Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Volume 14 Issue 12 .                                                                                             Summer 2020

Safety Source

Thank you for being a Safety Source family!

Water Safety Tips Edition

This week we want to focus on Water Safety Tips and provide you with tips on how to keep your whole family safe this summer. There are interactive tools for your children to learn the importance of Water 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 Water Safety Tips and how to stay safe this summer. 

Activities for Kids to learn about Water Safety

Lots of activities to learn about Water Safety and how you can help your family stay safe. 

Interactive Quiz about Summer Safety

Test your child's knowledge about Water Safety topics through an interactive online quiz. 

More Information for Parents

Information for parents about Water Safety Tips

Home Swimming Pool Safety: Helpful Tips to Prevent Drownings

Water safety is important for all ages, but especially for toddlers. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death in children 1-4. Young children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and it can happen quickly and silently. The biggest drowning threat facing families with toddlers is unexpected, unsupervised access to water: swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, bathtubs, natural bodies of water such as ponds, and standing water in homes. For example, 69% of all drownings among children age 4 and younger happen during non-swim times.

Preventing unintended, unsupervised access to water is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce drowning deaths among young children.

Pool fencing recommendations:

  • 4 feet, 4 sides. The pool fence should be at least 4 feet high and surround the pool, separating it from the house and the rest of the yard.
  • Climb-proof. The fence shouldn't have any footholds, handholds, or objects such as lawn furniture or play equipment the child could use to climb over the fence. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. (If they are used, make sure openings are 1¾ inches or smaller in size).
  • Slat space. To ensure a small child can't squeeze through the fence, make sure vertical slats have no more than 4 inches of space between them. This will also help keep small pets safe, too.
  • Latch height. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that only opens out, away from the pool area. The latch should be out of a child's reach—at least 54 inches from the ground.
  • Gate locked, toy-free. When the pool is not in use, make sure the gate is locked. Keep toys out of the pool area when it is not in use.

Alarms. A child drowning is rarely heard: Beyond a fence, additional layers of protection such as pool alarms, door and gate alarms, and pool covers can provide some added safety around a pool. Make sure alarms are in good shape with fresh batteries, and keep in mind none are substitutes for a properly installed pool fence.

  • Pool alarms. Children can drown within seconds, with barely a splash. Swimming pool alarms can detect waves on the water's surface and sound off to attract attention when someone has fallen into the pool.
  • Consider alarms on the pool fence gate and house doors. Door and gate alarms can be equipped with touchpads to let adults pass through without setting them off. House doors should be locked if a child could get to the pool through them.
  • Window guards. These can be especially helpful for windows on the house that face the pool.

Consider swim lessons :Taking swim lessons absolutely cannot “drown-proof” anyone, but according to a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), swimming lessons maybe beneficial to children between the ages of 1 and 4. The right time to start depends on an individual child’s emotional and physical readiness. Ask your pediatrician for guidance.

Enjoy summer swimming but be vigilant and follow all safety precautions to keep your little ones safe.

Source: Healthy

The Importance of Personal Floatation Devices

School’s out for the summer, and many families like to spend this time at the pool, the lake, or the beach. When swimming, boating, playing water sports, or performing any other water activity, it is important to keep in mind some important safety tips regarding personal flotation devices, or PFDs. PFDs, better known as life jackets, are devices that help the wearer stay afloat and above water and can help prevent drowning.

There are several types of PFDs, with Type II and Type III recommended for children to wear. Type II provides extra head support for children who need additional help staying above water. Type III is recommended for children who know how to swim and can keep their head above water. Children should always wear one of these two life jackets if they are in or around water. Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard show that nearly 85% of drowning victims are not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket can help keep your children safe.

Here are some additional tips regarding PFD and life jacket safety:

  • Swim floaties, tubes, and pool noodles do NOT prevent drowning and should not be used in place of a life jacket. These devices can be used in addition to life jackets but should never be used alone.
  • Always check to make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved and appropriate for the activity you are doing. This information can be found on a label inside the jacket.
  • Life jackets for children come in three different sizes based on weight: Infant (8-30 pounds), Child (30-50 pounds), and Youth (50-90 pounds). Check to make sure your child is wearing the right size.
  • To see if a life jacket fits, after tightening all straps and zippers for a snug fit, pull up on the shoulders of the jacket. If the life jacket comes up to the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or not fastened tight enough.
  • There are two types of life jackets- inherently buoyant (made of foam) and inflatable. Children’s life jackets should always be inherently buoyant. Inflatable life jackets are not recommended for children under the age of 16.

Spending time together at the pool or beach should be a fun summertime activity for families, but always be careful and follow all safety precautions to keep you and your family safe.


Open Water Safety

As we approach the summer season, the desire to want cool off in the pool or open water increases. Unfortunately, so does the number of childhood drownings. Among the various settings where childhood drownings can occur, open water drowning is the most common. It is extremely important to always keep an eye on your children when playing and swimming in the water because most open water drownings occur when children are already in the water playing.1 It is important to be aware of the dangers associated with swimming in open water. Keep these hidden hazards in mind when trying to protect your family:

  • Currents and Tides: Currents in rivers and creeks can be fast moving. Some currents are not visible and are often under the water’s surface. This is very different than pool swimming. Do not try to fight or try to swim against the current.
  • Limited visibility: Lakes and ponds are often murky. This can cause it to be hard to see if a child falls in. For this reason, it is important to always keep an eye on your children.
  • Potential depth dangers: Typically, open water areas do not have depth markers. This means that families are unaware of how deep the water can actually run. Open water areas can also have sudden drop-off areas.
  • Check the weather: Open water temperatures varies from the temperatures in pool water. They are often colder than pool water and can affect the swimmer’s body and confidence.

Tips to Keep your children safe:

  • Rotating water watcher duty: Assign an adult to be the water watcher and rotate this job while your children are in the water. Consider rotating in and out every 15-20 minutes.
  • Always keep an eye on your child while in the water: It is important to keep young children at an arm’s length. Older children who are stronger swimmers should always have a partner.
  • Teach children that open water swimming is different than swimming in a pool: Open water swimming typically has uneven surfaces and possible sudden drop offs.
  • Learn basic water rescue skills and CPR: Learning CPR can be valuable skill that applies to swimming in both the open water and the pool.
  • Use a life jacket: Consider buying your child a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that is appropriate for your child’s weight and the water activity.
  • Feet protection: Due to the murkiness of the water, make sure your child has on either water shoes or aqua socks to protect their feet from hidden rocks and logs.
  • Make sure your child knows how to swim: It is important to teach your child how to swim. Consider enrolling him or her in swim lessons to boost their confidence.

It is important to know the hidden hazards of open water swimming and how to keep your children and families safe.





100 Deadliest Days of the Year for Teen Drivers
  • Wear your seat belt
    • One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Over 14,000 lives were saved by seat belts in 2017. 1 Air bags are not enough to protect you in a crash. Air bags are designed to work alongside seat belt use, not replace them. Teen drivers should require always wear a seat belt and require their passengers to do the same.
  • Limit Passengers
    • Conversations with multiple passengers can be incredibly distracting, and peer pressure can lead to dangerous behaviors like speeding or recklessness. Graduated Driver Licensing laws limit the number of passengers allowed at one time. Check your state’s GDL law and how it applies to you. Did you know adding two passengers under the age of 21 doubles the risk of car crash for a teen driver?
  • Don’t Drive Drowsy
    • The National Sleep Foundation says drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsy driving crashes occur most often between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Don’t drive impaired
    • Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that's one person every 50 minutes.3 Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime. If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Call an UBER, a sober friend, or possibly a family member.
  • Avoid distractions
    • Every day in the US, nine people die from a distracted-driving-related motor vehicle crash, with six of these deaths being teens aged 16 to 19. Distracted driving extends further than texting and driving. It also includes, listening to music or eating can take focus away from the road.
  • Reduce Night Driving
    • The inexperience of a teen driver mixed with unfamiliar roads can result in a crash.
  • Watch out for Construction Zones
    • You can receive a big ticker if you do not abide by the construction zone advisement. This also applies to moving over for emergency vehicles on the highway
  • Know the Roads
    • If possible, take the time to review the road signs and driving laws. It is important for them to become familiar with the road rules.

It is important to talk with your child early and to continuously host safe driving conversations throughout their driving experience because laws change. Parents play a key role in empowering their teens to practice safe driving behaviors!

Click for more information about Teen Driving Safety
Labels on Car Seats

Labels on car seats provide critical safety information that is specific to your car seat. The labels are required by the federal guidelines and help you ensure your seat has all the safety features. There will a sticker that states the seat has been test crashed in accordance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS213).

It will also provide the weight and height limits of the seat and any limitations that may need to be considered. It is always important to locate this information on the seat so you can make sure the car seat is the appropriate seat for your child. It will also help you determine if it is time for your child to move to another time of seat.

Also, you will find information about the manufacturer, date of manufacture, the manufacture’s name, and model number. This will be important information to help you when you register your car seat to get updates and recall information about your seat.

Also, on the seat there will be an air bag warning reminding you to never place a rear facing seat in front of active air bag. Again, it is important to locate where your air bags are in your car so that you know the best place to put the car seat. The warning label will also remind you that the back seat is the safest place for children under the age of 12 years old.

The labels will also provide basic information on how to correctly install the seat and show you where the seat belt path may be located as well as where the lower anchors are in the seat. If the seat is a convertible type of seat, there may be two belt pathways, but it is important to make sure you secure the car seat with the correct belt path.

If the seat is a rear facing seat, there will be a label that helps guide you to make sure the child is reclined correctly in the seat. This may look different depending on the seat but might look like a line to level the seat with, or another visual to help you position the seat in the appropriate reclined position for your child.

There may also be labels that show you how to use different parts of the seat such as the tether system, lower anchors, and harness system.

Labels will also provide you with information about how the car seat can be washed as well as the material the seat is made of and how to clean specific parts.

There may also be a label that states the seat meets airline requirements when flying. Many airlines will look for this sticker to ensure the seat is safe to use on an airplane.

Often, the manufacture’s number and website may be located on the seat, so you know who to contact if you have questions about the seat. There may also be a QR code that helps provide you with installation videos as guidance.

Car seat labels are a critical safety feature that helps guide you to make sure your seat is as safe as possible. Again, we do not recommend that you use a used or second-hand seat because the labels may be missing, and you do not know if the seat has been in a wreck. While it may be tempting to remove your stickers from your car seat, make sure you leave all the stickers on the seat to ensure all safety features are followed correctly.

Click for more information about Car Seats
How to make Water Themed 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

Carson Stratton

is a Tallahassee, Florida native and senior at Auburn University majoring in health services administration and minoring in business. She is currently interning with the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program, doing research, forming best practice guidelines, and creating educational information. She is very excited and grateful for this opportunity to work with the team. In her spare time, she loves spending time with friends, going to Auburn football games, playing tennis, and watching Friends and The Office.

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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.