DETROIT (WWJ) – Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has seen a thing or two when it comes to dangerous and tragic incidents involving children in and around Detroit.
With that in mind, she’s compiled a rundown of tips she hopes will be helpful to local families regarding kids and cars, guns, dogs, water safety and more.
“I decided to put this information out because we have seen so many unnecessary and completely preventable child deaths in the last few years. “Many have risen to the level of criminal behavior,” Worthy said in a release out Monday.
“These tips, at first glance, may seem so simplistic. Many of them come down to basic common sense, but this information bears repeating because it can save lives, maybe even that of your own child.”
Tips for a Safe Summer
1) Never, ever, leave a child unattended in a car.
In addition to concerns about keeping your child safe from harm and injury, summertime presents a particular set of concerns about heatstroke.
Warning signs of Heatstroke:
- Red, hot and moist or dry skin
- No sweating
- Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
- Confusion or strange behavior
Be on guard and prevent heatstroke
- Always Look Before You Lock – Check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
- A child is extremely sensitive to heat. In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise 20 degrees. Even if the outside temperature is 60 degrees, the temperature inside the car can reach 110 degrees.
- A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
Also: Take Action if you see a child alone in a car
- Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return.
- If the child is unresponsive or in distress, calls 911, get the child out of the car and spray with cool (not cold) water.
- If the child is responsive, stay with the child until help arrives
- Ask some else to search for the driver
2) Gun Safety
Their list of safety tips firearm owners should remember to help ensure they are taking responsible precautions with firearms in their home is an acronym for Secure your firearms when not in use; Be Aware of those around you who should not have unauthorized access to guns; Focus on your responsibility as a firearm owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe firearm handling and storage.
- Store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case when not in use, ensuring they are in a location inaccessible by children and cannot be handled by anyone without your permission.
- Store your ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Use a gun locking device that renders the firearm inoperable when not in use. A gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for secure storage.
- Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand the safety guidelines concerning firearms. Always unload, clean and place your firearms in their secure storage location immediately after returning from a hunting trip or a day at the range.
- Educate everyone in your family about firearms safety. information and to find out where to get a free firearm safety kit in your area.
For more information see also: Gun Safety with Kids visit this link.
3) Fire Safety for Young Children
Fire safety lessons should start early in life. Play Safe! Be Safe! focuses on keeping preschoolers safe in a fire and preventing fire play. (More here).
The program covers these important messages:
Go to a firefighter in an emergency. Young children may be afraid the first time they see a firefighter in full gear. Explain to children:
- What firefighters wear and why.
- How a firefighter can help if there is a fire.
- Contact your local fire station to arrange a tour. The children can learn about equipment and become familiar with what firefighters look like and what they do. Or invite firefighters to your school so they can put on their gear in front of the children, explain their jobs, and answer children’s questions.
Crawl low under smoke
- Tell children that some fires make lots of smoke, which is dangerous to breathe.
- Show them the safe way to respond when a room fills with smoke: get down on your hands and knees, keep your head up, and crawl outside.
- Ask children to practice with you. Lead them in crawling across the room with their heads up. Repeat frequently to help children remember this important safety strategy.
Stop, drop, and roll. When children’s clothes catch fire, their first reaction may be to run. This can make the fire spread faster. Show children the safest way to respond:
- Stop, cover your face, get down on the ground, and roll from side to side until you smother the fire.
- Ask children to practice with you a few times and then split them into pairs. Children can take turns demonstrating to their partners. Repeat frequently to help children learn to stop, drop, and roll automatically.
Tell a grown-up. Emphasize to children that matches and lighters are tools that only adults use.
- Tell children that they should not play with or even touch these materials.
- Explain that if they find a match or lighter, they should tell a grown-up immediately.
- Role-play with children in small groups about what to do when they find these types of materials.
4) Safe Sleep for Infants
Follow these tips for safe sleep during every nap and night-time routine:
- Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack and play, with nothing else in their sleep environment (plan ahead and take a portable crib when you travel).
- Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
- Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free – no pillows, blankets or toys.
- Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
- Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family
- For more information visit this link.
5) Safety for Children Around Dogs
(Information from the American Humane Society Tips to Stay Safe at this link.)
Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.
- Never approach an injured animal – find an adult who can get help.
- Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies.
- Don’t poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.
Safety Precautions for Dog Owners
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet.
- Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both your child and your dog.
- Teach your children to treat the dog with respect and not to engage in rough or aggressive play.
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and to provide mental stimulation.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain your dog’s health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
- Be alert, if someone approaches you and your dog – caution them to wait before petting the dog, give your pet time to be comfortable with a stranger.
American Humane also offers a free online booklet available for families with children called “Pet Meets Baby,” providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet – or a new pet into a home with a child. [Get it here].
How do I go about choosing a babysitter?
(Information from C.M. Mott Children’s Hospital at this link).
- Choose a trusted friend or family member if possible.
- Get recommendations from friends.
- Trade childcare with friends who have kids.
- Do not hire a sitter under age 12.
- Watch your child’s reaction when you tell them a sitter they know is coming, and listen to what your child says about the sitter afterward.
- Meet the sitter in advance, and check references.
- Make sure he or she knows CPR and first aid.
- Ask whether young sitters have taken the American Red Cross babysitter class (link is external). If not, encourage them to take it. If you have a sitter aged 12 to 15 that you like, offer to pay for them to take the class.
- Have them spend time with you and your kids, and see how they interact with the kids. A good strategy is to hire them first as a “mother’s or father’s helper,” and have them watch the kids while you are home getting something done.
What do I need to tell the babysitter before I leave?
(Information from C.M. Mott Children’s Hospital at this link).
Your sitter will need lots of information from you before you leave. See pdf attached. Allow enough time to go over the information with them, show them the house, and answer any questions. Be sure to show your sitter, in particular:
- Location of exits
- Location of first aid supplies
- Location of fire extinguisher, flashlights
Other things that may be helpful to discuss could include:
- Children’s bedtimes and bedtime routine
- Any food or drink to be given to the children
- Medications—name, time last given, time next dose due, amount to give (dose)
- Never to shake a baby or young child (link is external)
- How to calm the baby if crying or colicky
- How to handle misbehavior
7) Water Safety
- Ensure that every family member learns how to swim. Enroll your children in age appropriate swimming lessons.
- Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always watch children without being distracted when they are in or near water.
- Always swim with a buddy. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach.
- Never leave young children and inexperienced swimmers unattended near water. Teach children to ask permission to go near water.
- Install and use barriers around home pools or hot tubs. The barriers should be self latching away from the pool. The latch should be out of reach of small children.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming be cautious and aware of hazards aroun natural bodies of water.
- Avoid alcohol use around water. It can impair judgment, balance and coordination.
- For other water safety tips visit this link.