February Injury Prevention

Innovative approaches to safety issues

February is the month of love. St. John Injury Prevention wants to remind you of a way other than romance and flowers to show love to your friends and family. This year, consider the following innovative approaches in attending to safety issues.

Be creative in teaching family members or young children rules about safety issues by holding a special family gathering to discuss safety.
  • Have the kids tell you about the fire safety plan for your home or draw a picture of the escape route. Include an elderly family member in the conversation so that they may talk about their plan of escape from fire. This is a perfect time to determine if they have one, or how one can be developed and implemented. It also teaches children that there can be more than one “right way” to practice safety and that everyone needs good safety practices, not just children. Having all family members included makes sure that all individuals know their role in an emergency, the meeting place if a fire occurs, when and how to call 911 and what information they will need to give the operator. 
  • Family meeting is also a good time for kids to talk about school safety and drills they practice. 
  • After the family meeting is complete, provide a recap of safety information by making a special bulletin board with emergency information which is located near the home telephone. If your children aren’t yet reading, consider utilizing pictures as appropriate so that they can relay necessary information to the emergency operator.

Since senior citizens have unique safety needs, have everyone in the family work together to make a senior’s home safer. Create a game out of identifying and correcting hazards in the home. The person that identifies the most receives a prize and will remember what was said by association. Have family identify the following:
  • Are halls cluttered?
  • Do electric cords clutter walking paths?
  • Are pots and pans at eye level in the kitchen to avoid tilting the head up and down and possibly inducing dizziness leading to a fall? 
  • Are throw rugs removed from the floor or tacked down? 
  • Is a smoke detector with fresh batteries employed?
  • Does the home dweller have a cordless phone they can keep handy in the event of an emergency?

As a part of your outdoor yard safety efforts, consider providing everyone their own special container for their toys or belongings to keep clutter minimized. Identify the proper place for bicycles, and color-code each person’s designated spot. Rewarding good behavior can help perpetuate continued tidiness. Make a special trip for ice cream or the toy store to award the person who is most considerate of safety. While this effort does not have to be overly expensive, it rewards good behavior and is fun for kids to get to choose something they want.

When preparing for a road trip, rotate a “leader” who will be in charge of ensuring passengers wear their seatbelts at all times. Road trips also offer a good timeframe to discuss staying safe in or near traffic and reminders to avoid playing behind parked cars or in parking lots. Additionally, road trips offer opportunities to play the “I see” game by identifying safe actions along the way. Look for motorcyclists, bicyclists and skaters wearing helmets and appropriate protective gear, as well as runners wearing highly- visible or reflective clothing. Encourage older children to look for safe practices in action such as joggers stopping at stop signs and cars signaling to change lanes.

There are all kinds of ways to show your love, but keeping you and your family safe is one of the most important.

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