Thank you for being a Safety Source family! Winter Safety Edition
This week we would like to share several safety tips on how to stay safe during the winter months while both at home and in the car. In this week's newsletter, you will find interactive tools for your children to learn about winter safety as well as helpful 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 any way! 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!
Video for Kids
Interactive video for kids to learn about winter safety.
Winter Word Search
See how many winter words you can find!
Interactive Winter Safety Quiz
Test your child's knowledge about fun winter safety through an interactive online quiz.
More Information for Parents
Information for parents to prepare for the winter months.
Tips for using the LATCH System with Car Seats
LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This system was designed to ease the correct installation of child safety seats without using seat belts. LATCH compatibility is in all auto seats, including those in convertibles, as well as in all forward-facing child safety and booster seats made after Sept. 1, 2012. Vehicles made after 2003 should feature anchors installed for LATCH. You can use the LATCH system or the seat belt but just don’t use both together. Both are safe for your child but again should never be used together. It is important to check the weight limit of the LATCH system by reading both your car manual and the car seat manual. The weight restriction includes the weight of the child and the weight of the car seat so it is important to double-check to make sure the LATCH system is still safe to use depending on your child’s weight and the weight of the seat.
The system consists of two main straps.
The lower anchor straps
The tether strap (typically just used with a forward-facing seat only)
Lower anchors are a pair of metal U-shaped bars hidden in the vehicle’s seat crack. Use them to fasten the anchor straps. The tether anchor, often a ring or bar, is found behind the vehicle seat, which is typically just used on a forward-facing seat. Always consult your vehicle owner’s manual to locate appropriate LATCH anchors for each seating position. Some seating positions may not be equipped with LATCH.
The LATCH system does have weight limits. You should not use the lower LATCH anchors once your child and car seat reach a combined weight of 65 lbs between the car seat and the child’s weight. Make sure to always check both your car manual and your car seat manual to find out the specified weight restrictions. Excess weight could cause the lower anchors to detach during a crash.
Car seats manufactured after February 2014 will have a label that clearly defines the maximum weight limit for installing that car seat with lower anchors. That maximum weight limit should be 65 lbs when the car seat weight and the child’s weight are combined.
Shortly before the February 2014 final rule went into effect, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added a few additional stipulations to the requirements for this labeling. Allowing for the child restraint to round the maximum weight limit to the nearest number ending in 0 or 5. All car seats made after February 2015 are required to comply with this final version of the labeling requirements.
A tether strap helps protect the child’s head and neck and decrease the risk for injury if you were involved in a wreck. Always use the top tether strap with safety seats in the forward-facing position, in addition to either the lower anchor strap or the seatbelt. The tether strap is not needed in the rear-facing position. A tether strap keeps a forward-facing seat from tipping forward in a crash. Without it, the child’s head and neck will be jerked forward, hitting the back of the seat in front of them. Using a tether could be the difference between a brain injury or no injury at all.
Booster seats are used with a lap and shoulder belt over the child’s body instead of a five-point harness. Not all booster seats are compatible with LATCH. If yours is, consult the seat manufacturer’s manual for instructions on proper use. If your seat has the LATCH system, it can be used to prevent the booster seat from flying into other occupants if the vehicle is in a crash when the child is not in the seat. With boosters that do not have LATCH, you must buckle the booster into the seat when unoccupied.
Using your car manual and car seat manual:
Always read both your car manual and the car seat manual to find the weight restrictions of the LATCH system. Your car manual will also tell you which seats have the LATCH system and can be used with the lower anchors. We have videos created about the car seat manual and the car manual to help you navigate the important parts of each manual. It will also tell you where you can attach the tether strap to your vehicle. It is important to make sure you know the difference between the lower anchors and the tether strap so you do not install them in the wrong location. Each will be labeled with a symbol on the car seat and also in the manuals that help you distinguish the difference between the tether strap and lower anchors. You may also have a label on your car seat that tells you the weight restrictions of the lower anchors. For more information about car seat labels, watch our video on car seat labels.
There will clearly be a label on the seat that states the weight limit when using the low anchors, which will include the weight of the child and the weight of the seat.
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!
As more snow piles up in Middle Tennessee, children will have opportunities to experience the thrill of sledding. While sledding offers children a memorable way to enjoy winter weather it is important to note that these activities are capable of leading to serious injuries and, in severe cases, death. Adults should be mindful of the following information to make sure all sledders remain safe:
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) there were nearly 14,000 sledding-related injuries treated in US emergency departments (EDs) in 2017 alone.1
Injuries typically occur when the sled hits a stationary object or when the child falls off.
The most frequently injured body part is the head and common injuries include bruises, cuts, and broken bones.2
Preparing to Sled
Ensure that children are under adult supervision at all times.
Provide children with proper safety equipment, most importantly a helmet. (Tip: Try to get your little one a properly-fitting winter sports helmet, but bicycle helmets will suffice)
Children must be dressed for warmth for outdoor activities during the winter. Consider dressing children in multiple layers and purchasing accessories such as thick gloves, mittens, and snow boots.
Avoid wearing a dangling scarf because it can cause strangulation or neck injury while sledding.3
Consider splurging on a sled that has features like steering or braking for the safest sledding experience.
Regardless of what sled you choose, inspect your equipment carefully to ensure it is in good condition and devoid of any sharp edges.
Set reasonable time limits on outdoor winter play to prevent children from developing hypothermia or frostbite.
Finding the Perfect Spot
Look for spacious, well-lit, gently-sloping hills with a level run-off at the end to allow the sled to safely slow to a stop.
Avoid sledding in the vicinity of rivers, streams, or ponds.
Do not sled on public streets, driveways, rocky hills, or parking lots.
