Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Volume 15 Issue 27 .                                                                                     Winter 2020

Safety Source

Thank you for being a Safety Source family! 
COVID and Holiday Safety Edition

This week we would like to share several safety tips on how to stay safe during the holidays especially during COVID-19. This week's newsletter includes interactive tools for your children to learn about holiday 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, our goal is 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 Kitchen Safety

Kitchen Safety Activity

Learn how to stay safe in the kitchen when cooking! 

Interactive Quiz Kitchen Safety

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

More Information for Parents

Information for parents about Holidays and COVID-19

Holiday Gatherings & COVID-19

The holidays are usually a time where family and friends can reconnect. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it challenging for many people to celebrate with their loved ones. Consider unique ways to celebrate the holidays this year.

Keep these things in mind for hosting or attending a gathering this holiday season:

  • Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to ensure your guests are at least 6 feet apart.
  • Be sure to constantly remind your guests to avoid direct contact with each other .This includes hugs and handshakes.
  • Consider hosting your event outside rather than indoors. Even if your event is outdoors, it is important for everyone to wear their masks when not eating or drinking.
  • Encourage everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Consider using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Provide guests information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps that will be in place at your gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Provide and/or encourage attendees to bring supplies to help everyone to stay healthy. These include extra masks (do not share or swap with others), hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and tissues. Stock bathrooms with enough hand soap and single use towels.
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items, such as serving utensils. Designate one person to serve food to reduce the potential spread.
  • Planning will be key! Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before attending your gathering.
  • It will be helpful to treat pets as you would other human family members. Do not let pets interact with people outside the household.

If you will be hosting overnight guests, follow these safety tips to help protect both your guests and your family:

  • Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before visiting your home.
  • It is important to constantly remind your guests to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially upon arrival.
  • Wear masks while inside the house. Masks may be removed for eating, drinking, and sleeping, but individuals from different households should stay at least 6 feet away from each other at all times.
  • Avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors as this contributes to the spread of germs.

Most importantly, monitor your guests for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms can include a fever, cough, or shortness or breath. Be sure to have a plan for what to do if a guest becomes sick. The CDC states that the safest thing to do is to stay home with your immediate family members. For more information on how to stay safe this holiday season, visit our website here.

Holiday Traveling during COVID-19

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are rising.1 As the holidays are quickly approaching and the temperature outside is quickly dropping, the desire to travel and see family and friends may increase. However, during the holiday season consider alternative ways to celebrate. The CDC suggests that small family gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Postponing your travel plans and staying home is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Before traveling be sure to:

  • Get your flu shot before leaving home and check for any travel restrictions.
  • Check to see if the cases in your area are increasing. The higher the cases the more likely you are to get or spread the disease. Click here to see each state’s case numbers in the last 7 days.

Traveling by air, train, or even by car during the holidays can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.1 If your family still plans on traveling, here are a few things to consider when traveling during the holiday season by car:

Limit the amount of stops

  • Avoid making frequent stops to get gas, food, or to use the restroom.
  • Consider bringing your own food to avoid additional exposure.

Check Travel Restrictions

  • Being flexible during your travel will be important as travel restrictions and stay at home orders may change as you are traveling.
  • Be sure to check the local and state government travel restrictions in the location where you will be traveling to.

Limit high traffic areas

  • Be sure to stay at least 6 feet from anyone who is not is your household.
  • Consider using a disposable glove or a disinfecting wipe on handles at gas pumps.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom and after you have been in a public place.1
  • If possible, consider bringing your own food.

Be Sure Your Car is Road Ready

  • Consider having your car serviced or inspected before hitting the road.
  • Pay for gas with cards to avoid the additional face to face interaction.

Now more than ever, preparation is key. Be sure to check this link for a directory of state transportation department websites regarding the latest information on COVID-19 travel changes. Click here for the full list of travel recommendations provided by the CDC. For more safety tips visit our website here.

