community newsletter from  the  Comprehensive Children's Injury Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
WINTER 2016-2017
Timely Topics
Fireplace Safety
One of the greatest winter pastimes is curling up next to a fire with family and friends on a cold evening. Spending that time playing with games and toys together is one that parents and children alike cherish. While fireplaces can certainly make the home more cozy and comfortable - whether it is a wood-burning, gas, or electric fireplace - there are certainly potential dangers that come with using them. 

Following the safety tips below can help to ensure that you and your family stay safe, while still enjoying the warmth and sounds from the fire.
  • If possible, keep a window cracked while the fire is burning.
  • Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. 
    • Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house.
    • The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror.
    • Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
  • Use dry, well-aged wood - this will burn more evenly and with less smoke.
  • Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that may possibly catch on fire (e.g. furniture, curtains, newspapers, books, etc.).
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. 
    • Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
    • If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.
  • Keep your child at a distance from the fireplace to minimize the chance of burns from the hot glass front of some fireplaces.
    • Safety screens can also be installed to reduce the risk of burns.
  • Finally, put all fireplace tools and accessories out of a child's reach. Be sure to store lighters and matches up and away as well.
For more great tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website on fireplace safety.

Fire Preparedness and Escape Plans

One of the most terrifying things that can happen is watching your home go up in flames. However, it doesn't have to be as frightening if you and your family have a plan and are prepared for such an event.

Take some time with your children and sit down to talk about fire safety. Draw a floor plan of the home and show the different ways to get out of the house in the event of a fire. Put together an escape plan and practice it as a family, so that each family member knows the way to go in case of a fire. In addition, come up with a place close to the home where all family members should meet once they get out of the house - this will help to see if anyone is missing.

Should a fire start, call 9-1-1 right away to alert the emergency response team. If it's a small fire, try to contain the fire with a fire extinguisher until responders arrive, while children and other family members follow the escape plan. If there is not an extinguisher available, or if the fire has spread to a large area, everyone should follow the escape plan and get out of the home until emergency responders arrive and put out  the fire.

For many more great tips, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics website on fire safety.
Space Heaters and Fire Prevention

During the winter months, space heaters and other electrical appliances can be helpful to keep certain rooms of the home warm. While these items are helpful, there is certainly a risk of fire when they are in use.

If you do choose to use a space heater, or any other electrical appliance, check the cord regularly for any wear or loose connections, as this could lead to a possible fire. If the cord begins to fray or wires begin to show, get rid of the item immediately to reduce the possibility of a fire.

Whether you are using a furnace, fireplace, or space heater, there's always the potential for a fire. It can start in the blink of an eye, but if caught early, emergency responders can be on the scene in seconds, and the fire can be put out with minor damage. 

One of the best ways to catch a fire early is to have smoke detectors in good working order installed outside every bedroom, or anywhere someone sleeps, as well as near the furnace area of the home. It is also beneficial to have a smoke detector on each floor of your home, or at each end of a mobile home.  Furthermore, be sure to test each smoke detector once a month to ensure it is still working properly.

Read more great tips on smoke detectors and what do in a fire from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Partner Spotlight
Working Together to Build a Safer Cincinnati
Cradle Cincinnati Connections is a Healthy Start Program designed to enhance and support existing Maternal Child Health social support programs, in addition to acting as a direct service to families and children. 

In the last few months, the CCIC and Cradle Cincinnati Connections have joined efforts to provide families and children with safe sleep education and equipment, as well as a home safety bundle of equipment to help keep little ones safe in each room of the home. Due to our mutual goals of keeping kids in Cincinnati safe, it was only fitting to collaborate and partner with one another to help reach more and more families in the area. We are excited and privileged to have such a passionate team of individuals to partner with on high priority work in the community. So far through this new partnership, we have reached 30 families with more referred and visited each week!

Currently, Cradle Cincinnati Connections is focusing on pregnant women and families with children under the age of 2 years and who are residents of zip code 45204 (Lower Price Hill), 45205 (East Price Hill), 45214 (South Fairmont and the West End), or 45225 (North Fairmount and Camp Washington).

Cradle Cincinnati Connections also supports service providers in the community. Their program provides families and organizations with health education and screenings, case conferencing, and access to supplies, and will arrange connections for patients to support other agencies. This wrap-around service model will promote better health outcomes and thriving communities.

