Archive for the ‘centers for disease control and prevention’ Tag

When is it OK for Your Child to Ride in the Front Seat?

Recently, we’ve started letting our oldest child who is 10 years old (and big for his age) ride in the front seat. Our logic was he’s as tall and weighs as much as an adult so why wouldn’t he be OK?

Apparently, our logic isn’t aligned with what the experts say on the matter.

As with so many parenting issues, the question of when to let your child ride in the front seat can be confusing. But I did discover the age most experts agree on and why.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend that children stay in the back seat until age 13.

Dr. Susan Bolton, a pediatrician at Christie Clinic, says the size of the child doesn’t matter. It’s all about their age.

“All children under 13 years of age should ride in the back seat regardless of height and weight,” Bolton said.

Bolton says there are several reasons why. A major factor is younger children haven’t fully developed their bones yet, which increases the risk to vital organs in a motor vehicle crash.

“Although children under age 13 may weigh as much or be as tall as some adults, their hip bones are not fully developed,” Bolton said. “Even if the lap belt starts out in the right place, it can ride up onto the abdomen in children which increases the risk of injury to the abdominal organs in a motor vehicle crash.”

Bolton added the sternum (the breast bone) may not be fully developed until 11-17 years of age, which puts the child at increased risk of injury to the heart and lungs in a crash.

Also, the three items in the vehicle that are responsible for the most injuries during a motor vehicle crash are the windshield, the dashboard and the air bag. Bolton said children properly buckled up in the back seat are not likely to come into contact with these items.

Studies have shown that after the age of 13, the risk of injury to a child in a crash becomes equal to the risk in an adult.

The Illinois Secretary of State guidelines, which are based on AAP recommendations, also say children should be kept in the back seat until they are teenagers.

In fact, the state of Illinois guidelines go on to say 8-12-year-olds who aren’t big enough to fit properly in a seatbelt alone should sit in a booster seat. (The image below shows how a seatbelt should properly fit your child.)

man-in-belt-with-captions

The general consensus says seat belts don’t typically fit children properly until they are at least 57 inches tall (4 feet 9 inches) and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds.

That means small 7th graders should be in a booster seat? I imagine that would be a tough sell for some tweens.

I’m guessing it’s also going to be difficult for my son when I tell him he has to return to the back seat with his little brother and sister.

I’ll just blame it on the experts.

For more information about children’s seatbelt safety laws and guidelines, go to the Secretary of State’s website.

Read more at: http://www.chambanamoms.com/2016/08/19/okay-child-ride-front-seat/

National Weather: Heat Safety Tips

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat, making this the deadliest weather event in Chicago history. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one or more parts of the United States. East of the Rockies, they tend to combine both high temperatures and high humidity, although some of the worst heat waves have been catastrophically dry.
NOAA’s Watch, Warning, and Advisory Products for Extreme Heat
Each National Weather Service Forecast Office issues the following heat-related products as conditions warrant:

Excessive Heat Outlooks: : are issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utility staff, emergency managers and public health officials. See the mean heat index and probability forecasts maps.
Excessive Heat Watches: are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours. A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain. A Watch provides enough lead time so that those who need to prepare can do so, such as cities officials who have excessive heat event mitigation plans.
Excessive Heat Warning/Advisories are issued when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. These products are issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life.

How Forecasters Decide Whether to Issue Excessive Heat Products

How Forecasters Decide Whether to Issue Excessive Heat Products
NOAA’s heat alert procedures are based mainly on Heat Index Values. The Heat Index, sometimes referred to as the apparent temperature is given in degrees Fahrenheit. The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.

To find the Heat Index temperature, look at the Heat Index chart below. As an example, if the air temperature is 96°F and the relative humidity is 65%, the heat index–how hot it feels–is 121°F. The National Weather Service will initiate alert procedures when the Heat Index is expected to exceed 105°-110°F (depending on local climate) for at least 2 consecutive days.

IMPORTANT: Since heat index values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°F. Also, strong winds, particularly with very hot, dry air, can be extremely hazardous.

The Heat Index Chart shaded zone above 105°F (orange or red) shows a level that may cause increasingly severe heat disorders with continued exposure or physical activity.
The Hazards of Excessive Heat

Photo of man exhausted from playing tennis.During extremely hot and humid weather the body’s ability to cool itself is affected. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and heat-related illnesses may develop.

Heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more serious heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Factors or conditions that can make some people more susceptible to heat-related illnesses include age (older adults and young children), obesity, fever, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, prescription drug and alcohol use, and sunburn. Sunburn, caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, can significantly retard the skin’s ability to shed excess heat.
Heat-Related Illness Symptoms and First Aid

HEAT CRAMPS

Symptoms:

Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
Heavy sweating
First Aid:
Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
Give sips of water, if nausea occurs, discontinue water

HEAT EXHAUSTION

Symptoms:

Heavy sweating
Weakness
Cool, pale, clammy skin
Weak pulse
Possible muscle cramps
Dizziness
Nausea and vomiting
Fainting
Normal temperature possible
First Aid:
Move person to a cooler environment
Remove or loosen clothing
Apply cool, wet cloths
Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke)

Symptoms:

Altered mental state
Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
High body temperature (106°F or higher)
Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating
Rapid pulse
Possible unconsciousness
First Aid:
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s
Use extreme caution
If temperature rises again, repeat process
Do NOT give fluids

Never Leave Children, Disabled Adults or Pets in Parked Vehicles

Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults.  Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

How Fast Can the Sun Heat a Car?

The sun’s shortwave radiation (yellow in figure below) heats objects that it strikes.  For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200°F. These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation (red in figure below) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.

Shown below are time lapse photos of thermometer readings in a car over a period of less than an hour. As the animation shows, in just over 2 minutes the car went from a safe temperature to an unsafe temperature of 94.3°F. This demonstration shows just how quickly a vehicle can become a death trap for a child.

The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively transparent to the sun’s shortwave radiation yellow in figure below) and are warmed little. This shortwave energy, however, does heat objects it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180°F to more than 200°F. These objects, e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, childseat, heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and give off longwave radiation (infrared), which efficiently warms the air trapped inside a vehicle. Learn more about excessive heat and cars.
Vehicle Related Heat Deaths

Honolulu, HI, March 07, 2007: A 3-year-old girl died when the father left her in a child seat for 1.5 hours while he visited friends in a Waikiki apartment building.  The outside temperature was only 81 degrees.
North Augusta, SC, April 2006: A mother left her a 15-month-old son in a car. He was in a car for 9 hours while his mom went to work. She is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.
Greenville, TX, December 01, 2012: A 6-month-old boy died after being left in a car for more than 2 hours by his mother. She was charged with murder. The temperature rose to an unseasonably warm 81 degrees on that day.
Adults are in danger too. On July 12, 2001, a man died of heat stroke after falling asleep in his car with the windows rolled up in the parking lot of a supermarket in Hinds County, MS.

Safety Tips for Concerning Children

Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
Always lock car doors and trunks–even at home–and keep keys out of children’s reach.
Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever.

Safety Tips for Adults

Thermometer reads 110 degreesSlow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

Preparing for and Responding to Excessive Heat Events

The Excessive Heat Events Guidebook was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2006, in collaboration with the National Weather Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Homeland Security. This guidebook provides best practices for saving lives during heat waves in urban areas, and provides a menu of options that communities can use in developing their own mitigation plans.

As read on: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml