Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Volume 15 Issue 22 .                                                                                     Fall 2020

Safety Source

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

This week we want to talk about how to stay safe during Thanksgiving especially with COVID-19. There are interactive tools for your children to learn about Thanksgiving 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 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 Thanksgiving and COVID-19

Thanksgiving and COVID-19 Safety

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others, but if you choose to host a gathering, here are things to keep in mind.

Our traditional holiday celebrations and gatherings are just around the corner and many of us are making plans. Meanwhile, public health officials are urging all Americans to use extreme caution as we prepare for what is sure to be a holiday season like no other, because of the dangers of exposure to COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued detailed Thanksgiving guidelines on how to stay safe during celebrations during COVID-19. Foremost, avoiding travel and participating in virtual celebrations is the lowest risk choice we can make. Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

However, if you will be celebrating with others, it is advised that celebration groups be kept small, are well-ventilated and that gatherings are limited.

If you are choosing to host a gathering with individuals from outside your immediate household, the following Thanksgiving guidelines for COVID-19 can help you to prepare for your holidays with safety in mind:

  • Limit the size of the group. The CDC does not recommend a specific number of attendees. However, they advise that the size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability to reduce or limit contact between attendees, the risk of spread between attendees, and by mandates by state and local health officials.
  • Quarantine. Consider asking all guests to strictly avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Practice preventive measures. Mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented. Ask everyone to wear a mask when not eating or drinking, to adhere to social distancing, and use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Stay outside. Plan the event for outdoors, or on a screened porch, if the weather permits. If hosting an outdoor event is not possible, and you choose to host an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, or fully enclosed indoor spaces. Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors.
  • Minimize gestures that promote close contact. Avoid shaking hands, bumping elbows or giving hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet others.
  • Avoid buffet-style serving dishes and utensils. Encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only. If you will be serving any food to a group, consider having one person serve all of the food, so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils. Require servers to wear a mask while serving.

Read the complete Thanksgiving guidelines on staying safe during holiday celebrations on the CDC website. There you will find specifics on who should not attend in-person gatherings, how to handle overnight guests in your home and what to do if someone is exposed to COVID-19 during a holiday event.

The bottom line for this year is that staying home with your immediate household group is the safest choice. And, the more preventive measures that you put in place, the safer your gathering will be. No one measure is enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the Smart Way to Shop this Holiday season

Black Friday will look very different this year. In the past, friends and family would gather and shoppers would camp outside of stores, eagerly awaiting the chance to get in first and make those deals. Times have changed. This year is anything but normal. With the COVID-19 pandemic stores are offering more deals than ever online, and we advise against unnecessary trips to the store.

During Black Friday shopping, it is strongly recommended individuals do not participate in any traditional Black Friday shopping where customers gather in large groups waiting for the store to open or are in crowded stores for extended times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified “shopping at crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving” on a list of higher-risk activities to avoid. Any large gathering of people poses an increased risk for spreading COVID-19. It is also recommended that people who are at high risk for COVID-19 complications (e.g., people over 65 years of age or with underlying chronic conditions) limit in-person shopping if possible.

If you do plan to visit the stores to shop, here are some safety recommendations to keep in mind:

Before You Go Shopping:

  • Check to see if the store offers online shopping or curbside pick-up that can be used instead of in-person shopping
  • Check to see the store hours and consider going at off-times, so there are fewer people in the store
  • Check to see if the stores offer special hours for people with high risk for severe illness
  • Wear a cloth face mask and bring hand sanitizer with you to the store

When You Are Out Shopping:

  • Follow the three important rules: Wear a face covering, Wait Six Feet from other people, and Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer
  • Use hand sanitizer before you enter the store and after you exit. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you return home.
  • Have a list of items to buy to limit browsing and do not unnecessarily touch multiple items
  • Shop only in stores that have implemented proper safety protocols. Examples include but are not limited to stores that:
    • Sanitize shopping carts between uses
    • Use touchless payment methods
    • Limit occupancy o Have social-distancing reminders in-place

We wish for your family a season filled with good health and happiness! Visit our injury prevention tip page to learn more

Preventing Burns with Children

The smell of cookies baking in the oven or tasty sauces simmering on the stovetop is hard to resist for adults and children alike. However, before you dip your finger into the pot to taste that delicious soup, know that scalds from cooking liquids, grease and food, as well as tap water and steam were responsible for 46 percent of all burns in 2012.

Scalds are the most common burn injury among young children, and one of the leading causes of accidental death in the home for children under age four. U.S. hospitals treat an estimated 110,000 people under 19 for scalds every year.

While thousands of scald burns occur annually, increased awareness of the dangers can prevent injuries. To help people be mindful of scald burns, the American Burn Association has declared the first week of February National Burn Awareness Week.

Following a few simple precautions will help keep you and your little chef safe from potential burns.

