Slide Safety

As a kid, my generation called it “the sliding pond.”  I have no idea how a “slide” had the characteristics of a “pond” to us–but never mind.  This post has nothing to do with that.  Here’s a very exact recommendation for a very specific injury: broken foot/leg for a child on a child slide. Studies show that from 2002-2015 there were > 350,000 leg injuries from children <6 years old riding slides on the laps of their parent’s/caregiver’s laps. The highest incidence was in children 12-23 months old and 36% involved actual fractures of foot/leg. The mechanism of injury is almost always the child’s lower extremity getting caught between the adult’s body and the slide as they progress downward and the momentum of the ride down against the inertia of the adult’s larger body causing a twisting action of the child’s foot/leg and–yecch! Generally the greater the discrepancy between adult and child size, the greater the risk–but from a practical standpoint the size of the child is mostly irrelevant–bigger adult means greater risk, so fathers cause more injury than moms.

So, its pretty simple, folks–don’t do it!! If you want your child to enjoy a ride on a slide then place the child ALONE on the slide and you stand next to him/her and allow them to slide down themselves with you immediately adjacent, shepherding them down as they go. DO NOT place the child on your lap and ride down that way–EVER!!  If you aren’t comfortable doing it that way, or if you feel that your child is not ready to do it that way, then find something else to do at that playground that day.

Check out this picture that illustrates what can happen:


So please keep this in mind next time at the playground.  Send along questions and comments, and thanks for following.

Burn Prevention

Every parent lives in fear of burn injury to their child.  Here is a good, fairly comprehensive list of safety measures.  How many do you practice?

  1. Do not let cooking appliance electric cords hang off of counter.
  2. Do not leave hot beverages or foods unattended or near the edge of table.
  3. Keep hot beverages away from children and do not have a child sit in your lap if you are drinking a hot beverage.
  4. Teach older children how to safely remove hot food from microwave and stove top.
  5. Minimize use of stove front burners.
  6. When carrying hot food in kitchen make sure young children are not in your path.
  7. Test bath and shower water temp with your hand for 30 seconds before using.
  8. Never leave young children unattended in bath or shower.
  9. Adjust water heater to no higher than 120 degrees.
  10. Avoid leaving unattended pots on stove.
  11. Keep children away form fireplace and wood stove doors.
  12. Install smoke detectors on all floors of your home and test monthly.  Ideally, they should be hard wired with battery back up.
  13. Replace smoke detector batteries at least annually.  Keep a schedule.
  14. Practice home fire drills and make sure children know how to exit the house in the event of a fire and where to meet outdoors.
  15. Keep fire extinguishers in kitchen, furnace room, and by fireplace.
  16. Teach children to exit the house low to floor if their is smoke in the room.
  17. Obtain a safety ladder if your home has a second floor.
  18. Teach children to not use elevators to escape a fire.
  19. Teach children to “stop, drop, and roll” if clothing catches fire.
  20. Avoid smoking indoors.
  21. Minimize storage of flammable liquids, keep them away from child play areas or from potential ignition sources.
  22.  Minimize extension cord use.
  23. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  24. Avoid use of fireworks.

Thanks to Robert L Sheridan MD from Shiners Children’s Hospital of Boston Massachusetts who’s article ” Burn Care in Children” is the source of the above list.

Please call with any questions or comments, and thanks for following.

Your Teen’s Cellphone

Remember the “Blockbuster Bowl” on New Year’s Day;  video rental stores?  Where did they go?  An entire industry came and went in only a blink of an eye–a few years, really.  As a still new grandpa I marvel AND fear the rapid evolution of technology and its effects on youth.  This is probably most evident in the proliferation of smart cellphones over the last years.  This was mere science fantasy for my generation as teens, and was mostly in its infancy as my children went through high school.  But its a major part of young families’ worlds now.

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  1. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL! Get off the phone yourself.
  2. Set time and place limits for appropriate cell phone use, and stick by them yourself.  No cellphone use AT ALL during homework, family meals.  I think 1 hour/school day and 2 for weekends/vacation days is reasonable.
  3. No phone overnight in child’s room.  This is key.  I cannot tell you how many kids I see complaining of fatigue, headaches, difficulty in school where I find that the likely root cause is poor sleep, as they are up till whenever on line or communicating still with friends (about the usual teen high school social issues and nothing more).  No–not mono, ADHD, or any of those things(at least often not). It’s the darn phone!
  4. Other activities. Read books – take your family to a bookstore or library, especially now that summer is here. Read books yourself. Play sports together – tennis, have a catch, ride a bike, take a walk. No phones during these activities. 
  5. Educate your child about the public nature of online communication.  These devices are NOT private but rather are a combination of billboard and megaphone, I tell young people.  Before posting/sending ANY information–verbal or pictorial–ask yourself this question, I say: do you want everyone, including grandma and/or your worst enemy, to see this?  Because they will.  REMEMBER THAT.
  6. There are good apps out there to help manage your child’s phone use: OurPact, KidsLox and Google Family Link; cost: approximately $50/year. These apps enable you to shut the phone off at a scheduled time, limit the use (internet and text) and can enable you to keep tabs on sites visited. These apps even allow you to add time if YOU feel it’s necessary.
  7. Know your limitations. Again, now into my 7th decade, much of this tech stuff is quite foreign to me. You younger parents mostly grew up in a computer/tech world. But unless you actually do tech for a living, you likely know less here than your kid. So be humble. There are few filters or monitors you can apply that your child cannot at least partially work around. So avoid over-confidence and remain vigilant.

Let’s face it – these tech options aren’t going anywhere, and given the many benefits they bring to society, nobody says they should. But be aware of their disadvantages as well as their advantages.

Thanks for following.