Articles Posted in Child Safety

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Summer is filed with fun and play for children. For some, the bounce house is a great place for children to exercise, move around, and socialize with friends.  The bounce house can also the scene of a serious injury especially for small children and toddlers.  Just because a bounce house is padded and filled with air does not mean that a bounce house is a safe place.

Bounce house play can be a fun time for your children this summer, but repeatedly jumping up and coming down in various ways come with inherent risks. While it is difficult to completely ensure your child’s safety within a bounce house without being over-protective, measures can be taken to minimize safety risks. When buying or renting a bounce house to use for a children’s event check to make sure that the selected bounce house is equipped with safety nets and is set up as instructed by the manufacturer. This includes remembering to securely fashion the bounce house to the ground in order to account for sudden gusts of wind that may topple over the house. While most injuries suffered within bounce houses are not severe, if wind knocks the house airborne with children inside of it, the chance of serious injury skyrockets. Though it may be hard to regulate, keeping the number of children within the bounce house below its maximum capacity further minimizes risk of injury to your child.

Dr. David Foley, medical director of an urgent care centers, states that summer is the season that sees the most “slip, trip, or fall’ injuries. He goes on to state that risk of injury is inevitable in bounce houses due to promoting jumping and falling in different ways. The risk is even greater in these cases as the bounce houses allow for falls from even greater heights, generating more momentum and force as they fall back to ground which can lead to more serious injury. When setting up a bounce house outdoors, check weather reports for rain as a slippery bounce house can be a recipe for disaster, adding more risk to an already dangerous activity. According to doctor Foley the most common injuries that occur within bounce houses are to the limbs. These types of injuries include but are not limited to, twisted ankles, fractured elbows, and in the most serious of cases, head trauma. For events in which parents plan to use a bounce house, assigning supervisors to keep watch over what’s happening within the bounce house can prevent injuries that are results of negligence. See Bounce House Play – Keeping Children Safe.

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Parts-of-the-Eye-300x163Children, especially toddlers and infants, lack safety awareness. Because of this, it is important to provide close supervision of children and take reasonable steps to remove dangerous objects away from the reach of children.  For some children in schools, summer camps, day care centers, and other locations, a moment of inattention combined with a moment of danger can lead to serious and permanent eye injuries.

Summer camps, day cares, and schools contain many  items that could potentially injure your child’s eyes. When at play, children may come across potential hazards such as projectile toys and fake guns such as bb or pellet guns. Reminders to be cautious around these toys can prevent carelessness that may lead to eye injury. In sports involving small moving objects such as balls, pucks, or shuttlecocks, protective eyewear can protect your child’s during play. Be sure to only use protective eyewear that is ASTM F803 approved as the wrong pair of glasses may be more harm than good in the case of an eye injury. Certain items such as laser pointers, especially green laser pointers with shorter wavelengths, can permanently injure a child’s eyesight in a moment’s notice and should remain out of their reach. It is also important to be watchful around the house this summer as many common household items can cause serious eye injury in the hands of an unsupervised child. Paper clips, wire coat hangers, bungee cords, and rubber bands amongst others are examples of items that should be stowed away out of reach of children around the house. Chemicals and cleaners such as bleach should also be in secure spots out of reach to avoid an accidental spill that may end up in the eyes. Whenever performing yardwork, be sure to keep your child away from any flying debris involved (i.e. mowing the lawn). Even when gardening, it is wise to keep children far from and fertilizers or pesticides as they can cause severe damage if dropped into the eyes. Be wary when cooking as the kitchen also holds many an item that can cause injury to the eyes. Certain kitchen utensils such as knives should be kept in child-proof locations and shouldn’t be put down unsupervised. When cooking using hot oils, a grease shield can prevent any splashes from hitting your child in the eyes.

In the event of any eye irritation, a child care provider will need to be cautious in cleaning out their child’s eyes. Before cleaning out the child’s eyes, washing hands can prevent further irritation during the cleaning process. Avoid touching, rubbing, or pressing on the eye itself as the contact can increase irritation to the eyes. According to KidsHealth.org, flushing a child’s eyes with warm water for up to 15 minutes is a good way to try and remove any foreign bodies causing the irritation. If the foreign body still remains after 15 minutes, medical attention may be needed for its removal. Cautious preparation along with quick responses in the event of an incident may be the difference between the child suffering an eye injury so be sure to keep safety in mind throughout your fun summer activities this year!

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Pool-Safety-240x300With a mobile phone or tablet in our hands most of the day, we now live in a world of almost endless distractions. While technology is wonderful and helpful, it also makes certain activities a bit more dangerous for children.  Whenever a child is in or near water, there is a danger or risk of drowning. Adult supervision is key to the safety of children; however, the presence of an adult in the water area is a bit different than the attention of an adult.  If the adult is physically present in the area of the pool or beach, the physical presence may not mean much if the adult is otherwise engaged in the latest text, tweet, or e-mail on the phone or tablet.  Because of this, it is important to have as top of mind awareness the safety needs of the children.

