You and Your Car: Control Your Surroundings Around Your Children

Close calls on the road can be a scary thing, especially when they involve children. This morning, while dropping my children off at school, I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. After my youngest son got out of the car, he turned to wave, and ran off towards the building at full speed, anxious to meet up with his friends. He wasn’t paying attention, and ran quickly around the back of another car dropping off their own children. He ran right through their blind spot right as they began to back out, coming very close to getting hit by the rear end of the car. I could only look on in horror, and thankfully, he was fine. While I know my son is very aware of the danger of vehicles, and how to act around them, there are still many uncontrollable factors that lead to terrible accidents involving children. However, there are also many factors which are controllable, which if addressed, can prevent thousand of accidents each year. Below is a list of safety ideas to help keep your young children safe in and around vehicles.

Please follow the following recommendations to keep children safe:

1. Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.

2. Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.

3. Teach children that “parked” vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.

4. Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.

5. Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.

6. Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.

7. Hold the child’s hand firmly when leaving the vehicle.

8. Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle and always set the emergency brake.

9. Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.

10. Homeowners should trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.

11. Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

12. Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.

13. Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.

14. Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.

15. Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.

These precautions can save lives.

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DEFECTIVE PARTS PROMPT PLAYWORLD SYSTEMS TO RECALL SWING SETS

Playground Swing Sets by Playworld Systems Inc., of Lewisburg, PA have been voluntarily recalled in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed. These defective products have been distributed throughout the United States.

The clevis bearing on the swing set can wear, causing the swing to detach and the user to fall. Authorized dealers sold the swing sets to day care centers and children’s learning centers nationwide from January 2007 through February 2008 for $770 and $3,100.  So far, only minor injuries have been reported; however, the defect has the potential to cause serious injuries.  Click here for further information on the recall.

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5 Ways To Detect Nursing Home Abuse

While some acts of nursing home abuse are blatantly obvious (such as a loved one kept in an over medicated state for no reason), others are more subtle and may be overlooked by family or friends. If your loved one displays the following characteristics while residing in a nursing home facility, chances are he/she has been the victim of abuse.

  1. Bedsores or Open Wounds– Nursing homes often insist that bedsores are natural and to be expected among frail or immobile residents. Sadly, many families believe this lie and watch helplessly as their loved one experiences pain and sometimes fatal complications as a result of these sores. The truth is that 99% of bedsore cases are the result of abuse and negligence. Nursing homes have strict guidelines that require them to move patients every 2-3 hours and keep their sheets/ garments dry to prevent moisture from irritating the skin. If your loved one has a bedsore, it is likely that this regiment was not followed by the staff. Upon detection of a bedsore, family members should insist that he/she is moved to a medical facility for treatment and contact an attorney to discuss your rights against the nursing home.
  2. Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or fractures– While it is true that accidents may happen among weak and frail nursing home residents, families should be suspicious of any injury sustained at the facility. Sometimes residents are dropped or abused while in a medicated state and therefore do not remember what happened to them. Family members should not be afraid to ask questions about the situation. If the nurse or aid seems to hesitate or offer a vague explanation, chances are your loved one is being mistreated or neglected by the staff.
  3. Torn, Bloody or Stained Garments– If you notice torn, bloody or stained clothes, there is a good chance that your loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is prevalent in nursing homes, especially among residents who are heavily medicated or have short-term memory problems. Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections are other signs of sexual abuse. Again, if you are not given a satisfactory reason for torn or stained garments or what seems to be a genital infection, remove your loved one from the facility immediately and report your suspicions to local authorities.
  4. Refusal or Delays to Visit the Resident– Family members should be immediately suspicious if the nursing home staff stalls before allowing a visit or openly denies a spontaneous visit in the absence of a medical reason. Family members should also be suspicious of any nursing home that will not allow the resident to have a private visit with a family member. This is a way to intimidate or prevent the resident from reporting the staff for any abuse or neglect that they have experienced.
  5. Abrupt changes in the resident’s financial documents or will– While a resident has the right to amend personal documents, family members should be suspicious if these changes happen abruptly or if the resident does not remember making such changes. The resident may have been coerced into changing the documents or giving out account numbers while under the influence of medication or after threats of physical harm.

If your loved one has displayed any of the warning signs listed above, you must act immediately to ensure the situation does not get worse. In the case of neglect, call every three hours to make sure the resident has been moved, groomed, bathed, etc. If you suspect sexual or physical abuse, consider moving the resident to a different facility. On the other hand, if you know for a fact that such abuse is taking place, move the resident immediately and contact an attorney to file suit against the abusive staff member and nursing home facility.

Most importantly, get involved in your loved one’s treatment and daily care. Family members make the best advocates for nursing home residents. When family members visit often and ask questions, staff members will be hesitant to engage in abusive activities or provide substandard care. Residents have rights, and involved family members will ensure that those rights are not violated by predators or careless staff.

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