Temps are rising and the pool is beckoning – do you know your water safety?

Pool Safety 3Is it hot enough yet? With Tucson temperatures exceeding 115 degrees for three straight days, many families will be heading for the pool this weekend.

It’s no surprise why swimming is a summer favorite. Parents get a chance to cool-off, kids max out on fun and families make memories.

With the summertime exuberance of visiting, splashing and playing, it can be easy for all to forget important safety rules. This is serious because Arizona has the second highest number of child drownings in the United States.

Child drowning is tragic but preventable. Safe Kids Pima County Coordinator Jessica Mitchell works with community partners to provide helpful tips and education to prevent childhood drowning. She provided us important water safety standards every
parent should know.

It’s as easy as ABC

A = Adult supervision B = Barriers around pools, spas and hot tubs C = Coast Guard approved life vest and life-saving CPR classes

My kids love playing in the pool – what are the things to watch out for?

  • Active supervision is a must. Provide active supervision without any distractions – even if other adults are present and many kids are in the pool. They call drowning the “silent killer” because a drowning child can’t call for help.
  • Infants and toddlers should stay within an arm’s reach of an adult.
  • Don’t rely on swimming aids such as water wings and pool noodles. They are fun, but may not prevent drowning.
  • When finished, remove all toys from the pool. This can tempt children to go for the toys later, increasing the risk of them falling in and drowning.
  • Barriers should be in place to keep children from entering the pool on their own. Alarms on doors and pool fences with self-closing gates also helps to keep kids safe.
  • Always keep a phone nearby so that you can call 911 in the case of an emergency.
  • Empty kiddie pools and turn them upside down when finished. Tragedies have happened in just a few inches of water.

Pool Safety 2
What swimming rules should I set for my children?

  • Only swim if an adult is a present.
  • Do not dive in shallow areas of the pool (or the entire pool if it is not deep enough for diving).
  • Don’t push or jump on others.
  • Don’t go swimming during thunder/lightning storms.

My kids have already taken swimming lessons, so I probably don’t need to watch them as much, right?

While we encourage swimming lessons, children should not be swimming alone even if they are good swimmers. It takes multiple lessons before a child learns how to swim effectively and even then, there should still be active supervision by an adult.

How do I rescue a child I think might be drowning?

  • Take the child out of the water
  • If you are alone, call 911 and begin CPR. Starting CPR immediately is the most important thing you can do to prevent a child from dying.
  • If you are not alone, begin CPR and ask someone to call 911.
  • Check for breathing and responsiveness. Place your ear near the child’s mouth and nose to see if you feel air on your cheek? Determine if the child’s chest is moving and call the child’s name to see if he or she responds.

Should I be CPR certified?

Anyone who routinely supervises children around water should get CPR certified. The certification courses are provided by many community organizations, including the American Red Cross.

It sounds like there is a lot to prepare for – can the water still be safe and fun for my family?

Absolutely! Swimming can be great family fun. Make sure you take the necessary precautions, always supervise swimming children and that someone in the family has taken CPR classes.

Visit our website for more safety tips and information.

 

 

Safe Kids Pima County – keeping kids safe through education and advocacy

Safe Kids Pima County LogoPlenty of us have practice patching up the skinned knees and elbows of active children in our lives.

Unfortunately, though, accidents are too often far more serious than bumps and scrapes. In fact, accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 0 to 19 – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news about this chilling statistic is that we have the power to change it. “Childhood accidents can (often? always? Almost always) be prevented – a few easy steps for children and adults can help keep kids safe,” said Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator.

Safe Kids Pima County is a network of organizations focused on preventing accidental, childhood injury by educating adults and children, creating safe environments, conducting research, and advocating for effective laws.

Mitchell is a part of TMC’s participation in the Safe Kids initiative, working with community partners to actively engage adults in taking action for stronger child safety. From providing free bike helmets and pool safety to education workshops and school presentations, Mitchell coordinates a full schedule of activities to facilitate child safety awareness.

Jessica MitchellRecently, Mitchell spent a week at Frances Owen Holaway Elementary School, educating each PE class on the merits of bike safety.

“We explain to the kids ‘the brain can’t fix itself’ and make sure every student has a helmet and how to put it on correctly,” Mitchell explained. “The kids also learn the proper hand signals, where it’s safe to ride and how to avoid taking dangerous risks.”

Many child accidents involve bike riding. Over the past three years, Safe Kids Pima County has provided more than 8,000 free bike helmets to children in our community.

Safe Kids Pima County provides information and resources to help keep kids safe. Going forward, look for Mitchell’s monthly blog posts on helping keep kids safe, happy and healthy.

