-or-treating plans, safety is one more detail to remember. Masks, haunted houses, witches, ghosts and ghouls — it all spells Halloween, and what could be more frighteningly fun, right? For children, however, Halloween can indeed be frightening and not so fun. According to Dr. Kristina Deeter, Physician-in-Chief of Renown Children’s Hospital and Chair of Pediatrics for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, it is common for younger children to express Halloween fears — being afraid of monsters, the dark or really anything out of the norm. “It's normal for children to struggle with separating reality from fantasy,” she explains. For children who fall into this category, the month of October can be traumatizing. Halloween may not come until the end of the month. Still, in the weeks building up to the spookiest night of the year, little ones are bombarded on all sides with decorations — mummies, skeletons, coffins, vampires, you name it. For a child with a blossoming imagination who, as Dr. Deeter said, is still learning to differentiate real from pretend, this can cause additional fears and anxieties. In commemoration of Halloween Safety Month, Dr. Deeter shares safety tips for the spooky holiday from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Dressing Up & Heading Out Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Ensure shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, tangling or coming into contact with flames. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags and baskets for greater visibility. Masks can limit or block eyesight. Instead, consider non-toxic makeup and hats, which should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over the eyes. Test makeup ahead of time on a small patch of skin to test for allergies before full application. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant. If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips. Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as "one size fits all," or "no need to see an eye specialist," obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss. Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost. Carving Pumpkins Leave the carving to the grownups. Have children draw the pumpkin design with markers, but keep knives away. Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended. Prepping Your Home Keep your entryway safe for trick-or-treaters by removing all items from the porch or front yard that a child could trip over, like garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. To ensure visibility, check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Sweep leaves (or snow) from sidewalks and steps. If there are dogs in the home, take steps to ensure they don't jump on trick-or-treaters. Hunting for Treats Young children should always be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Give each child and adult a flashlight (with fresh batteries). If older children are heading out to trick-or-treat alone, plan and review a route you can agree on, as well as a specific time they are supposed to return home. Only visit homes with a lit porch light. Never enter a home or a car for a treat. Notify law enforcement authorities of any suspicious or unlawful activity immediately. Since pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind youngsters to take crosswalk safety precautions. For more key tips regarding Halloween safety for your young trick-or-treaters, visit our partners at Safe Kids Worldwide for a variety of spooky safety resources.
Preventing Heatstroke in Children
The summer is here, and it is time to take action. The heat can be dangerous for kids, so make sure that you are aware of the signs of heatstroke and know how to prevent it. Did you know heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related fatalities in children? “On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.” (Safe Kids Worldwide,” 2022, para.1) Babies are at higher risk for heatstroke than adults, as they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults can. They also do not have the same understanding of how hot the environment is and may not be able to communicate that they need to be taken out of the car. Here are eight simple tips to keep your baby cool in the back seat: In hot weather, it is important to keep your baby cool and hydrated by using a car seat cover or towel over them to reflect the sun's rays. It is important to dress your baby in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs. Make sure that your car is well ventilated and use a towel or blanket to create an air gap between your baby and the seat. This will help with air circulation, as well as provide insulation from hot surfaces. Keep an eye on your baby's skin color. If it starts looking too red or flushed, it may be time to get somewhere cooler. Keep the temperature at a comfortable temperature for you, not for your child. Keep windows cracked open for ventilation and make sure that there is nothing blocking the flow of air from entering or exiting the vehicle. Dress your infant appropriately for their environment with appropriate head and neck coverings, keeping them cool as well as protected from sunburns. Ensure that you have enough fluids on hand to last an hour before getting out of the car or use bottled water if possible. Never leave your child unattended in a car. If you suspect heatstroke in someone, especially a child, take the following measures: Call 911 immediately. Cool the victim – Get the person to a shady area, remove restrictive clothing and cover skin with sheets soaked in ice-water, and place ice packs in the arm pits and groin. Have the victim drink cool fluids, preferably an electrolyte-containing sports drink. Monitor body temperature with a thermometer, but stop cooling efforts after temperature has dropped to 102. Additional Resources: Baby Safe Class This class helps prepare parents for emergencies that may occur in baby’s first year. Along with car seat safety and basic baby proofing, discussion will include prevention and treatment of common injuries.
Transitioning Your Child Out of Their Car Seat
Car seat technicians often find parents are moving their child to their next car seat stage too soon, as they get older. Here are a few reminders of when to transition your child from their booster seat to a seat belt. Moving to a booster seat too soon According to Safe Kids Worldwide, nearly 9 in 10 parents remove children from their booster before they’ve reached the recommended height, weight, or age of their car seat recommendations, which leaves the seat belt in a position on the child that could injure them. If the child is not the proper height, the seat belt can rise up on the belly, instead of the hips where it’s supposed to sit, which can lead to spinal cord damage or whiplash in the event of a car crash. Solution: You can switch from a car seat to a booster seat when your child has topped the weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer; typically 40 to 80 pounds (18 to 36 kilograms). Remember, however, that your child is safest remaining in a car seat with a harness for as long as possible. Booster seats must always be used with a lap and shoulder belt — never a lap-only belt. Transitioning to a safety belt too soon Older children need booster seats to help ensure the seat belt stays properly positioned on their body. The lap belt should lie low across the child's hips and pelvis with the shoulder belt crosses the middle of the child's chest and shoulder, so that in the event of a crash, the forces are applied to the hip bones and not the abdomen. If the lap belt is not positioned properly then it could lead to injuries to the spinal cord and abdominal organs. Solution: Most kids can safely use an adult seat belt sometime between ages 8 and 12. Always use a booster seat until the child passes the 6-step test Your child reaches a height of 4 feet, 9 inches (nearly 1.5 meters) Their back is flat against the seat back. Knees bend over the edge of the seat and feet are flat on the floor. The shoulder belt sits on their shoulder and chest (not face or neck.) The lap belt sits low on their hips and touches their upper thighs (not on their stomach.) Your child can sit comfortably this way for the entire trip. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that the back seat is the safest place for children younger than age 13.
