Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Volume 15 Issue 23 .                                                                                     Winter 2020

Safety Source

Thank you for being a Safety Source family! 
Winter Holiday Safety Edition

This week we want to talk about how to stay safe during the Winter Holiday Season. There are interactive tools for your children to learn about Winter 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, 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 holiday safety

Holiday Safety Activity

Learn how to stay safe during the holiday season! 

Interactive Quiz Holiday Safety

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

More Information for Parents

Information for parents about Winter Holiday Safety

Safety Tips for Holiday Toy Shopping

As the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges gift-givers to keep safety in mind when choosing toys for young children. According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 224,200 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2019. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges parents to avoid buying toys that can cause serious eye injuries, even blindness.

To keep the season safe, here’s what you need to know:

Always purchase age appropriate toys

It is important to understand that toys are designed to be used based on a child’s age. Be sure that younger children do not play with toys designed for older children as this can become a choking hazard. You can check the label and the instructions of the toy to determine the age appropriateness. A potential choking hazard is defined as anything that fits completely into a test cylinder slightly smaller than a toilet-paper tube, which approximates the size of a fully expanded throat of a child.2 As the holidays are near, we are encouraging all parents to revisit some of the areas in your home where small items and toys may be hiding such as underneath furniture and between the cushions of the couch. If your family has children of various ages, it is important to make sure that your smaller children do not have access to toys designed for older children.

Safety Labels and Guidelines for toys:

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission created the guidelines that toy makers have to follow when determining what is age appropriate for children. The CPSC now requires that toy makers label toys that are designed for children ages 3 to 6. The labels must specifically state that the toy is unsafe for children under age 3 and the reason for the warning. Parents are urged to become label readers. Look for and heed age recommendations, such as “Not recommended for children under three.” Look for other safety labels including: “Flame retardant/Flame resistant” on fabric products and “Washable/hygienic materials” on stuffed toys and dolls.2

Avoid Toys with Unsafe Lead Levels

Protect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry. Childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable.4 Young children tend to put their hands, toys, or other objects―which may be made of lead or contaminated with lead or lead dust―into their mouths.4. Be cautious of toys and decorations with unsafe lead levels. This can include artificial Christmas trees, lights, and magnets. Lead may be found in the paint, metal, and plastic parts of some toys and toy jewelry, particularly those made in other countries, as well as antique toys and collectibles. Fidget spinners have been identified as potentially having high levels of lead. They could contain unsafe levels of certain substances that the CPSC says kids should not be exposed to.2 If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing high levels of lead, or if your child has a recalled toy, take away the toy immediately and contact your child’s health care provider.

It is important to purchase the appropriate accessories for wheeled toys.

When selecting a wheeled toy, it is important to provide a helmet as well. This can include ATVs, bicycles, and scooters. According to the 2019 US Consumer Product Safety Commission report non-motorized scooters were associated with the most estimated injuries for children 12 years of age or younger and children 14 years of age or younger.

Be sure to buy both the appropriate size and type of helmet for both the child and the activity. Helmets ae not a one stop shop designed to protect children from all activities.

Consider magnets and battery-operated toys as a potential risk.

The law states that toy battery compartments can only be opened with a tool. If a toy’s battery compartment is able to be opened without a tool, report this violation to the CPSC and secure non-toy battery compartments like TV remotes with tape. Be careful with magnets. If a toy has magnet pieces be careful. High-powered magnet sets are a safety risk. Children can swallow loose magnets, causing serious intestinal injuries.

Check the CPSC’s toy recall website here to avoid buying any recalled products. Also, think twice before purchasing toys with sharp, protruding, or projectile parts. For more safety tips on ways to keep your family safe, visit our website here .

  1. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Toy-Related-Deaths-and-Injuries-2019.pdf?v6yNSJjbr4hygVOEEUztk3cSm9pc8et0
  2. https://www.consumerreports.org/child-safety/toy-safety-tips-holiday-gift-buying/
  3. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/Choking-Prevention.aspx
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/leadintoys/index.html
Keeping Your Family Safe While Decorating for the Holidays

Decorating your home for the holidays can be a joyous occasion. Staying safe during this time is just as important. Keep these safety tips in mind while preparing for the holidays:

Remember to always place your candles in area where it will not be knocked down.

Be sure to store away wrapping paper and any other decorations from your candles. Battery operated flameless candles can be a great alternative for families with small children.

Make sure that your Christmas tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, or lights.

Nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. The tree should not be blocking an exit and be sure to water your tree daily to avoid it becoming dry! Always inspect holiday lights each year before you put them up on your tree. Throw away any light strands that are frayed or have pinched wires. If purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it is fire-resistant. Reduce the risk of fire by decorating the tree with only flame-resistant materials. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation instructions.

