Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Volume 15 Issue 18 .                                                                                     Fall 2020

Safety Source

Thank you for being a Safety Source family! 
Fun Fall Safety Tips Edition

This week we want to provide safety tips for the fall season and also about distracted driving. There are interactive tools for your children to learn the importance of autumn and driving safety, as well as information for parents. We hope this will be a fun way to learn about important safety topics together as a family. Let us know if we can be a resource to you in anyway! As always, we try to include the best topics to keep your family happy, healthy, and safe! If you wish to see a particular topic or question addressed in our next issue, please let us know!

Newsletter Highlights

Video for Kids

Interactive video for kids to learn about distracted driving

Safely Decorating Pumpkin Ideas

Learn how to decorate your pumpkin safely! 

Interactive Quiz about Distracted Driving Safety

Test your child's knowledge about driving safety through an interactive online quiz. 

More Information for Parents

Information for parents about distracted driving

National Teen Driver Safety Week

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.1 In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 755 deaths were the teen driver.1 Teen Driver Safety Week this year is October 18-24th, 2020. Parents, this is a great time to review the rules of the road with your teen. Talk to your teen about driving laws and the expectations you have for them. If they can’t follow the law, they can’t drive your car.

Be sure to review these safety tips during Teen Driver Safety Week:

  • Seat belt use- Drivers should always wear a seatbelt and require their passengers to do the same.
  • No distractions- Distracted driving isn’t limited just to cell phone use. Distracted driving can include eating and drinking, navigating the GPS system, changing the radio station and being distracted by the vehicle’s passengers. Encourage your teen to focus on the road and to not attempt to multitask. Taking eyes off the road for as little as five seconds while driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field without looking.
  • Speeding- Teens are more likely to be involved in a speeding related crash than an adult due to their driving inexperience. Drivers can receive as little as one and as many as eight points on their license for speeding over the printed speed zone. Teen drivers should be aware that if they’ve accumulated more than six points on their license, they will not be able to receive a Tennessee Intermediate Unrestricted Driver license.
  • Limit Passengers- Multiple passengers in the car for an inexperienced teen driver can be incredibly distracting. Graduated Driver Licensing laws limit the number of passengers allowed at one time.
  • Cell phone use- Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to store away their phones while driving, designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages. If the driver is under 18, he/she cannot use a wireless device at all, not even with a Bluetooth headset or speaker. This includes talking to a digital assistant like Siri or OK Google. Remember, drivers under the age of 18, cannot make or answer calls while driving (hand-held or hands-free).

The Tennessee Hands Free Law was enacted on July 1st, 2019 to reduce distracted driving. Public Chapter No. 412 is the official name for the Hands-Free Law. Parents, the Tennessee Hands Free Law applies to  everyone. This law makes it illegal for a driver to hold a cell phone or mobile device with any part of their body. This includes to:

  • Write, send, or read any text-based communication which can include instant messages, text messages, email, or internet data on wireless communications.
  • Reach for a cellphone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt.
  • Watch a video or movie on a cellphone or mobile device, other than GPS.
  • Record or broadcast video on a cellphone or mobile device
  • If the driver is 18 years of age or older, he or she may be able to use an earpiece or headphone device.

Parents have the biggest impact on their child’s driving experience. Remember to be a good role model for your teen driver and set an example with your own safe driving habits. For more teen driving safety tips, visit our website here. Download our parent teen driving agreement here to help guide the conversation with your teen.


Vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teens but, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable.

During National Teen Driver Safety Week, Ford Driving Skills for Life would like to encourage parents and teen drivers to take The Pledge to Drive Safe. Join them every day this week as they post a unique message corresponding to a letter in I PLEDGE that is designed to educate teens and parents about a novice driver issue.

Start today! Click below to agree to the Ford Driving Skills for Life PLEDGE TO DRIVE SAFE!

Ask the expert: Common Car Seat Questions

Car seats can be very overwhelming because there is so much information and it is hard to know where to get the most accurate content. We have created a bi-weekly series where caregivers have submitted questions and we help answer those questions. Feel free to email us any questions you have or if there is a topic you would like featured.

One of the first things you can do to help make sure your car seat is safely secured in the car is having it checked by a car seat technician. We will cover how you find a registered car seat technician, qualifications to become a technician, and the importance of having your seat checked by a certificated car seat tech.

How do I know if someone is certified to check my installation? What kind of training should they have?

Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) are specially trained individuals who are knowledgeable in child safety seat installation, best practices and education. They provide support and guidance to caregivers with child safety seat questions and concerns. With motor vehicle crashes being a leading cause of death for children under 14, there is a continued need for CPSTs to provide information on child safety seats to families. CPSTs have to attend a multiday training and pass a written test as well as install each type of seat correctly. Certification currently lasts for two years with recertification required. CPSTs may work in environments such as healthcare and emergency response, but some perform this duty outside their usual occupations to educate those involved in childcare. These experts are great resources for caregivers who need help with safety seat installation. When someone is checking your car seats, be sure to ask if they are a certified technician to ensure you have the correct expert look at your seat. To learn more about the certification process, please visit the National Child Passenger Safety Website.

