Home > Protect the Ones You Love -A few tips from Rhonda Moore Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., Highmark Inc.

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  Protect the Ones You Love

Looking for a New Year’s resolution for 2011? How about this one: “I resolve to make 2011 a very safe year for my family”!
Here are some tips to make your home and your travels safe for your children.
Safety Tips for Sleeping Babies
If your baby is under 12 months old, you can help prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), suffocation and strangulation by following these three tips:
  • Place your baby to sleep on his or her back.
  • Remove all soft bedding from the crib.
  • Put your baby to sleep in a safe crib.
(For more information, visit http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/203.pdf)
Prevent Poisonings
·        Keep pesticides, medications and other household cleaning products, including chlorine bleach, where children can ‘t reach them. Use child safety locks when possible.   
·        Always use household cleaning products in child-resistant packaging and never transfer pesticides and household cleaning products to food and drink containers.
·         Know the number.Put the nationwide poison control center phone number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every telephone in your home. You should also program it into your cellular phone. You can reach poison control centers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call poison control if you think a child has been poisoned and if they are awake and alert. Call 911 if you have a poison emergency and your child has collapsed or is not breathing.
(For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/SafeChild/Fact_Sheets/Poisoning-Fact-Sheet-a.pdf)
Car Safety
·         Never leave children unattended in or around parked cars.
·         Children younger than 13 years old should always ride in the back seat.
·         Adults should always wear seat belts.
·         Use child safety seats as follows:
-       Until 1 year old or 20 pounds, keep infants in the back seat in rear facing child safety seats.
-       Until age 4 years old or 40 pounds, children should ride in the back seat in forward facing child safety seats.
-       Until age 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall, children should ride in booster seats, in the back seat; until the vehicle seat belt fits properly.
-       After age 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall, children can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).
 (For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/passengersafety)
Prevent Fires and Burns
·         Have working smoke detectors and hold fire drills. Check and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months.
·         Stay by the stove when cooking, especially when you are frying food.
·         Use the back burners if you have small children present while cooking, and turn pot handles toward the back of your stove.
Prevent Drowning and Water Related Injuries
·        Supervision - always provide adult supervision of young children while in the bathtub, swimming or playing in or around water. Responsible adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity such as reading, talking or texting on the phone, while supervising children playing in or around water.
·        Learn to swim. Among all racial groups, African Americans are least likely to know how to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Most childhood injuries are preventable. Accidents can and will happen sometimes. Empower yourself by knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury.
Dr. Rhonda Johnson is the medical director of health equity and quality services at Highmark Inc. She leads Highmark’s efforts to reduce racial and ethnic health care disparities among Highmark members through clinical interventions and improvements in health literacy, language access and health-plan cultural competency.


A few tips from Rhonda Moore Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., Highmark Inc.
Parents and caregivers, we all strive to create a safe environment for our children. 
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