Never leave a candle or holiday lights on unattended.

Always turn off your Christmas tree lights before leaving your home or going to bed.

Never leave a candle burning when going to bed or leaving the house. Do not leave children unattended alone with a burning candle or near a lit fireplace.

Keep choking hazards away from small children.

Be sure to keep decorations away from small children. This includes small objects like ornaments and things that hang on wreaths. Button batteries and magnetics can pose as choking hazards for infants and toddlers.

Be mindful of how you are using electrical outlets.

If you’re using extension cords or adapters that add receptacles, consider having a qualified electrician add more outlets to your home. Extension cords are a common cause of home fires.

Remember that phones and tablets should stay on your nightstand.

Overheated electronics under pillows and blankets are dangerous

Following these safety tips will keep you and your family safe during this joyous time of the year. Visit our website here for more home safety information for every member of your family.

  1. https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/ChristmasTreeSafetyTips.ashx
  2. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/611.pdf
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.

When buying a new car seat, it can be overwhelming because there are so many chooses. We will go over the different types of seats and what to look for when buying a new seat.

What features are most important to consider when selecting a seat?

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 the different types of seats before you buy a seat. Check the 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.

You also want to get a car seat that fits your child based on their height and weight. Each seat has height and weight restrictions, so it is always important to look at the seat labels.

Does every seat have to pass a safety check?

Each seat that you buy new has to pass several tests to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Each seat has also been crashed tested several times as well to meet FMVSS standards. Be sure to read Tips for Buying a Car Seat Online to ensure you are getting a seat that meets federal guidelines.

If a child can fit in an infant seat and a convertible seat, is one safer than the other?

Again, it is always important to look at the height and weight restrictions of the seat to make sure you get one that fits your child. There are several different seats you can use rear-facing, so it is important you get one that is best for your family and car. It is important remember that Tennessee State Law (T.C.A. 55-9-602) requires children under one year old and weighing less than twenty pounds must be in a rear-facing seat. The child must meet both of these requirements until moving to a forward-facing seat. Best practice suggests leaving a child rear facing for as long as possible until they exceed the height and weight requirements of the seat. A rear-facing seat refers to a seat that is in the opposite direction of the driver, where the child’s head is facing towards the front of the vehicle and the child’s feet are facing towards the back of the vehicle. Also, make sure to read both your car manual and your car seat manual before installing the seat. There may also be labels on the car seat that will help guide you through the installation process.

Types of Rear-Facing Seats:

  • Infant Only Seat-typically has a base and infant car seat that you can take in and out of the car. You will only be able to use this seat rear facing and once the child out grows the weight and height restrictions you need to buy a new seat.
  • Convertible Car Seat-can be used rear facing or forward facing. Once the child out grows the rear facing weight and height requirements, you can move the seat to forward facing and continue to use the seat. These seats typically do not come with a base. When looking into a seat that you can use for a longer, a convertible seat may be a good option because of being able to use it rear facing or forward facing depending on the height and weight of the child.
  • All in one car seat-This car seat can typically be used from birth to booster seat. It is a larger seat so if you have a small vehicle this is something to consider. You can use this type of seat rear-facing, forward-facing, and as a booster seat. Always check the height and weight restrictions when using the seat in different ways.

Do Car Seats Expire? Can the base expire? How bad of a car wreck does it need to be before replacing a car seat and/or base?

Most car seats only last six years and expire six years from the date of manufacture. This is because the plastics from which the seats are made break down due to heat and sun exposure. Typically, the manufacturer will print the seat's expiration date on the restraint. If you cannot identify the expiration date on the product, call the manufacturer and provide the model number and date of manufacture to learn the expiration date.

We do not recommend donating your used car seat. Used seats may be expired – every seat comes with an expiration date. A buyer would have no way of knowing if the seat had been in a wreck. Some safety features or parts may be missing, and the owner’s manual would likely not be included. For these reasons, many thrift stores will not accept donations of car seats.

Child safety seats are designed to perform properly in only one crash. That's it, one. We thus discourage the use of restraints that have already been involved in a motor vehicle crash, even if there is no identifiable damage to the seat. If you do not know the history of the seat, refrain from using it rather than assuming it is safe. No matter how small the car wreck is the car seat needs to be replaced. Always mention to your insurance company that there was a car seat involved in the wreck as sometimes they help cover the cost of a new seat.

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-seats/buying-guide/index.htm

https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/faqs/#faq-2

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#car-seat-types

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
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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