How can I find resources for who checks installs in my city?

You can visit locations throughout the Metro Nashville and Davidson County area, as well as surrounding counties, to have a CPST inspect your child safety seat. Some locations require an appointment. Others will ask you to call first to ensure a CPST will be available to you. Due to COVID-19, many fitting stations may not be open or have limited availability. Visit Tennessee Traffic Safety website for more information about fitting stations. 

Should I periodically check my car seat for anything after the initial installation?

Although, CPSTs can be a great resource to make sure your seat is installed correctly, you as the caregiver will have to make sure the seat is installed correct each time it is used. If you have your seat checked, be sure to ask the CPST to watch you install the seat at least one time to ensure you are doing it correctly. It may be helpful to take pictures of the seat properly installed so you can refer back to them as needed. You always want to check the belt path to ensure the seat is tightly secured. It should not move more than one-inch side to side on the belt path, which should be checked frequently. Also, every time you place the child in the seat, you want to check the harness straps and the chest clip. The harness straps should be tight against the child’s chest and you should not be able to grab more than one inch of fabric when you pinch the straps. If you can pinch more than inch, it is too loose and needs to be adjusted. The chest clip should always be at armpit level and across the chest. You always want to make sure you check the height and weight requirement of the seat to ensure your child is still in the appropriate seat.

Click for more information about Car Seats
Eye Injury Prevention for Children

Each year thousands of children sustain eye damage or even blindness from accidents at home, at play, or in the car.1 Children should wear sports eye protectors when playing baseball, basketball, football, racquet sports, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, and paintball. These eye protectors should be made with polycarbonate lenses.1 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear.

Follow these tips to help prevent the risk of eye injuries in your children:

  • Make sure to keep chemicals and sprays out of sight and reach for small children.
  • Avoid projectile toys such as darts, bow and arrows and missile firing toys that can potentially cause an eye injury.
  • Be sure to purchase toys that are marked with the “ASTM”. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) sets the national safety standards.
  • If you have small children in the home, be sure to place pads or cushion on sharp edges.
  • Do not allow your children to play with fireworks particularly bottle rockets. These fireworks can cause a serious eye injury.
  • Typically, children 4 years old and younger have an increased risk for eye injuries through dog bites. Be sure to keep a close watch on your child and dogs. This includes dogs you are familiar with.
  • Teach children never to aim firearms of any kind at another person. Pellet guns, BB guns, paintball guns, etc., can cause extreme damage to eyes.
  • If your child plays sports, be sure to teach your child to wear their sports required googles and face shield every time during both games and practices.
  • When purchasing sports related eyewear, make sure that the goggles have polycarbonate lenses and have a wraparound shape. This style offers protection on the side of the face.2

In an emergency, follows tips regarding caring for an eye injury:1

  • Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
  • Do not try to remove any object stuck in the eye. For small debris, lift eye lid and ask child to blink rapidly to see if tears will flush out the particle. If not, close the eye and seek treatment.
  • Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
  • A cut or puncture wound should be gently covered.
  • Only in the event of chemical exposure, flush with plenty of water.

Children can remain safe while participating in sports and helping around the house. For more safety tips, visit our website here.

Are You interested in learning more about Child Passenger Safety?

We are now offering online webinars that offer important safety information about Child Passenger Safety. If you interested in learning more, or about us partnering with your organization, please contact us! 

Learn more about Online Webinars for Child Passenger Safety
How to make fun Fall snacks

Easy recipes for your child to learn how to cook while having fun in the kitchen! 

Click for Recipe
Meet the Injury Prevention Team

Purnima Unni

is the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program Manager for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She has a Masters in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education specialist with over 20 years of experience in injury prevention. She is a wife and mother of two girls and her rescue puppy. She loves to cook, travel and watch murder mysteries.

Eppiphanie Richardson

is an Atlanta native who decided to take on Nashville as her newest adventure. She is also the Associate Program Manager for the Be in the Zone-Turn Off Your Phone Campaign which educates teens and parents on the dangers of distracted driving. She has a passion for healthcare and serving others. She feels privileged to be able to serve Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Nashville, dancing, running, and spending time with her husband and son.

Mimi Sanders

is a Nashville native and received her Masters from Vanderbilt University. She is the Associate Program Manager for the Kohls Seat Smart Program, which focuses on educating caregivers, children, and community partners on the importance of car seat safety. She is so excited to join the team at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with her local church’s special needs ministry, hanging out with family and friends, and doing yoga

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Resources from our generous partners
Tips about Fire Prevention Safety
Click for Tips from Safe Kids
Tips from AllState about Returning to School
Click for Tips from AllState
Tips for Teens and Safe Driving
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Thank you to our generous partners and organizations
Safety Source Newsletter-Weekly Edition

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This newsletter is brought to you by the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program and Kohl’s Stay Seat Smart Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.