Nearly 7 out of 10 drownings occur while an adult is present. In a life and death situation, people need to be alert and aware of their surroundings. However, the pool presents a myriad of distractions; if a person is swimming in the pool, they can be surrounded by splashing and other people, which could take their attention away from the child they are supposed to be watching. And, even if the watcher is out of the pool, they could be reading a book or looking at their phone at the precise moment they need to step into action and prevent a drowning. But drownings are almost always preventable; in fact, it is the leading preventable cause of death for children under the age of 5. So what steps must one take in order to prevent a child from drowning?

Among the most important preventions one can take is to have a Designated Watcher whose sole purpose is to keep an eye on the people in the pool. These people are reminded to not look at their phones or other distractions and not leave the pool area unless another person replaces them. While a Watcher is the best preventative measure, there are other choices one can make to improve pool safety. Installing a gate around the pool would keep small children from running into the water and drowning before an adult can intervene. It also helps to have a number of flotation devices, like pool noodles or kickboards, that can be thrown into the pool for a child to grab onto. If these measures are implemented, children will be markedly more safe in the pool this summer.

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Hospital-Injuries-from-Fall-300x231There is a dangerous location in homes and day care centers that may not be so obvious. The location involves soft furniture like a sofa or bed. An infant or toddler left on a bed or sofa can suffer a fall, which can result in head injuries, extremity injuries and other injuries. The statistics from such injuries are quite alarming. Unfortunately, many parents, babysitters, and child care providers do not recognize the dangers of a fall from soft furniture until there is an injury or incident.

Newly released statistics demonstrate that falls from seemingly safe, soft furniture—like couches and beds—have now become the number one cause of injury for children ages four and under in the United States. Falls from soft furniture also present the leading cause of trauma for infants in the United States. These statistics, originally presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ annual conference this year, come from an aggregation of data from emergency rooms over the past decade. Analysis of these statistics reveals that injuries from soft furniture falls occur at more than double the rate of the second leading cause of injury to children younger than five years old—stairs. Analysis also indicates that boys tend to sustain these injuries more frequently than girls and that younger children present a greater risk of injury than older children.

Despite these alarming statistics, precautions can help reduce the rates of these injuries. Kids Health, a division of Nemours Children’s Hospital, recommends various techniques to reduce the likelihood of a child sustaining injuries from beds and sofas. These recommendations include: never leaving children unattended on soft furniture, removing children from soft furniture if one must leave for even a moment, holding children while on soft furniture if one uses a phone or another object that may distract from complete supervision, implementing bed rails, and teaching children how to properly climb on and off of soft furniture safely once they reach an appropriate age to learn this. Adults should also learn CPR and keep a first aid kit handy, just in case a child falls and sustains injuries. See Falls from Soft Furniture – Safety Precautions. 

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School-Bus-Safety-300x126In Georgia and other states, there is a daily weekday routine that all drivers should be well aware of – children crossing the street prior to loading a school bus OR after unloading from a school bus. Most buses are a bright yellow color with stop signal arms and flashing lights. Despite the obvious visual presence of a school bus, school bus zones, street signage, and traffic signals, there are still pedestrian accidents and school bus accidents that cause serious injuries to children. Tragically, some children die as a result of these incidents.

A recent accident in Georgia demonstrates the unfortunate reality of these tragedies. News reports indicate that one child died and another child sustained serious injuries when a car hit them as they crossed a road to board their school bus. It was reported that the car hit the two brothers because the driver attempted to pass their idling school bus even though the school bus had its stop signs out.  It was reported that the driver had a suspended license.

Unfortunately, incidents of this nature occur all too frequently. According to statistics released by Stanford Children’s Hospital, twenty-four percent of all school bus injuries occur when students enter or exit a school bus. Additionally, the ten-foot radius around a school bus constitutes a “danger zone.” In the danger zone, children are two times more likely to die than they are likely to die in a traffic accident on the school bus. Thus, it is more dangerous for a child to be near a school bus than it is for them to ride a school bus. See Stanford Children’s Hospital – How Safe Is School Bus Travel. 

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 By David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer
Boy-Jumping-227x300There are a number of businesses in communities that not only anticipate that children will visit but encourage children to visit.  However, these same businesses fail to put safety precautions, rules, protocols, and staffing in place for the protection of the children who visit the trampoline park.  As a result, children are often injured and required medical care.  If a child is injured as a result of the staff of a trampoline park, a legal case or claim can be pursued on behalf of the injured child.
It has been reported that children under the age of 6 years old are at the highest risk of injury than other children and adults.  Furthermore, because of coordination issues, many child safety advocates recommend that toddlers stay off on trampolines and especially those with other larger and older children at play.  It is well known that children have poor safety awareness.  Without proper safety precautions and adult supervision, children are often injured at trampoline parks and bounce house locations.
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By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Crayons-175x300Working parents rely upon day care centers so that the family can be supported and the child can be properly cared for during the work day.  Many day care centers do an excellent job of educating, supervising, and caring for the children enrolled in the child care program.  Other daycare centers, however, cut corners and end up harming the children that they are responsible for supervising.  It is certainly unfortunate and tragic in many cases when a child suffers personal injuries in a day care center.  While government monitoring and regulation can help weed out and close down bad day care centers, it is impossible for any form of governmental regulation to prevent all injuries from taking place.

