Being stuck behind a school bus while rushing to work can be frustrating, but school bus safety is more important than shaving a few minutes off your commute time.
From 2007 to 2016, there were 1,282 people of all ages killed in school transportation-related crashes—an average of 128 fatalities per year. Bus drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers on the road, all must obey bus safety rules. In Ohio, drivers must stop at least 10 feet away from a stopped school bus to allow passengers to safely enter or exit the bus. Continue reading “When is it safe to pass a school bus in Ohio?”
School officials have no problem justifying a delay or cancellation when roads are covered in snow or ice, but making the decision to cancel when low wind chill values are the issue at hand can be much harder. While some children are cozy in the back of a parent’s vehicle during their commute, many of their peers walk to school or a bus stop each day. This contrast in circumstances raises a question commonly debated by both parents and administrators: how cold is too cold for school? Continue reading “Too Cold for School?”
In recent months, numerous parents watched a shocking viral video of a 2-year-old Utah boy rescuing his twin brother, who was pinned under a fallen dresser. Others read about IKEA’s $50 million settlement with the families of three toddlers who were killed in tip-over incidents involving furniture made by the company.
If you’re a Pinterest addict or frequently browse DIY sites, you’ve probably come across instructions for creating Halloween candy buckets out of laundry pod containers. Fluorescent orange Tide PODS® tubs can easily be transformed into pumpkins, and others can be used to construct a child’s favorite movie character or unique costume accessory.
While the appeal of a convenient and cost-effective alternative to purchasing a candy bucket is understandable, teaching young children to associate laundry pod containers with candy or toys could have very dangerous consequences.
Laundry detergent pods have made headlines in recent years following reports of accidental poisonings involving young children. Despite various PSAs and safety notices warning parents of the dangers, nearly 12,600 incidents of laundry pod exposure involving young children were reported to poison centers across the country in 2015.
Ingestion of laundry pods can result in excessive vomiting, difficulty breathing, severe respiratory distress, coma or even death. A child could also suffer burns and other injuries to their skin or eyes if a pod breaks open or leaks.
The concentrated detergent used in laundry pods poses much greater risks than regular detergents, and to children the pods themselves can resemble candy or toys. Many manufacturers have switched to brightly colored, opaque packaging to help conceal the contents of the tubs, and some have taken additional preventative measures by adding child-resistant latches.
Even if you take precaution and store laundry pods correctly in your home, you cannot guarantee that relatives, caretakers or parents of your child’s friends will do the same. To avoid reinforcing the dangerous association between the containers and candy or toys, laundry pod tubs should not be repurposed to hold those items at any point during the year. In general, it’s not a good idea to store food of any kind in a detergent container (even if it has been washed) due to contamination risks.
If you believe your child may have ingested or been exposed to a laundry pod, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
Do you know which type of car seat would keep your child safest in a crash?
When used properly, car seats greatly reduce a child’s risk of being killed in a motor vehicle accident. However, nearly half of car and booster seats are not used or installed correctly. Keep your little ones safe on the road by following these car seat safety tips.
3 Car Seat Safety Tips
1. Choose the right car seat.
No child should ride in a forward-facing seat before they turn two. Ideally, children should remain in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow the height and weight limit designated by the seat’s manufacturer. Convertible and all-in-one seats typically offer higher weight and height limits, which can help delay the transition.
Not sure which option is safest for your child? Use this tool to find the right fit. Follow this checklist if you’re purchasing a used car seat or accepting a hand-me-down from a friend or relative.
2. Be sure the seat is correctly installed.
Aside from choosing the wrong type of seat or switching a child to a front-facing model too soon, one of the most common mistakes parents make is failing to use the seat belt or LATCH system properly when securing the car seat. SafeCar.gov, powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, offers comprehensive video instructions on the proper way to install each type of car seat.
3. Register your child’s car seat.
Even if you’ve purchased the safest model and installed it correctly, a defective car seat could still put your child in serious danger. Opt to receive recall notifications for the models of car seats used by your family to minimize the chances of a defect going unnoticed.
Consider having your car seat inspected by a professional to ensure your child is as safe as possible when you hit the road. Contact your local hospital or fire department, find a trained technician in your area or attend an upcoming car seat checkup event.
