Possible Energy Drink Ban

cansThe American Medical Association may recommend a ban of sales and advertising of “high-energy/stimulant drinks” to children and adolescents under the age of 18. As we have warned readers before, energy drinks can be especially dangerous to children.

During a debate this weekend in Chicago, The AMA’s House of Delegates, its principle policy-making body, heard committee testimony urging the AMA to support the ban. In his report, committee chair Dr. Douglas W. Martin noted concerns about the “potential effects of marketing such products to an impressionable, young audience.”

The proposed resolution states, “Studies have shown that high ‘stimulant’ drinks contain excessive amounts of caffeine with one can having the equivalent of up to 50 cups of coffee.  Excessive caffeine can cause adverse effects such as dizziness, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, anxiety, GI disturbances, myocardial infarction and death.”

While the AMA cannot enforce such a ban, it wields considerable influence. A formidable lobbying group, the AMA spent $16.5 million in political contributions in 2012. However, manufacturers of these beverages are unlikely to back down. The popular energy drink, Monster, has said its labeling already warns consumers the drinks are “not recommended for children, pregnant women or people sensitive to caffeine.”

Energy drinks are wildly popular among kids; with some studies estimating 50% of teens regularly consume the beverages. At Elk & Elk, we encourage parents to talk to their children about making healthy choices and the serious health risks associated with energy drinks.


Source:  “AMA May Endorse Ban of High-Energy Drinks” by Bruce Japsen, Forbes, June 14, 2013.

Summer Camp Safety

Don’t take for granted that a summer camp is safe — even if you went there or worked there, or your child went there last year.

Ohio Laws and Regulations for Camps

Ohio summer camps are regulated by the Ohio Department of Health.  A camp is required meet health and safety standards yearly to be licensed. Camps accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA) are automatically approved. Perspective employees must pass a criminal background check, including the Ohio Sex Offender Registry.

Outside of Ohio

States vary significantly in their oversight of summer camp operations. In many states, camps fall under the jurisdiction of the state health department; in others, licensing and permit fees can vary by county or city. For more information on specific regulations and licensing requirements, the American Camp Association has a state by state guide.

Questions to Ask

While most kids return safe and sound from summer camp, take time to ask plenty of questions. You may have other questions relating to specific requirements your child may have, such as medications, allergies, or special needs.

  • Are you licensed by the state?
  • Are you accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA)?
  • Do you conduct interviews and reference checks on all employees (including teen counselors)?
  • Are criminal background checks performed on all your employees?
  • What type of training do you offer your staff? (Including first-aid/CPR)
  • How do you screen for possible sex offenders? (State/national registries)
  • What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of inappropriate touching and sexual abuse at your camp?
  • How do you address bullying at camp?
  • How are water-related activities supervised?
  • What are your policies on vehicle use? Who will be driving? What about seatbelts?
  • Are the cabins safe? Are safety rails used for the top bed of a bunk bed?
  • What are your discipline policies?
  • Have there been serious injuries/deaths at this camp? (Find out what happened what the camp did in response.)

While asking these questions cannot guarantee a child’s safety, we hope that it will enable you to make a more informed decision concerning the camp to which you will entrust your child.

Be safe and have a great summer!


Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: Parents must make sure kids are properly restrained

A new study found that most children are not properly restrained when they ride in vehicles. The Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge all parents to make sure that their children are properly restrained every time they ride in a vehicle.

One of the most important jobs for any parent is to keep their children safe. A study released this week said that many parents may be failing to do just that each time they get in a vehicle.

The study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that the majority of U.S. kids do not sit safely in cars, either because they are not properly restrained in car seats or booster seats, or because they sit in the front seat.

Researchers at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, analyzed data from past studies that tracked children’s seating in cars at public sites such as restaurants, child care centers and gas stations. They observed nearly 22,000 children and found that only 3 percent of children ages 1-3 who were restrained were sitting in a proper, rear-facing car seat. And only 10 percent of 8- to 10-year-old children were properly restrained in a booster seat or car seat.

Some experts say confusion about child seat laws may be partially to blame. Child seat laws vary from state to state, and most state laws aren’t as strict as the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Under current Ohio law:

–          Infants should ride rear-facing in an infant-only or convertible seat until they are at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds.

–          Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat.

–          Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 57 inches tall, must use a booster seat

The latest AAP recommendations say that until age 2, children should sit in rear-facing seats, and children over 2 should sit in front-facing seats with harnesses until their weight and height exceeds the car seat’s capacity. Then, a booster seat should still be used until a child is 57 inches tall – the average height for an 11-year-old. They recommend that children shouldn’t sit in the front seat until they’re 13. Click here to read more from the AAP on child seat safety.

Common mistakes included that children over age 7 were seldom seated in a booster seat (only 2 percent of kids used a booster seat), and that by ages 8 to 10, 25 percent of kids were already sitting in the front seat.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children older than 3 and more than 140,000 children go to emergency rooms annually as a result of car accidents. But properly seating a child in a car seat or booster seat greatly reduces the risk of injury or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years. According to researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts.

The personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge all parents, grandparents or anyone else who transports children to make sure that they follow all laws and guidelines for properly restraining children every time they get in the car. It is up to each parent to decide whether they want to just follow the restrictions enforced by law, or if they want to abide by the stricter suggestions from the AAP. Also, make sure you wear your seat belt every time you get in the car. This sets a good example for your children and shows that you are concerned about and value safety.

Don’t let your child become a statistic.