    Cooking and COVID

    Holidays and colder weather can be a great time to cook together as a family. It is important you and your family know how to stay safe while cooking. While COVID-19, does not appear to be transmitted through food and cooking it is important to make sure you still follow safety guidelines when preparing food.

    When cooking especially with COVID-19, it is important that you do not host dinner parties or participate in cooking gatherings outside your immediate family. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep your family safe.

    COVID-19 and cooking:

    • The risk of getting COVID-19 from handling or consuming food is very low.
    • COVID-19 is typically not spread by touching food packaging or shopping bags.
    • COVID-19 is also not spread through drinking water.
    • Do not use cleaning chemicals on food packaging or shopping bags.
    • Do not wash produce with chemicals such as hand sanitizer, bleach, all purposes cleaner etc.
      • Gently wash produces and fruits/vegetables under cool water.
    • Limit trips to the grocery store by planning meals ahead of time and making sure you get all of your ingredients that you need to cook for the week.

    A couple things to remember each time you start to cook:

    • Always wash your hands before cooking.
    • Check the expiration dates on any of the food items you are using to make sure the food is still good to use.
    • When children are cooking, make sure they are always supervised by an adult.
    • If you are sick, avoid cooking for the rest of the family to help prevent the spread of illness.
    • Wipe down any surfaces such as counters that you will be using before you start to cook.
    • Wash your hands immediately after handling any eggs, poultry, raw meat such as chicken or beef.
      • Avoid thawing meat on the counters but instead thaw meat in the refrigerator.
    • Review the recipe before you start to cook to make sure you know what materials you will need.

    After you have washed your hands and are ready to start cooking, it is important to keep these guidelines in mind to prevent injuries.

    • When removing an item from the oven or stove, always use a hot pad.
      • Children should not be removing items from the stove or oven and should always have adult supervision when cooking with the stove or oven.
    • Turn pot handles towards the back of the oven to help prevent them from being knocked over.
    • Only use microwave safe cookware in the microwave.
      • Never place any metal such as a fork, spoon, or aluminum foil in the microwave.
    • Cookware items should be labeled as microwave safe
    • Allow food to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the microwave.
      • Use hot pads to remove an item from the microwave to prevent burns.
    • Avoiding holding a child while cooking and keep them away from hot objects.
    • Keep sharp objects such as knives and scissors out of reach from the child.
    • Unplug appliances when you are not using them and never allow a child to plug in an appliance.
    • Allow food and drink items to cool before you serve them to children.
    • Check smoke alarms and keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of a fire.
    • Set timers and check food frequently to prevent food from being overcooked or burning.
    • Wear closed toed shoes when cooking and roll up sleeves to avoid clothing catching on fire.
      • Avoid wearing clothing that has clothes that dangle or could be caught in an appliance when cooking.
    • When available, wear an apron to prevent food from getting on your clothes.
    • Never leave the kitchen when you have food on the stove.
    • Never place a child on the kitchen counter while cooking.

    Cooking can be a great way to have some family time especially during 2020 when we are at home more. Be sure to keep these tips in mind to make sure your families stays safe while cooking!!

    When Sleeping in the Car Seat Becomes Dangerous

    Sleep is vital to a child’s development and growth. When life becomes busy, it can be challenging to find time to schedule your child’s naptime. Often, children may fall asleep in the car while being transported from one activity to another.

    It can be tempting as a caregiver to just place the car seat inside your home instead of taking the child out the car seat and risking waking them up during the process. While this may seem more convenient, it can be dangerous, and you could unintentionally be putting your baby at risk.

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 62% of infant deaths that happen in a sitting device occur in car seat that has been moved into the home. When your baby is seated in a car seat, their heavy head can fall forward causing difficulty breathing and even suffocation. That is why car seats outside of moving cars are not safe for naps or overnight sleep for the first year of life. The same risk comes from upright strollers and baby swings.

    Car seats remain a vital safety feature when used in the car and can reduce the child’s risk of injury during a car crash. It is important to continue to use the car seat when your vehicle is in motion but also remember to remove your child from the seat when leaving the car.

