The 85 children evacuated from Lake St. Martin need to head back to class, the province says.
The 85 children evacuated from Lake St. Martin need to head back to class, the province says.
Across the country, each year over 140 000 children are admitted to emergency rooms due to injuries caused by car accidents. Car accidents remain the leading cause of death for children older than three years of age. Despite these statistics, many pediatricians and childcare experts note that the majority of parents are not correctly securing their children into car safety restraints.
According to experts, a big part of the problem is that the safety guidelines when it comes to children and cars is confusing – and changes often. The safety seats of just a few years ago have been replaced with new guidelines and new devices. Worse, the laws concerning child safety restraints vary by state. Pediatricians and experts recommend that parents follow the guidelines available through the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP guidelines are clear and tend to be conservative, which adds some extra precaution. AAP guidelines suggest:
1) Children under two years of age should be placed in a rear-racing car seat. This protects a young child most in the event of a Miami Gardens car accident.
2) Children over the age of two should be placed in a front-facing car seat until they reach the weight limit for the seat.
3) Children should use booster seats until they can sit at 57 inches tall (usually this is by about age 11). This is because the rear seat belts are more likely to cut into a child’s neck, face, and chest area in the event of a Miami Gardens truck accident or car accident, possibly causing serious injury. Seat belts are designed for adults, and a booster seat ensures that a child has the height needed to stay safe in an accident.
4) Children should not sit in the front seat until they reach the age of 13 years of age. The rear seat is the safest place for a child in the event of a Miami Gardens traffic accident. In the event of an accident, the child is more likely to hit the soft front seat rather than crash into a dashboard. Since children may not be as tall, air bags in the front seat can also pose a hazard, potentially causing Miami Gardens head injuries in the event of a car collision. Keeping a child in the back seat helps prevent this. In the event of a head-on crash, children will also be more protected in the back.
According to a survey completed by Dr. Michelle Macy of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, only about 3% of children between the ages of 1-3 were correctly seated in rear-facing car seats. In the survey of 22 000 children between 2007 and 2009, Dr. Macy also found that only 10% of children between the ages of 8 and 10 were using booster seats.
According to Macy, in addition to following AAP guidelines, it is important to select a car seat with the highest weight capacities possible. This makes the car seat safer for the child and allows a parent to use the car seat for longer, which is financially better for the family as well.
A convicted sexual offender is moving to southeast Manitoba, after being released from prison.
A new study from the Montreal Public Health Department, published in the American Journal on Public Health, suggests that those who live in neighborhoods with low incomes are more likely to be injured in car accidents when compared with car accident victims from more affluent communities. According to the researchers, children are especially susceptible to the economic gap, with children from less well-off neighborhoods being 7.3 times more likely to be hurt as pedestrians in a car accident when compared with children from wealthier communities.
Researchers completed the study by examining neighborhoods in Montreal, Canada by average household income and by comparing traffic accident injuries in each neighborhood between 1999 and 2004. There may be many reasons why lower-income neighborhoods have the troublingly higher rate of car accident injuries, and many of the findings may also be applicable to Miami car accidents:
1) Lower-income neighborhoods may have more traffic. According to the study authors, some lower-income neighborhoods have twice as much traffic and busier streets. While affluent neighborhoods often have residential areas that are well out of the way of noisy traffic, lower-income neighborhoods may have more mixed-use areas and may have more traffic. In Miami, that can mean more Miami traffic accidents.
2) Lower-income neighborhoods have a higher population density. Lower-income areas tend, generally, to have more residents and more businesses, while higher-income areas usually have larger homes, more spaces between buildings, and thus a lower population density. That can mean more people and more cars in low-income areas competing for space, which in turn can mean more congestion and more traffic accidents.
3) Lower-income neighborhoods have residents with less access to cars, meaning that more people walk. According to the study, lower-income pedestrians were 6.6 times more likely to be injured by a vehicle. The study also suggests that Miami bicycle accidents may be a problem in lower-income areas, as cyclists in less affluent neighborhoods were 3.9 times more likely to be injured by a vehicle when compared with cyclists in wealthier areas.
4) Lower-income neighborhoods may be less well funded in terms of signage and infrastructure. Higher-income neighborhoods often have groups dedicated to ensuring that the community stays attractive, with well-paved roads and with correct signage. There may be less pressure on cities to beautify lower-income areas, and higher traffic in these areas can mean that streets are in less pristine condition, paving the way for accidents.
Miami car accidents are a special risk during Halloween, since children are out and about trick-or-treating at the same time as cars are driving around. Miami sees a lot of car traffic, making it especially risky for childhood car accidents, especially during Halloween. Children who are trick-or-treating can get overly excited about the candy they are getting, and this can make them less cautious about running in front of cars or about crossing the street. To ensure that your children are not affected by Miami pedestrian accidents this Halloween, make sure that you:
1) Choose costumes carefully. Costumes should be highly visible, and should include flashlights or reflective strips. Any props, such as guns or swords, should be clearly made of foam and should not look too close to the real thing. Ensure that your child’s costume does not prevent them from walking safely. This means ensuring that there is nothing dragging on the ground when your child walks in his or her costume.
2) Make sure that your child can see correctly. Avoid costumes that cover the face, and costumes with masks that inhibit visibility. Where possible, use face paint rather than masks for your child’s Halloween costume. Also be wary of costumes that require capes or hoods, as these can affect peripheral vision and can make it harder for your child to see oncoming traffic.
3) Set out a route for your child’s to follow. Make sure that your child is accompanied at all times by an adult. The route that your child uses for Halloween should be well lit, and should have relatively little traffic.
