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Seasonal risks increase as Minnesotans spring into action


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March 11, 2016

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With warmer temperatures comes seasonal safety risks to Minnesota families, but with a little extra caution, everyone can safely open their windows, dust off their bikes and get rid of that unsightly brush in the backyard. Below are three areas that families should be cautious of.

Window falls

Opening windows is a symbol of what’s to come this time of year. But with open windows comes a forgotten danger. On average, Regions-Gillette Level I Trauma Center sees more than six children fall from second-story windows each year.

Prevention: Regions Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist, Shonette Doggett, suggests:

  • Remember that screens are designed to keep insects out – they are not able to keep people in
  • Keep windows closed and locked
  • Install window guards, preventing windows from opening more than four inches
  • Provide close supervision of children and teach them not to play near windows
  • Keep beds, chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows
  • Include windows in a home emergency escape plan, identifying that all doors and windows can be used.

Burns

From Christmas trees to brush after a long winter, fires will be burning as part of our spring cleaning. With that, there can be fire hazards. Christmas trees, specifically, can burn like they have been soaked in gasoline. The dry needles burn very fast and very hot and can cause serious burn injuries. Each year, Regions Hospital Burn Center sees an average of 10 children with serious campfire burns. Just like a campfire, burning brush can be dangerous for children and for adults if a fire is unsupervised or if it gets out of control.

Prevention: Regions Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist, Shonette Doggett, suggests:

  • Never burn on windy or high fire risk days
  • Remove all decorations from the tree before you burn
  • Cut the tree into manageable sections
  • Don’t leave the fire until it is completely burnt out
  • Keep a hose and shovel on hand
  • Never use an accelerant to start a fire such as gasoline

Bike helmets

An average of 30 children a year are admitted to the Regions-Gillette Level I Pediatric Trauma Center after bicycle accidents. That number increases when including adult injuries from bicycles. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent the easiest way to prevent the risk of head injuries.

Prevention: Regions Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist, Shonette Doggett, suggests to tell children these life-saving tips:

  • “Use your head, wear a helmet.” It’s the single most effective way to reduce head injuries
  • Understand the rules and teach your children basic skills such as riding on the right hand side of the road and following traffic laws
  • Provide supervision for children and model safe behavior
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Use safety devices such as lights, reflective materials, and gloves
  • Remember helmets are important for any wheeled activity, not just bicycles
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