For further information about Safe Kids Pima County, please email safekidspimacounty@tmcaz.com or call (520) 324-2783. If you are holding a community event and would like Safe Kids Pima County to attend or participate, click here.

Tucson Medical Center hosts 11th annual Be Safe Saturday March 21

Tomas_BSS2015 Shelly_BSS2015Tucson Medical Center’s Be Safe Saturday is back and better than ever! More than 100 booths will be set up featuring community partners who are committed to the safety and wellness of children in Southern Arizona. Each booth is interactive and has a unique and powerful safety and wellness message.

Safe Kids Pima County and the Tucson Police Department will be conducting car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injuries and death for children under the age of 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, yet an estimated 85 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. Properly installed car seats reduce fatal injury by more than 70 percent for infants and by 54 percent for children through age 4.

The family-friendly event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the more than 3,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out. “The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC. Every booth is engaging. Events like Be Safe Saturday are one of many ways TMC shows it’s dedication to truly being Southern Arizona’s community hospital,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Director, Community Programs.

TMCs Be Safe Saturday
Saturday, March 21
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Car seat checks from 9 a.m. – noon)
TMC parking lot #11
Parking will be available nearby in surface lots and in the 600-space garage just to the
west of TMC’s 
Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower

The focus of this year’s event is water safety, with an emphasis also on child passenger safety and sports safety. Some of the new community partners this year include the Arizona Air National Guard, the Central Arizona Center for Therapy and Imaging Services (CACTIS) Foundation, the Desert Museum, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, LifeNet, NextCare Urgent Care, Southern AZ Rescue Association, TMC Ben’s Bells – Kind Colleagues, the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program and the Tucson Jewish Community Center. There will be lots of giveaways and free services including:

▪ Free booster seats for those who qualify
▪ Free bike helmets
▪ Free child identification fingerprinting
▪ Free concussion screenings

In Pima County last year, there were 18 water-related incidents reported. Tragically, seven of these incidents resulted in fatalities; two were adults, and five were children under age 5. Information about water safety will be offered in a fun setting that’s a real treat for Arizona kids – a beach!

 Visitors are also welcome to drop-off gently used children’s clothes
and toys to be donated to 
The Teal Saguaro, the TMC Auxiliary’s resale
boutique, which directly supports TMC.

Booster seats, bike helmets & bugs! TMC’s 10th annual Be Safe Saturday: March 22

Tomas Shelly Tandem Bike_4c_v2TMC’s 10th annual Be Safe Saturday is back and better than ever, coming up on Saturday, March 22.  The free event is not only fun, but educational.  A sunny day with temps in the low 70’s is expected – perfect for an afternoon at TMC’s parking lot #11, where visitors have more than 100 interactive booths to choose from, each with a unique and powerful safety message.

The event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the more than 3,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out.  “The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC.  Every booth is engaging.  It’s about providing education and resources to keep kids and their families safe in their everyday lives,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Community Programs director.   

  TMC’s Be Safe Saturday
  Saturday, March 22
  9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  TMC parking lot #11
  Parking will be available nearby in surface lots and in the new 600-space garage just to the west of TMC’s Orthopaedic and Surgical tower

The family activities will educate the public about new dangers as well as ones that continue to send children to the emergency room every day.  “We use the data we get from the Arizona Department of Health Services to identify our main areas of focus,” said Thomas.  “They are consistently child passenger safety, water safety and bike/pedestrian safety.  That’s what started our initial Be Safe Saturday event a decade ago.  Each year, we try to add booths to educate parents and children alike about new dangers, as well as ones that are injuring kids, but perhaps don’t receive as much attention.  Be Safe Saturday allows us to make an impression on thousands of lives.”

Free booster seats are always a big draw.  Booster seats boost a school-age child up so that a lap and shoulder belt fits them correctly in a vehicle.  The shoulder belt should be snug across the child’s shoulder, not their neck or arm, and the lap belt should be snug on top of the child’s thighs, not against their belly.  Children must be 5 years old and at least 40 pounds in order to receive a free booster seat at Be Safe Saturday.  Remember – Arizona’s booster seat law requires children ages 7 or under who are less than 4’9” in height to be secured in a child-passenger restraint system.

Not 100 percent sure your child’s car seat is installed properly?  Safe Kids Pima County and Tucson Police Department will be conducting car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injuries and death for children under the age of 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, yet an estimated 85 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. Properly installed car seats reduce fatal injury by more than 70 percent for infants and by 54 percent for children through age 4.

The day also corresponds with National Safe Kids Day, a special day to remind families that preventable injuries are the #1 killer of kids in the U.S. and each year a million families around the world lose a child to these injuries.