One article mentioned that a single state had 115 instances where day care centers were not meeting the minimum child to staff ratios, thereby leaving young children unattended and increasing the likelihood of harm. See Mississippi Increases Oversight of Day Care Centers. Many day care centers are underfunded and simply cannot afford to maintain the appropriate number of employees to adequately supervise the number of children at the center. This problem is very serious for young children of all ages. Infants need constant supervision to prevent accidents such as rolling off of changing tables or swallowing small objects, and toddlers need constant supervision to ensure that they are learning how to share and play well with others as well as to prevent them from injuring themselves or others or trying to run away.

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By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Skateboards-300x249Let’s face it. There is never a good time for a child to be injured.  As parents, we work tirelessly to provide for our children and keep them safe.  Unfortunately, situations, incidents, and accidents take place that lead to or cause personal injuries to children.  Some incidents are foreseeable and some are not.  Some are preventable and some are not. For instance, if a child is a passenger in a motor vehicle that is rear ended, there typically is nothing that could have been done to prevent the accident from taking place in most situations.  There are other injuries that take place during the holiday season that may be prevented or lessened through better supervision and the implementation of safety measures.

Many children are injured during the holidays after receiving new toys that require balance that they have yet to obtain. To avoid this, children must have appropriate supervision when playing with their new toys. In addition to lack of supervision with new toys, some toys may also have manufacturing or design defects that can cause injuries to a child.  In addition, injuries during the holidays occur because there are more people on the roads due to holiday travel. It is important to have properly installed car seats and booster seats to minimize the risk of injury in an accident, it is also important to have the proper equipment for traveling in harsh weather conditions such as ice and snow. However, even with these safety measures, some accidents are unavoidable and require legal guidance. Yet another reason that injuries occur during the holidays is an increase in alcohol consumption due to holiday festivities such as New Year’s Eve.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

book4In Tennessee and other States, parents rely upon bus transporation for their children during the school year. Most bus rides to and from school are quite uneventful which is a good thing. There are days in which a school bus accident results in serious personal injury and even death to innocent children riding a school bus. From a legal standpoint, a school bus accident case can be quite complex. If a public or government entity is involved, there can be procedures to go through and caps or limits on the amount of damages that can be recovered. In addition, a school bus crash often involves multiple victims and families who may be arguably competing for a limited pool of money or insurance. It was recently reported that there was a deadly school bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In multiple media outlets, the crash involved a single school bus that turned over on its side after hitting a tree. There were 35 students on the bus with 23 individuals transported to the hospital for medical care. Tragically, initial reports indicated that there were 6 fatalities / deaths resulting from this school bus crash. Due to the nature of the crash, serious personal injuries, and deaths, local and state police officials will conduct a detailed investigation to determine the cause, manner, mechanism, and preventability of this Tennessee school bus crash.

In the State of Tennessee and other states, government entities are protected some extent from lawsuits and personal injury claims. The manner in which a government entity can be sued is typically proscribed by statute. In Tennessee, a claim or case can be pursued against a government entity for the negligent driving of an employee, official, or agent of the government. While a claim or case can be pursued, there are caps or limits to recovery in Tennessee. An individual or surviving family member can recover up to $300,000 incident; however, there is an aggregate cap of $700,000 per incident. As such, the amount that a government entity can be held liable for in a school bus crash in Tennessee can be quite limited if there are more than a couple of claims. Certainly, the financial recovery in a wrongful death case against a private entity or individual can easily exceed the $300,000 as provided in Tennessee law.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Toy Train.001In Utah and other states, day care centers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe educational environment for the children enrolled in the program.  It is important that the day care center follow all licensing requirements and have trained staff in place to meet the needs of the children. Supervision  and attentiveness are vital to the safety and welfare of the children.  The level of supervision will depend on the type of facility, number of children, age of the children, special needs of the children, time of the day, activity and other factors.  There are dangers lurking at all times that an infant or toddler is being cared for in a day care center. It is vital for staff members to be aware of the dangers and remove or prevent all such dangerous situations to the best of the ability and foresight of the day care center.

A recent tragedy was reported in at a West Jordan, Utah day care center.  It as reported that a toddler – Leonardo “Leo” Sanchez – crawled under a bean bag and ultimately suffocated.  A seemingly simple object – a bean bag chair – turned out to be a very dangerous object in a day care center for a small child like Leo Sanchez.  It is well known that small children are curious and will crawl into or go into areas which can be quite dangerous.  Another dangerous situation or object for a toddler or infant in a day care center is an unanchored dresser or TV stand.  There have been a number of reports of children being injured or even dying as a result of a dresser, TV stand, or TV that has fallen over on top of a child.  Sleeping and napping time can also present dangers as well to infants.  A stuffed animal or blanket can cause a child to suffocate during this otherwise seemingly safe part of a day care center.