Read More About Transitioning Your Child Out of Their Car Seat
Pool Safety: Things To Know About Drowning
The warm weather is here and pools are open. Swimming is a great way to keep your kids cool, occupied and exercised throughout summer, however pools come with their fair share of risks. Before you take your children swimming, check out these pool safety tips. Pool safety is something every parent needs to take more seriously. Why? Because drownings of young children ages one to four have increased in recent years. Unfortunately, drownings are the number one cause of death in this age group - we lose the equivalent of 10 school buses full of children to fatal drownings in the U.S. each year. With warmer temps and hopes of cooling off in a local pool, you can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting your children from the risk of drowning. Children are naturally drawn to water, so parents must be extra aware in order to protect their kids from diving in headfirst. Kris Deeter, MD, pediatric intensive care physician at Renown Children’s Hospital, offers tips to keep your littles safe in the water. Preparing Your Child for the Pool People aren’t born knowing how to swim. This means parents must teach their children about swimming and pool safety if they want them to be safe and confident around water. It can take years to develop these skills, so the key is to start when your children are very young. Here are some ground rules: Teach your child to swim starting at age one. We recommend enrolling your toddler in swim classes; there are several organizations in the Reno-Tahoe area that offer baby and toddler swim classes. Keep your kids away from plastic and inflatable pools - they’re easy for children to fall or climb into and drown. They’re also a breeding ground for bacteria. Floaties and water wings are not safe! They are not a safe substitute or “crutch” for learning how to swim and they can lead to drowning if the child is using them incorrectly or while unsupervised. Stay within arm’s reach of babies and toddlers when at the pool. Supervision alone is not enough – you must be within arm’s reach in case they fall in and need to be rescued quickly. Learn child and infant CPR. If a drowning does occur, the best course of action is to call 911, get the child onto dry land and conduct CPR until breathing is restored or the EMTs arrive. Pool Parties: A Risk for Drowning? Surprisingly, pool parties, a common summer pastime, actually increase the risk of drowning incidents. Although responsible adults are usually at pool parties, distractions ranging from alcohol to pool toys can actually make it easier for drownings to occur unnoticed. Does this mean you should RSVP “no” to the next pool party your child is invited to? Not if you follow the pool safety tips below: Attend the party with your child so you can supervise them while they swim. Remove unused floaties and toys from the pool. They can obscure visibility, making it difficult to see a child in the pool. Don’t drink alcohol while supervising a pool party. Assign an adult “water watcher” to pay constant attention to children in the pool. Pool Safety Precautions for Homeowners If you own a pool, there are several more precautions to ensure the safety of your children. Even if your kids are strong swimmers who have mastered the rules of pool safety, there may be neighbors or friends who are younger and more vulnerable to drowning. You must undertake precautions for these children too. Some of these may seem time-consuming or expensive, but they are worth it to prevent a child from a fatal drowning. To keep your pool or spa safe, please: Cover your pool or spa when not in use. Choose a pool or spa cover with safety features like locks, safety sensors or alarms. Fence in your pool or spa area. The fence should be locked and at least four feet tall. Do not leave toys in the pool area as these may attract children.
Get to Know the Types of Car Seats
Parents often struggle with installing and choosing car seats for their children. Picking out a car seat for your child is a never-ending battle. Safe Kids Washoe County has made it simple for you to understand the types of car seats that will work for your child. Types of Car Seats Rear-Facing Only Seat. Your baby's first car seat is often used from 5 to 40 pounds. People usually buy this type of seat because it is portable. Convertible Car Seat. This seat is larger and stays in the car; it may be rear-facing until your child is two years or more. After that, it can change to a forward-facing seat. Forward-facing-only car seat. This type of seat is used in one direction and has a 5-point harness and top tether. Combination seat. This is a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness and top tether and can change into a booster seat when you remove the harness. 3-in-1 car seat. This seat also stays in the car. You can use it rear-facing, forward-facing, and then later, as a booster seat. Booster seat. It boosts the child for a safer and more comfortable fit of the adult seat belt. Make sure your child has outgrown the weight or height limits allowed in the forward-facing car seat. The seat belt must lie flat across your child's chest, on the bony part of the shoulder, and low on the hips or upper thighs. Most children will be between the ages of 8 to 12 years old before they are ready for the seat belt alone. Have a trained car seat technician check your installation Why: 3 out of 4 car seats are installed improperly, with some studies show that the misuse rate is 90%, with the average car seat having three mistakes. Solution: Ensuring that your child's car seat is installed correctly by a certified car seat technician will ensure your child's safety.