Avoid sledding near a cliff or on hills that end in a steep (slope of greater than 30°) drop off.4
Have children sit face-forward on their sleds with their feet downhill. Doing so will minimize the risk of sustaining a serious head injury.
Take turns sledding to avoid collisions.
Kids under the age of 5 should sled with an adult.5
Walk up the side of hills to leave the middle area open for fellow sledders.
Never pull a sled with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or snowmobile.
Communicate with your kids as they go down the hill should any obstacle arise.
Winter Sports Safety Tips
Here are some additional tips to follow if your kids are into figure skating, snowboarding, or simply playing in the snow:
Make sure that kids who are participating in winter sports have properly-fitting safety equipment, such as helmets, mouth guards, shin guards, knee pads, and elbow pads.
Be sure to keep kids hydrated before, during and after outdoor winter activities
Wear sunscreen and warm clothes.
Taking these necessary precautions both before and during sledding adventures creates a safer environment for everyone involved. Strive to keep you and your kids safe on the hill this winter without taking away from the thrill of sledding.
Tips to Prevent Carbon Dioxide Poisoning and Fire Safety
With the drop in temperature during the cold winter months, space heaters become a popular addition to living spaces along with increased use of electrical appliances. However, it is vital to be aware of these potential hazards in your home if not used with caution.
Local fire departments respond to approximately 1.3 million fires per year, and these fires lead to a reported 16,600 fire injuries. Make sure to check your smoke alarms at least once a month and change the batteries annually as a preventative measure. Replace your smoke alarm if it is more than 10 years old and make sure to have a working fire extinguisher.
Some more fire safety tips:
Do not allow children to play with matches or lighters. Keep them out of reach.
Do not overload circuits or electrical outlets.
Cook with care! Never leave food unattended on the stove and restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, and microwaves.
Use caution with heat-generating appliances, especially space heaters.
Create a fire escape plan with family members. If a fire breaks out, get out and call 911.
Carbon monoxide (CO), often known as the invisible killer, is an odorless, colorless gas that is released when fuels are burned. Space heater, vehicles, furnaces, water heaters, or cooking equipment can be sources of CO. Each year, around 430 people die from accidental CO poisoning with 50,000 people being treated for CO poisoning at emergency departments.
Here are some safety tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
Install a CO alarm inside your home near all sleeping areas. Test it monthly.
Place the CO alarm at least 15 feet away from any fuel-burning appliances.
Have gas, oil or coal-burning appliances, chimneys and fireplaces checked by a professional each year.
Do not use a kitchen stove or oven to heat your home.
Never use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or basement.
Do not leave your car or motorcycle engine running inside a garage, even with the garage door open.
Remember to seek prompt medical help if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
According to the Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle, a new report published by the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) and Ford Motor Company Fund nationally, from 2015 to 2019, 15,510 teen drivers ages 16 to 19 were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes. More than one-third of those crashes (5,202) involved speeding. During that same time period, the state of Tennessee experienced 334 total teen fatality crashes. Of the 334 deaths, 91 (27 %) of those crashes were speed-related fatalities.
Within every age group, male drivers accounted for speeding more than females. Teen drivers account for the highest age group regarding speed related crashes with that percentage decreasing with age and experience. Speeding increases both the likelihood of being in a crash and the level of the crash severity.1 Speeding causes the severity of the crash to increase due to the reduced time a driver has to react to unforeseen dangers such as an unexpected animal, a pedestrian, or a bend in the road. In fatal related crashes where speeding was a factor, the driver lost control of the vehicle resulting in a head-on crash with trees, utility poles, parked cars, and other objects.
Driving at night and drowsy driving are other risk factors for teen drivers. Driving at night is extremely risky due to the lack of cars on the road, and the potential of the driver driving impaired. Drowsy driving crashes occur most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m. The National Sleep Foundation says drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.2 The percentage of speeding-related fatal crashes that occurred at night among teen drivers was lowest for 16-year-olds and increased with age.1 For 16- to 19-year-old drivers combined, 51% of all fatal crashes occurred in the dark. Driver licensing laws and family restrictions may have played a role in why 16-year-old drivers had the lowest percentage for their age group.
“Wear a seat belt. It saves lives.” While this rule is one we have often heard, more than half of all teen drivers killed in speeding related crashes were unrestrained.1
Passengers are also a big risk factor in teen driving crashes. Conversations with multiple passengers can be incredibly distracting, and peer pressure can lead to dangerous behaviors like speeding or recklessness. Did you know adding two passengers under the age of 21 doubles the risk of car crash for a teen driver? Graduated licensing laws limit the number of passengers a teen driver can have to help the new driver stay safe,
If you are a parent, there are a few things you can do to help keep your teen driver safe.
Model safe driving behavior. It is important that you model safe driving behavior to your teen. This includes having relatable conversations and modeling that behavior in your driving.
Utilize a parent teen driving agreement to guide your safe driving conversation with your teen by clicking here.
Consider using a smartphone app that encourages and monitors your teen’s driving behavior.
While speeding is a risk factor for all drivers, teenagers (and other novice drivers) are at greater risk for serious crashes when speeding. 1 Inexperience and the lack of maturity can play a role in teen driving. Help your loved ones stay safe by visiting our teen driving website here.
We are so excited to have two interns as part of our team!
is a Dallas native and current Senior at Vanderbilt University majoring in Human and Organizational Development as well as Medicine Health & Society. He is an intern for the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program who is focused on creating injury prevention programming to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Omar is thrilled to be joining this amazing team. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, and working as a research assistant at VUMC.
is a third year undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University from Connecticut. She is studying Medicine, Health, and Society and chemistry and hopes to attend medical school in the future. Maia is an intern for the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program and is excited to incorporate her passion for public health and accessibility advocacy into her work with the program. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, exploring Nashville, and coaching ski racing back home.
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.
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.
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