Water safety will be another big focus, as Arizona is consistently right behind Florida for having the highest number of water incidents every year. In Pima County last year, there were 24 water-related incidents reported.  Tragically, six of these incidents resulted in fatalities; three were adults, and three were children under age 5.  A heartbreaking statistic that events like Be Safe Saturday hope to eliminate.  Life saving information will be offered in a fun setting that’s a real treat for Arizona kids – a beach!

Kids love bugs, right?  There will be a bug booth hosted by TMC’s own Desert Kids Safety program.  Kids and families will identify Tucson bugs and which ones to watch out for. 

You’d be amazed how much a bottle of cleaning solution looks like a sports drink, or how similar vitamins and gummy candies look.  67,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms every year after ingesting something that should have been locked up.  TMC Pharmacists will have a “poison look alike” booth to educate children and caregivers.  Would your child pass the test?

You can also have your child fingerprinted and receive a free child identification kit, as well as information about the Marketplace Healthcare Exchange.

We hope to see you there!

Car seats, bike helmets, and Tide pods? What’s new at TMC’s 9th annual Be Safe Saturday: March 23

Becoming a parent makes you suddenly care about a thing you seldom thought about before:  child safety.  The world begins to look very different when you have a little one who depends on you to keep them safe in every environment.

Your vehicle is no longer just a way to get from point A to point B, but a 2,000-pound machine that your child can get severely injured in – or worse.  Your living room is no longer just a place to hang out– it’s a maze of electrical outlets, corners, and dangerously tempting attractions for little ones.  As they grow, it’s a different set of worries – like making sure they wear their helmet correctly every time they get on a bike. 

As parents, grandparents and caregivers who are constantly juggling a full plate, it’s impossible for us to look at everything through the “safety filter” in our minds.  As technology evolves and new products are developed, hazards exist that may surprise you. 

Take those convenient Tide laundry detergent pods, for example.  Toss them in the wash, and laundry is a snap, right?  “They’re bright, and colorful.  You’d be amazed at how many children end up in intensive care because they’ve swallowed one, thinking it’s candy,” said TMC Pediatric Emergency Department manager Jennie Westmoreland, RN. 

be safe 1TMC’s Be Safe Saturday aims to let people know about new dangers as well as ones that continue to send children to the emergency room every day.

“We use the data we get from the Arizona Department of Health Services to identify our main areas of focus.  They are consistently child passenger safety, water safety and bike/pedestrian safety.  That’s what started our initial Be Safe Saturday event nine years ago,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Community Programs Director.

The conclusion from that data absolutely transfers into real life. Those focus areas are exactly what Westmoreland and her team treat in the emergency room.  “We tend to see a lot of children who have been in car accidents – ages 5, 6, and 7 for example – who are injured because they were not in a booster seat.  This is the age group where we see less compliance.”

Westmoreland says parents are shocked to learn how little water it takes to be a threat to a very young child.  “Toilets, buckets, even a bowl of dog water.  It just takes a few inches for a baby to drown.  It doesn’t always happen in a swimming pool.  And it doesn’t always happen in the summer.  Water is still water,” she said.

A near-drowning has been reported in Pima County this year – a toddler in a bathtub.

The number one safety-related reason children are brought to the pediatric emergency department?  Westmoreland said the data is pretty consistent.  Head injuries typically top the list.  Children who fall down stairs, fall out of bed, or fall out of shopping carts.  For older kids, they’re usually sports related, because they’re not wearing a bike helmet or they’re not wearing it correctly. 

be safe 3“Education plays a huge role in many of our cases,” Westmoreland said.  “Oftentimes, if parents were more aware, an accident or tragedy could have been prevented.  Events like Be Safe Saturday are so important because they teach people things they were unaware of before.  I love it when I tell parents something and I can just see the light bulb go on.  Be Safe Saturday allows us to make an impression on thousands of lives.”

The event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the 4,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out.  Be Safe Saturday will feature approximately 100 interactive booths, and is expected to draw 13,000 people this year.  “The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC.  Every booth is engaging.  It’s about providing education and resources to keep kids and their families safe in their everyday lives,” said Thomas. 

There will be information on martial arts for kids, a jumping castle, a climbing wall,  even a corral set up to reinforce safety practices around horses.  With warmer months ahead, the Kohl’s Cares Vest It Up! program can help parents track down free swim lessons for their kids.  Tucson’s new soccer team, FS Tucson will be there, and as an added bonus, Tucson Food Truck Roundup will feature gourmet food for purchase from funky mobile kitchens.

Turtle_PicBe Safe Saturday
Sat., March 23
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
TMC parking lot #11


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461