Keep kids safe from preventable injuries

by Becky GINOS CLEARFIELD—Almost 1 million children die every year from preventable injuries. That is a staggering number for something that could be avoided. That’s why Safe Kids Davis County is trying to get the word out on how families can protect their children. “Child heat stroke is a huge one,” said Kellie Farr, Safe Kids Davis County/injury prevention coordinator for the Davis County Health Department. “There have been 20 deaths already in the U.S. and it’s only July.” That’s higher than in years past, she said. “You should not leave a child in a car – ever. Even though you think a car isn’t hot it can heat up rapidly. A child heats up three to five times faster compared to adults.” She also recommends always keeping car doors locked. “Kids like to play in them. They can get locked in and the heat could rise,” said Farr. “If you ever see a child alone in a car call 911. Take action, don’t just leave. You don’t know how long they’ve been in there. It’s better to be on the safe side.” Before taking off on that road trip, Farr said buckle up and make sure the kids are in car seats. “Seventy-three percent of car seats are not being used correctly,” she said. “We recommend you get your car seat checked. We do it at the DCHD. You can also look at the instructions with the car seat and your car’s manual to see how to install it. People don’t think to look at the car’s manual.” Car seats generally expire in six years. “There should be a sticker on the seat for when it expires,” she said. “If it’s expired bring it to DCHD and we’ll take care of it. When you’re looking to buy a car seat always buy a new one. Don’t go to a garage sale, etc. You don’t know how old it is or if it’s been in a crash.” Water safety is critical too, she said. “Safe Kids is a worldwide organization and you can download a card to put around your neck as a ‘water watcher.’ You are then in charge of watching the kids. Put your phone or book down. We get so distracted these days. Then in 15 minutes you pass it the next mom. It’s a good idea to watch kids around water.” Farr suggests teaching children the difference between swimming in a pool and the open water. “There are undercurrents, undertow, uneven surfaces and changing weather,” she said. “Water noodles and wings are fun but they shouldn’t be used as a floatation device. Be sure to check that you’re using a lifesaving item.” Wearing a helmet is another way to prevent injuries as well. “I’m surprised how many kids and adults don’t do it,” said Farr. “A helmet reduces head injuries by 85 percent and brain injuries by 88 percent. People sometimes get casual but you never know when you might hit a rock on your bike or get in an accident. A helmet can save that pain and struggle.” Always check around the car before backing out to avoid tragedy, she said. “Kids like to play around cars and they don’t realize the danger. Sometimes kids come running back outside and we don’t know they’re there if we’re not paying attention. It’s always good to be really aware.” Summer barbecues are fun but can be hazardous. “When grilling in the summer position it away from foot traffic,” said Farr. “Make sure there is a three foot zone around it and don’t let the kids get too close. Keep matches and lighters away from kids too. Never leave the grill unattended while cooking either.” Preventable injuries are the No. 1 killers of kids. Taking a few simple precautions can save lives. “Parents are the role models,” said Farr. “Buckle your seatbelt, wear a helmet and teach them why it’s important to be safe.” For information about Safe Kids or to get a car seat check contact the DCHD at 801-525-5097.


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