Summer is quickly drawing to a close, and children of all ages are preparing to head back to school. Many health and safety concerns accompany the start of each school year for parents and students, but with the increase of school buses and teens on the road, the traffic-related risks affect everyone. Follow these tips to stay safe on the road as classes get underway.
School Year Traffic Safety Tips
Pay attention to school zones and cross walks.
Whether you’ll be dropping your children off at school or passing through a school zone on your commute, plan ahead for changes in traffic patterns. Give yourself extra time to accommodate reduced speed limits in these areas, and be especially cautious when driving through cross walks frequently used by students. If possible, find an alternate route to avoid the heavy concentration of traffic altogether. National Safety Council offers more tips for safely navigating school traffic.
Know how to share the road with buses.
Sharing the road with a school bus can be frustrating, especially if you run into one on a route with frequent stops. However, failing to stop for a school bus can result in harsh legal penalties or, worse, the injury of a child. All motorists should know how and when to pass a school bus, what the different types of lights represent and when it is legally required to stop. Brush up on the basics using our guide.
Be aware of increased risks for teen drivers.
Establish rules and expectations with your teen driver before the start of the school year. Passengers are an often-overlooked risk factor for inexperienced drivers, and should be kept to a minimum whenever possible. In Ohio, newly licensed drivers are limited by law to one non-family member passenger. Distracted driving is another major problem area for teens. Set a good example by refraining from texting or talking on the phone behind the wheel.
Help prevent hot car deaths.
Those who have or care for young children will probably be forced to adjust to new schedules and travel routes in the coming weeks, and changes in routine are one of the contributing factors often cited by caretakers who have forgotten a child in a vehicle. Effective Aug. 31, a new Good Samaritan law protects Ohioans who take action to rescue a child from a hot car. Learn about the steps you can take to prevent these tragedies.
Despite these risks, the start of the school year is a very exciting time. Enjoy your final days of summer, and stay safe once classes begin!
Ohio will soon join the ranks of states taking action to prevent hot car deaths. Earlier this summer, Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 215 into law. Effective August 31, good Samaritans who break into a vehicle to save a minor or animal from overheating are protected from civil liability and damages.
It’s a common misconception that hot car deaths are always the result of negligence, and many fail to take proper precautions because they don’t believe they would ever put their child at risk. According to neuroscientist David Diamond, changes in routine, lack of sleep and stress can cause a parent or caregiver to forget a child is in the vehicle with them.
“A universal observation I have made is that each parent’s brain appears to have created the false memory that he or she had brought the child to daycare,” he explains. “Parents went about their routine activities, which even included telling others that they needed to leave work on time to retrieve their child from daycare. Having this ‘false memory’ caused them to be oblivious to the fact that their child had remained in the car all day.”
Diamond claims none of the parents he studied demonstrated an act of willful recklessness or gross negligence.
3 Tips for Preventing Hot Car Deaths
Forgetting your child in the car may seem unfathomable, but it’s easier to do than most parents would like to admit.
Place an item you’ll need to retrieve before moving on with your day in the back seat. Whether it’s your cell phone or your shoe, you will be forced to check for your child before exiting the vehicle.
Request your child’s school or childcare provider contact you as soon as possible if your child is absent without notice.
Keep an old stuffed animal in the car seat, and move it to the passenger seat each time you buckle your child in to serve as a visual reminder.
How to Break into a Vehicle to Rescue a Child or Pet
Disclaimer: The following instructions are only to be used in emergency situations where the life of a child or pet is in immediate danger.
Quickly check for unlocked doors. If you’re unable to gain access to the vehicle, call 911 or recruit a bystander to do so. Under Ohio’s new law, you must take these steps to receive immunity.
Locate a tool you can use to break the car window, such as a tire iron, hammer or screwdriver.
Want to be prepared to take action? Invest in a resqme® Quick Car Escape Tool. The keychain’s powerful steel spike quickly and efficiently cracks a vehicle’s side window. Purchase one online for just $12.95, and $4 from the purchase of certain models is donated to KidsAndCars.
Select the side window furthest from the child to reduce the risk of injuries resulting from shattered glass.
Drive the tool into one of the window’s lower corners until the glass breaks. Do not focus your efforts on the center of the window, as this is the strongest section.
Use the tool to carefully clear any remaining glass shards from the edges of the window, and remove the child from the vehicle.
We hope you will never be in a situation where it is necessary to use this information, but you never know when you may be forced to take action to save a life.
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