4) Go over pedestrian safety rules with your child in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Make sure that your child is repeatedly told look both ways before crossing the street and to always cross at corners. When your child is out trick-or-treating, he or she should visit houses along one side of the street, cross at the corner, and then continue to visit houses along the other side of the street. Make sure that your child does not crisscross the street to get to different houses, crossing from in between parked cars.
5) If you live in a high traffic area of Miami, consider taking your child to a Halloween party rather than having them trick-or-treat. This ensures that your child is safe indoors rather than risking injury outdoors. This can also help protect your child from Miami drunk driving accidents, which unfortunately can be a concern on a night when many Halloween parties are serving alcohol.
6) If a younger child does want to trick or treat, consider sending them out early. This way, the child will be back home before dark. Have extra Halloween candy at home so that he or she is not disappointed with fewer treats.
When we think of distracted driving, most of us think of driving with a cell phone to our ear. While there is no doubt that cell phones and mobile devices lead to Florida car accidents, they are not the only cause of distractions. In fact, some of the most common distractions are far more low-tech:
1) Pets. Pets often need to be ferried to the vet, but most types of pets don’t respond well to a moving car. They can easily panic and get underfoot. Even a well-behaved dog can suddenly become unruly if it notices something interesting out of the window. The safest place for your pets in the car is in a pet carrier. This is safest for both you and your pets. With your pets safely stowed, you won’t have to be checking on your pets and you won’t have your visibility compromised by pets jumping in front of the windows.
2) Children. Children can easily be a distraction that can cause you to take your eyes off the road. Whether you are trying to tame two fighting siblings, get something away from your infant, or are checking on the source of mysterious sounds from the back seat, taking your eyes off the road for even seconds can mean a dangerous Florida pedestrian accident. Younger children should be placed in an age-appropriate child restrain, far from anything they can grab. Older children should be given some form of activity or game for the trip so that they can play quietly without being a distraction.
3) Passengers. Passengers may wish to chat and may take your mind off the road. An animated conversation in the car can also cause you naturally to take your eyes off the road to look at the speaker. You don’t have to insist on complete silence, but playing music and having passengers in charge of the play list can help keep conversation naturally to a minimum.
4) Objects. Whether it’s a purse dropping to the floor of your car or your groceries tumbling in the back seat or a CD that just doesn’t want to pop into the player, objects in your car can distract. Keep all non-essentials in the trunk and if something falls down, wait until you are pulled over to retrieve it. Today’s iPod decks let you create entire play lists for the duration of your trip, so that you never have to change the music.
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on helping children cope with death. Age birth to 6 is addressed
Successful grieving after the untimely death of a loved one is an extremely difficult task. We would like to tell our children that the world is fair and just, but it is not so. Adults and children alike must realize that painful things happen. It is impossible to live without hurt because no one is immune from danger.
Many things influence children’s views on death. Age, religious beliefs, cultural or ethnic values and their relationship to the deceased are important factors that affect their understanding. The reactions of the surviving parent or caregivers are of primary importance in determining how children will cope with death. Understanding how children conceptualize death within the context of their prospective age ranges may help parents and caregivers in coping with this process.
Infants can sense when something is amiss following the death of their primary caregiver. Although a death in the family may affect an infant, the absence of the mother causes a clear biological reaction. However, this can be remedied very quickly if another caregiver assumes primary responsibility for the infant’s care. Passing infants from caregiver to caregiver, however, may cause anxiety due to the fluctuation and inconsistency of care and is not recommended.
Older infants are beginning to see themselves as separate from their parents or caregivers, and this separation can be frightening. They can only experience the presence or absence of another and may grieve for a lost relationship through anger, crying, searching, lack of appetite and quiet resignation. Two-year-olds can feel grief and anxiety in their surroundings and will require frequent, large doses of tender loving care: holding, cuddling and stroking. Explanations of death are meaningless. What one does is far more important than what one says to a child this young.
At 4 to 6 years old, children also have a great need for physical nurturing and the security of knowing who will care for them. They are learning to express themselves verbally, but are most effective in expressing themselves through play. Although significant events such as birthdays, holidays and the first day of school are major milestones to young children, they tend to have a limited concept of time and space.
“Magical thinking” is an important characteristic of 4- to 6-year-old development. Children at this age are capable of a variety of fantasies based on something they have seen or heard, even though it was misunderstood. Viewed through their limited conception of time and death, bereaved children may expect the deceased to be alive again soon. It’s best to explain death in physical, concrete terms; for example, “His heart stopped beating and no one can make it start again. We won’t be seeing him move or talk any more.”
For children raised in traditions that believe in an afterlife, concepts such as heaven may be difficult for them to grasp. They will see a discrepancy between burial of the body and the description of “going home” or “going to heaven.” While the young child probably cannot grasp this idea, you might address the distinction, as “the part that we loved, the part that smiled, laughed and loved us, is the part that has gone to heaven.”
In the event that the deceased is cremated, don’t used the word “burned” in explaining this process. According to Carleton Kendrick, a family therapist in private practice, children may be told that “cremation means (the body was) put in a room that was very, very hot until (it) turned to soft, powdery ashes … Be very careful to make sure that (they) understand that their (loved one) was not hurt by this process.”
Invite children to be present at the funeral, memorial service or scattering of ashes. Although they should be encouraged to attend, children should never be forced. Likewise, they should not be required to view, kiss or touch the deceased, although it is perfectly all right if they wish to do so. It is important for children to say goodbye in their own way.
By Lois Harvick
For The Register-Guard
Appeared in print: Sunday, Feb 22, 2009, page E2