Study shows Memorial Day is high-risk holiday for injuries to kids

A recent research report shows that kids suffer more injuries on holidays – and that Labor Day and Memorial Day are two of the most dangerous days for kids. Researchers say his is likely because these holidays are often celebrated outdoors and kids are more likely to take part in physical activities.
Researchers collected childhood-related injury information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a nationally representative sample of 98 U.S. hospital emergency departments, comparing records for eight major holidays over a 10 year period. The study did not include car-related injuries or minor injuries that did not require emergency room treatment.
According to an analysis of the research report written by Rachel Rettenr of

  • 62% of the holiday injuries happened to boys
  • 29% of the injuries happened to children under 5
  • 41.6% of the holiday injuries were sports or recreation related
  • About 20% of holiday injuries were “home structure” related, including injuries from doors and countertops
  • About 16% of holiday injuries were related to home furnishings, including chairs and tables
  • 29% of he injuries were lacerations

Here are a few tips to help keep your kids safe on Memorial Day:

Keeping kids safe on their summer jobs

Right after Memorial Day each year, about 2 million kids flock to the workplace to take seasonal summer jobs. This year, with a teen unemployment rate of about 30%, the numbers may be a little lower. And with intense competition for jobs, there is one potential side effect that may come into play: teens may be tempted to take on tougher jobs, ones that pose greater potential risks to their health and safety.
Just about once every two minutes, a teen worker is injured on the job. Even worse, about 50 to 80 kids a year lose their lives while working. Kids are particularly vulnerable because they are inexperienced, they often have a false sense of invincibility, and they want to please their new employers. They haven’t built up the work stamina, muscles and judgment that more experienced workers have. And they may not want to call attention to themselves or appear dumb by asking questions.
Because of this, it’s important that employers, supervisors, and older co-workers look out for teen workers. Employers should provide safety training that is explicit about job hazards and the things that could go wrong. As with all workers, employers should also explain safety policies and procedures. Supervisors, managers, and coworkers should be asked to focus special attention on the safety of young workers. Employers might even want to “buddy up” young workers with a more experienced worker for the first few weeks of the job.
Parents play a special role in keeping young workers safe. At Workers Comp Insider, there’s a good post on this topic: Parental alert: 2010’s Five Worst Teen Jobs. The post lists the five least safe job sectors for teens, along with a variety of links and resources to help parents ensure that they and their kids ask the right questions about safety during the hiring process and after the job begins. If you have kids who will be entering the work force this summer, it’s worth your while to check it out.

Garage sale planning tip: Check your insurance coverage

If you’re in spring cleaning mode and emptying out that attic or cellar, you may be thinking of holding a garage sale or a yard sale. If so, you can get some excellent planning pointers from Best Garage Sale Tips, a comprehensive how-to guide that helps you think through all the details, including a task time line to guide you right up to sale day.
One really important item on your checklist should be to review your homeowners, condo or rental insurance policy to be sure you have liability coverage in case someone is injured while on your property. The general rule of thumb is that your homeowners policy would likely be enough coverage if your yard sale is a one-time event, but if you plan to make a business out of yard sales, you’d better talk that over with your agent. It’s a good idea to check in advance of your sale, regardless!
Check out this video on garage sales & insurance from the Insurance Information Institute.

New study sheds light on high rate of child choking injuries and deaths

A review of 2003 pediatric data from more than 3,000 hospitals in 36 states showed that in that single year, 2,7 million children were treated for choking, and nearly 2,000 died – an average of more than 5 deaths each day. Though airway obstructions in young children occur less often than other types of injuries, the death rate is higher, according to new research from the Children’s National Medical Center. Read more about the study in the Consumer Reports on Safety blog: Choking deaths are alarmingly high, new study says.
While conventional wisdom and many warning labels are geared to children under age three, Consumer Reports on Safety says:

Apparently, age three is not the magical year when choking stops being a risk to children. Even though toys with small parts carry a warning that they are “not for children under 3,” a recent study shows that the average age of children who die from choking incidents is 4.6 years. In fact, 25 percent of the products involved in choking deaths passed the toy-labeling criteria set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

While small toy parts and foreign objects accounted for most of the choking incidents, food items were the cause of 42% of incidents. According to American Academy of Pediatrics research, hot dogs are to blame for around 17 percent of food-related asphyxiations among children. Seeds, nuts, grapes and raw carrots also often pose a threat.
Food Choking Hazards from Consumer Reports
Tips for choking prevention from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Choking on Food
Special Report: Choking Hazards for Children

Arson Awareness Week, May 2-8, 2010

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) announces that May 2 through 8 is Arson Awareness Week. This year’s theme is Community Arson Prevention.
According to the USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System data and the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated average of 316,600 intentional fires are reported to fire departments in the United States each year causing injuries to 7,825 firefighters and civilians. In 2006, ten firefighters died as a result of arson. In addition to needless injury and death, an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property loss occurs annually.
In conjunction with this event, FEMA has issued a 22-page booklet, Community Arson Prevention (PDF), which includes tips and resources for arson prevention including:

  • 5 steps for starting a community watch program – pages 2 – 3
  • Arson prevention tips for businesses – pages 3 – 4
  • Arson prevention tips for churches – pages 4 – 5
  • Arson prevention tips for schools – pages 6 – 9
  • Wildfire prevention tips – page 13
  • State & local initiatives – pages 10 – 17
  • Links & Resources – page 20

Materials from prior years are also valuable. Last year, the Arson Awareness Week theme focused on Arson For Profit (PDF, 16 pages), covering such topics as vehicle arson, arson in abandoned buildings, property arson by those who have fallen behind on mortgages or boat payments, house flipping arson, arson to recoup monies from a failing business, arson to eliminate competitors or to take revenge.
In 2008, the focus was Toylike Lighters: Playing With Fire (PDF – 8 pages) focusing on the dangers of toy-like or novelty lighters in the hands of children.
In 2007, the focus was Vehicle Arson: Who Pays for This Crime? (PDF, 9 pages).