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides safety tips on how to help your child sleep safely. The tips include:

    • Placing the child on his or her back for all sleep times including naps and bedtime
    • Using a safe surface such as a mattress in a crib
    • Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, toys, and additional padding out of the crib when the baby is sleeping
    • Experts recommend that your child sleeps in the same room as you but not in the same bed.

    Again, we understand the importance of sleep and trying to ensure your child gets every minute of rest. But, we want to help you ensure your child is safe while sleeping. Below are some tips to help you remember to remove your sleeping child from the car seat once you arrive at home or your destination:

    • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to remove your child from the car seat
    • Place an index card or sticky note on your steering wheel with a message to remind you to remove the child from the seat when sleeping
    • When possible schedule activities before or after your child’s naptime, to help reduce the chances on the child falling asleep in the car
    • Remind other caregivers of the importance of not allowing the child to sleep in the car seat outside of the vehicle.

    Sources and More information

    Click for more information about Car Seats
    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
    Staying connected when you can’t be together

    This year calls for some creativity around the holidays. Some suggestions on sharing love, from a distance.

    As we approach the final stretch of a year like no other, many of us are struggling to come to terms with the fact that our holidays will be affected by the pandemic. Whether you are taking the advice of public health experts to avoid travel; skipping a longstanding party tradition with neighbors; or refraining from visiting loved ones at high risk of serious illness, the holidays this year will be a challenge. But with thoughtfulness and a little planning, we can make it memorable and filled with gratitude.

    “Although most of us will have physical distance between us, there are ways we can still stay connected to those we care about,” explains Jim Kendall, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and manager for Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Employee Assistance Program. Kendall and his colleague and clinical counselor Ellen Clark, LCSW, share some ideas for how to celebrate the holidays this year, from afar.

    Develop a plan for a virtual pandemic holiday gathering.

    • FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and Teams are all online platforms that allow you talk and see each other during your long-distance conversation, wherever you are. Teenagers are a good resource for help with technology; most are using it every day for school. Remember to do a practice run ahead of time to be sure you have the kinks worked out and everyone participating knows how to use these tools.
    • Share family recipes for each household to make and have a meal together, virtually.
    • Involve children in creating table decorations that can be mailed to loved ones.
    • Consider sharing a short program including such things as a family prayer, topics of discussion (stay away from sensitive topics like politics or money), or reflections of gratitude from each person.

    Other ideas for staying connected, safely:

    • Be neighborly. If you know someone who is isolated because they are at high risk of having severe illness due to COVID-19, take them a meal. Be sure to say hello from a safe distance when delivering it to their porch or driveway.
    • Stream a concert, movie, sports event, parade or religious service to watch simultaneously with others. Host a group call afterwards to discuss.
    • Attend a socially distanced outdoor event, such as a holiday lights tour.
    • Play an online game with family or friends. Get a little friendly competition going by playing with two or a group, from wherever they are.
    • Offer help to someone who may not be able to get out for groceries via an online platform such as or a neighborhood Facebook group.
    • Host a virtual talent night for children on your favorite online platform.
    • Create an inspirational sign and hang it in your window.
    • Call those you care about regularly throughout the holiday season. It sounds simple, but that act alone is a great way to stay connected and keep each other’s spirits lifted.

    Clark added, “Acknowledge that things will be different this year. There will be losses but also, opportunities. It is good to re-evaluate how we do the holidays from time to time, to see what works or what is best to let go of. The pandemic forces us to do that this year. Focus on meaning and purpose, connecting to loved ones in new ways, and making care of ourselves a priority. This has been a tough year for all.”

    Stacey Kendrick, MS, is a health educator with more than 20 years of experience in wellness and population health. She is a mother to two adult daughters. In her free time, she teaches healthy cooking classes, runs, gardens and enjoys backyard bonfires.

    Fun Recipes to Make as a Family

    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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    Tips for Teens and Safe Driving
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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.