Visit their webpage for more information and contact numbers to make referrals. Thanks again to the Cradle Cincinnati Connections team for your partnership and valued efforts!
Promote Our Message
Winter Safety from AAA
As snowy weather and freezing temperatures slowly move into the tri-state region, the CCIC and AAA want to remind parents and families to take critical steps to ensure safety while driving.
Here are some important tips to remember to avoid worries and delays: 

Before heading out:
  • Clean ice and snow off wipers, windshields, and all windows and clean headlights and taillights to improve visibility. 
  • Keep an eye on the car battery. The cold weather makes it harder for the battery to start the car, especially on chilly mornings.
  • Plan your route before you leave to avoid traffic or untreated roadways. Let someone know your intended route and what time you will arrive at your destination.
  • Always carry emergency supplies, such as a car care kit, boots, shovel, blanket, snacks and water.  Make sure cell phones are charged in case of an emergency.
  • Buckle up! Make sure everyone is buckled in or seated in the appropriate child passenger safety seat. 
Driving on slippery streets:

  • Increase following distance to 8-10 seconds.
  • Know your brakes. If the vehicle is not equipped with an anti-lock braking system, pump the brakes. If the vehicle has ABS, don't pump, break with firm pressure.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Reduced traction causes simple maneuvers, such as accelerating, stopping and turning, to take longer on snow-covered roads.
  • Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads causes wheels to spin. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce the speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.
In case of emergency:

  • Pull off the road onto level ground, away from traffic as safely as possible. Make vehicles visible by switching on emergency flashers. Do not risk danger to yourself by attempting to push your vehicle to a safe location.
  • Alert other motorists. Make sure your vehicle is visible to other motorists by turning on emergency flashers and raising the hood.
  • Communicate your situation. Once you and your passengers are in a safe location, call for emergency roadside assistance.
  • Remain with your vehicle. Under most circumstances, if you have a cell phone, it's best to remain with your vehicle until assistance arrives. However, if you think your vehicle might be struck from behind, do not remain in it. Never stand behind or directly in front of it because other drivers may not see you.
  • Motorists are also reminded that it's the law to slow down and move over for emergency personnel, including roadside assistance providers. Reduce speed and, if possible, move over one lane of traffic to provide a safe area for stranded motorists and emergency personnel assisting them.

Find more winter driving safety information from AAA.

Quick Tips
Helpful Hints to Keep in Mind this Winter
Packing Your Emergency Bag

In addition to your vehicle emergency kit, keep extra blankets, dry clothing, hats and mittens (and snacks) in your car. There is always the possibility of a rapid change in the weather during a road trip, the kids getting wet on an outing, or getting stranded on a snowy road. Learn more great winter safety tips for your child.
House guests and Medication Safety

As families prepare for holiday guests or travel, be sure to remind extended family members to keep their medications up and out of reach from young children, including items that may be in purses and handbags. Learn more about medication safety and what you can do to prevent accidental ingestions.
Kids' Coats and Car Seats

During the colder months, to keep children safe and warm while riding in their car seats, they should wear thin layers with a blanket over the top of the harness straps if needed, not a thick coat or snow-suit. Learn more  about why car seats and w inter coats don't mix.
Expert Advice
Safe Sleep While Traveling for the Holidays
Ask an Expert
Emily Lee
Injury Prevention Specialist

Traveling during the holidays can lead to quite a packing list for the family. However, if you've got a little one that will be traveling with you this season, it's important to remember to think about where they'll sleep while away from home. Safe sleep practices don't get a break during vacation, so it's important to ensure the proper equipment is added to the packing list!

Here are a few reminders of what to pack for your little one to ensure safe sleep:
  • Sleep sacks
  • A pack-in-play or portable crib that has a firm surface for the child to sleep on
  • Baby monitors 
If you'll be using a crib at either a hotel or relative's home, it's important to check to make sure the crib has a firm mattress that fits the crib appropriately. Also, the bed should only have a fitted sheet and not extra blankets, toys or bumper pads in it. These "extras" can create an unsafe sleeping environment for your child. 

Also, one last reminder about safe sleep:
  • Make sure to remove your child from their car seat or stroller if they've fallen asleep in either equipment. Neither device is safe for extended periods of sleep. 
For more information about safe sleep, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics site, here  · 513-636-7865, "Option 1"