  1. Always supervise children in the kitchen and dining areas.
  2. Create a “No Child Zone” while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages.
  3. Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, place the child into a high chair or other safe area.
  4. Children love to reach. So, to prevent hot food or liquid spills, use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from its edge. Also, keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
  5. Keep clothing from coming into contact with flames or heating elements.
  6. A small adjustment to your water heater can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
  7. Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline and lighters in a safe place out of children’s reach. Avoid novelty lighters. They may look like toys to a child’s eyes.
  8. When filling the bathtub turn on cold water first, then mix in warmer water carefully.

National Burn Awareness Week is the perfect time to share this information, develop a home fire drill, check your smoke alarms and make your kitchen safe for your little chef in training.

Traveling during COVID-19

Thanksgiving may look a little bit different this year. With COVID-19 cases at an all-time high, the holidays will seem different. 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. 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. For more information on teen driving, visit our website here.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html
  2. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/about/webstate.cfm
Tips for Buying Car Seats online

As the holidays approach, it can be a good time to think about buying a car seat. There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when you are buying a seat and also how to make sure you are not getting a counterfeit seat. With COVID-19 online shopping will be a good option to avoid crowded areas, but it is important to follow a couple of guidelines to ensure you get a seat that meets federal safety guidelines.

When buying a seat, it is important to get one that fits your child, one that fits in your car, and one you can install correctly every time. It is always important to check the height and weight limit of the seat to ensure you get one that is appropriate for your child. You can learn more about and the different types of seats before you buy a seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has developed resources to help you know which type of seat to use and also gives you the option to compare various types of seats. Once you know which type of seat to buy, it is important that you buy one that meets federal guidelines. When buying online, it can be difficult to make sure you are getting the seat from a third-party, which may increase the risk for a counterfeit seat.

A couple things to keep in mind when you are buying a car seat online:

  • Buy the seat directly from the manufacture so you can ensure the seat is not a knock off or counterfeit seat.
  • Be carefully when buying seats off amazon or other sites that allow third parties to sell seats, which greatly increases the risk of getting a counterfeit seat, which is unsafe as it probably does not meet the federal safety guidelines.
    • Even if the seat looks very similar to the manufacture seats, it may not have met safety standards
  • Be careful with deals that seem too good to be true or the seat is being sold for very cheap.
  • Check the American Academy of Pediatrics to see if the seat is listed on the website. All the seats that are listed on the website meet federal safety guidelines.
  • When buying from a retailer, make sure it is a reputable retailer who sells seats directly from the manufacture such as Target, Buy Buy Baby, Nordstrom etc.
    • Also, check to make sure they have return policy, where the seat can be easily returned.
  • Never buy a used or secondhand seat off of eBay or Facebook marketplace. We do not recommend buying a used seat because you do not know the history of the seat and if the seat has been in a wreck or is missing any of the safety features.

After you bought the seat, you can look for a couple of things to ensure the seat meets federal safety guidelines and safety requirements.

  • Every new car seat should come with a registration form that you should fill out in order to get important recall information. You can learn more about registering your car seat and how to do it once you locate the label.
  • Check for labels and make sure there is one on the seat that says it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
  • Check to make sure the seat came with an owner’s manual and instructions on how to install the seat.
  • Look to see if there is a label on the car seat that has height and weight restrictions.
  • Locate the model number, date of manufacture, and name of seat, which is typical on a label on the bottom of the seat.

If you cannot locate any of these items, contact the seller and see if you can return the seat. Do not use the seat unless you can find the FMVSS label. It can be very dangerous to use a counterfeit or knock off seat as the risk for injuries goes up significantly.

Holidays can be a great time to get or receive gifts and car seats are such a critical safety item for your child. When bought correctly, the gift you will be giving will help keep your child as safe as possible.

Click for more information about Car Seats
Playdates with Children

As both the Thanksgiving and Winter break for schools approaches, children may want to play with friends now more than ever. The pandemic has been stressful for everyone including children. Socializing and interacting with peers can be a healthy way for children to cope with stress and connect with others.1 However, the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit close contact with others as much as possible. It is important to remember that the more people your child interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.1

The CDC explains the different risk levels relating to playdates1:

  • High risk activities: Frequent indoor playdates with multiple friends or families who are not practicing everyday preventive measures. Children do not maintain a distance of 6 feet from each other.
  • Medium risk activities: Infrequent playdates with the same family or friend who is also practicing everyday preventive measures. Children maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from each other during the playdate and the playdate is usually held outside.
  • Low risk activities: No in-person playdates. Children connect virtually (via phone calls and video chats).

Children aged two and older should wear a mask when in public and around other people who do not live in their home. If your child plays with other children, it is important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, TV remotes, and light switches. Remind your child that practicing proper hand washing skills everyday will help to keep them healthy. Parents can be the best example for teaching their child how to be safe. This is involves being a role model by always wearing a mask, practicing consistent hand washing, keeping a safe distance from others. For more information on how to keep your family safe while at home, visit our website here.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/protect-children.html
  2. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx
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
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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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.

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