MAKE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON HAPPY, NOT HAZARDOUS
'Tis the season for memories and merriment. Unfortunately, though,
'tis also the season for injuries and mishaps. Arthur Kellermann, M.D.,
professor and chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine,
and director, the Emory Center for Injury Control, offers the following
tips on how to make this holiday season a happy one.
- Fasten your seatbelt every time you get in a car. Motor
vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United
States. Fastening your seatbelt is the single most important thing
you can do to survive a crash or escape serious injury.
- Place your children in a properly secured child safety seat
every time you drive. Proper use of restraints is just as important
for kids as it is for adults.
- Don't drink and drive. If you are planning to attend a holiday
party, make sure that your car has a "designated driver" who will
refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages.
- If you give your child a bicycle, skates or a scooter as a holiday
gift, make sure you give them the proper safety gear as well.
A properly worn bicycle helmet reduces the chances of a serious head
injury in a crash by as much as 85 percent. Wrist guards significantly
reduce the chance of a broken wrist while skating. Modern protective
gear works, and it looks cool!
- Make sure your smoke detector is in working order and has a
fresh battery. A properly functioning smoke detector reduces the
risk of death in a house fire by 50 percent.
- Check your holiday lights to make sure that the power cords
are not frayed or damaged, and don't overload the outlet or use too
many extension cords! Misused holiday lights are a common cause
of house fires.
- Do not to buy toys with small parts for toddlers. They can
choke on them.
- Treat "BB" and pellet guns like a real firearm. If you buy
one, keep it out of the reach of children, and only allow them to
use it under the supervision of a responsible adult. Modern air rifles
are not "toys." Some of them can shoot a pellet with the same muzzle
velocity of a bullet!
- Keep gifts, loose wrapping paper, and extension cords out of
the way, especially at night. They can cause someone to trip and
fall. Falls are the leading cause of hip fractures and other injuries
among senior citizens. They can cause permanent disability or death.
- Don't buy a "baby walker" for your baby, or any one else's baby.
Baby walkers not only delay a baby's normal motor development - they
are dangerous as well. Kids in baby walkers can zoom down steps, breaking
bones or sustaining a serious head injury in the process.