Walk to school safely with these 10 tips

October is Walk to School Month

By Jacqueline Khalaf, RN
Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator
Trauma Department, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Walking to and from school can be great exercise for children of all ages. If you’re lucky enough to live only a few blocks from your child’s school, here are a few tips to consider to make sure your child is safe when walking to and from school:

  1. Walk on sidewalks when possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  2. Children under 10 should not cross the street without an adult.
  3. Don’t be distracted by phones and other devices. Eyes up!
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for loose animals, strangers, and traffic.
  5. Always cross as crosswalks. Don’t run. You are more likely to fall if you are running.
  6. Look left-right-left and ensure vehicles stop at crosswalks before you cross the street.
  7. Make eye contact and wave to the motorist. If they wave back, this indicates they have seen you.
  8. Consider your second-edge — sometimes crossing happens mid-block instead of at crosswalks, such as between two parked cars. Make sure to stop at the edge of the vehicle (second edge) to look left-right-left again so that you see approaching traffic and drivers see you.
  9. Hold the hands of little ones when crossing the street. Young children may play or run, not understanding the dangers of crossing the street.
  10. Make sure children are visible using reflective equipment, lights, or wearing bright colors when it is darker outside.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide. (2016). Safety Tips. Retrieved from https:/www.safekids.org/safetytips.

 

Is your child’s car seat the right fit?

By Jacqueline Khalaf, RN
Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator
Trauma Department, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician

Child Passenger Safety Week is acknowledged in September. Here are some tips to keep kids properly restrained in vehicles.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety:
All children younger than eight years old, unless taller than 4’ 9”, are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat system MUST be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Talking to your child about tragedy

Raising three little girls is no easy task, and I spend countless hours preparing them for issues that may arise in their worlds.  By far, one of the most painful things I have ever had to teach my daughter was what to do in the event of an active shooter in her school in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

As our country reels from yet another school shooting, many families are having difficulty finding the right words to explain what this means for their children. What you tell your children and how much you tell children can be challenging to navigate, particularly because you are likely not the only source of information for them. Depending on their age, they may be processing information from family, friends and neighbors; the news, including TV, newspapers, and magazines; and the internet, which often displays false information that is perpetuated by social media. However, you must remember that you will always be their favored and most trusted source. So what, and how, should you tell your children?

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Today’s tobacco not a safe alternative

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Did you know that nine out of ten smokers start smoking before the age of 18? Consequently, tobacco prevention is a pediatrician’s problem to tackle.  Fortunately, over the past several decades, tobacco use has declined, primarily because of regulations put in place to bar the industry from marketing to children and youth.

Enter vaping – the tobacco industry’s latest attempt to hook your child. Overall, tobacco use among teens has declined since the 1970s; however, a recent study published in Pediatrics revealed that 13.7 percent of 12th grade students in Southern California currently smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes compared to 9.9 percent in 2004 (before e-cigarettes were available).  E-cigarettes are a type of electronic smoking device available in a variety of colors, sizes, and flavors (eg. vanilla, chocolate) and are advertised to be a “safer” form of tobacco.

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How to keep your baby safe from choking

By Dr. Farooq Mirza
Emergency Department
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Around eight to nine months of age, infants begin exploring their environment by putting almost everything into their mouths. They have to be protected from ingesting dangerous materials. Any hard, smooth food that requires a grinding, chewing motion should not be given to young children.

  • Large chunks of foods such as meat, vegetables, etc., are a choking hazard.
  • All nuts (peanuts), hard candy, grapes, raisins, hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, and corn should not be given to children under four years of age, since the chewing motion is not well established. Even thick peanut butter poses a choking hazard for infants.
  • Small items such as coins, buttons, pins, paper clips, etc., should be kept out of reach of young children
  • Un-inflated balloons should not be allowed around children. Balloons and plastic bags or wrap are designed to be airtight. If they are placed over the mouth and nose or are inhaled, they may make a tight seal and smother the child. If an inflated balloon bursts, the pieces should be disposed of immediately.
  • While most toys designed for children under three years are safe, the toys of older siblings pose a danger to their younger brothers and sisters. Take care to ensure that young children do not have access to toys designed for older children.

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Grant helps provide children with safety helmets

By Dr. Joel S. Blumberg
Director, Pediatric Continuity of Care Clinic
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

With the support of the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Pediatric Society, the Pediatric Primary Care Clinic of The Children’s Hospital San Antonio has acquired a limited number of bicycle helmets to distribute to patients. Texas Medical Association’s Hard Hats for Little Heads program promotes exercise and teaches children and their parents about the importance of wearing a helmet when bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and when riding scooters.

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Be SMART about children and gun safety

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, MPH, FAAP
San Antonio Business Journal’s 2016 Woman of the Year
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Here in Texas we take great pride in our freedoms; freedom, however, isn’t necessarily free: We send our sons and daughters into battle to protect our freedoms; we drive around beautiful and historic downtown San Antonio and are required by law to wear seat belts and secure our children in car seats/booster seats; we choose to own a firearm, which may pose a risk to the children who live in or visit our homes. Every year at least 100 children die in an unintentional shooting. Recent events may have sparked you to think, “What can I do to keep my child safe?”

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Keeping Your Baby Safe: Infant Car Seat Safety

By Jesse Banales, MD
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Congratulations! Your baby has just finished leaving her comfortable, quiet life in the womb, endured a rude awakening through the birth process, and is finally ready to go home. But are you ready? Many parents think they understand the basics of infant car seats but often overlook important details. Below are some common mistakes parents often make when it comes to infant car seats:

Changing the seat to forward-facing too early. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending that infants and toddlers be in rear-facing car safety seats until they are two years old or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. This is based on studies showing that infants in rear-facing seats were much less likely to have serious injuries following a car crash than those in forward-facing seats. As your baby gets bigger, his feet may touch the seat in front of them and that’s OK! If you worry that your baby is uncomfortable, remember that this is your same child who has the flexibility to put his own feet in his mouth with ease.

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