Playground Injuries - It Can Happen

Playground Injuries? It Can Happen.

Playground Injuries - It Can Happen

Remember the playgrounds we played on? Compared to the plastic and foamy playgrounds our kids play on today, the schoolyards of yesterday probably seem like death traps.

 

We ran around rusty metal poles. Climbed ragged wooden structures full of sharp corners and the promise of splinters. We weren’t falling on foam or rubber, either. One visit to a public park shows how far we’ve come in terms of providing safe areas for our kids.

 

Even the most modern, safety-minded playgrounds are not full-proof, however. Playground injuries still happen, and they can be just as devastating as the ones you might remember.

 

The Statistics: Playground Injuries and Deaths

 

The number of injuries and deaths caused by playground equipment is heartbreaking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 200,000 kids go to the emergency room every year for playground-related injuries.

 

Over half of those injuries are fractures, contusions, or abrasions. Even worse, despite the efforts to make playgrounds safer, the rate of emergency room visits has actually increased in the past decade.

 

One of the scariest things about playground injuries is the impact it can have on your child’s brain. Over 1 in 10 children who head to the ER for a playground injury sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs include concussions, which can have a lasting impact on your child’s ability to play sports or engage in active behavior for the rest of their life.

 

Thankfully, death from playground injuries is not common. That being said, it does happen. About 15 children every year die from playground-related injuries.

 

What Causes Playground Injuries to Occur?

 

South Florida Playground Injury Lawyer

Playgrounds include a lot of equipment that could potentially lead to your kids getting injured. Certain things are more dangerous than others, but in large part the amount of danger is very closely related to how old the child is.

 

Slides cause a high rate of injuries among children under the age of 4, for example, but monkey bars and climbing equipment cause a high rate of injuries among children between the ages of 5 and 14. Swings consistently cause injuries among all age groups.

 

Strangulation (from swing chains or getting caught in equipment while wearing a drawstring jacket) and falls (high falls onto hard surfaces) top the list for causes of playground-related deaths.

 

It’s also important to note that most traumatic brain injuries happen when kids are playing on playgrounds at school. Teachers and aides do their best to keep kids safe during recess, but they can’t keep their eyes on every single student at all times.

 

What Can You Do to Prevent Playground Injuries?

 

You can’t be there to watch your kids like a hawk every time they step on a playground, but there are things that you can do to help prevent injuries at a school or public playground:

 

  • Dress your children in clothing without loose strings and avoid necklaces or long scarves that could get tangled or caught in playground equipment.
  • Talk to your children about playground safety. Your child should know to walk, not run, and that pushing and shoving other children is extremely dangerous and can cause serious injuries.
  • Visit your child’s school playground to make sure the equipment is safe. If you see rusty metal bars, broken equipment, or other safety hazards, talk to your child’s teacher or the school principal. Schools have a responsibility to keep their students safe.

 

What if the worst happens and your child does suffer injury? Medical bills can get expensive fast, so it is important to remember that if your child’s playground injury was due to negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit for the damages and losses incurred. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and your legal options.

 

Where Is the Safest Place for Your Child to Sit in a Car

Where Is the Safest Place for Your Child to Sit in a Car?

Where Is the Safest Place for Your Child to Sit in a Car

When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA.

 

When you are driving with your child, the safest place for them to sit is in the rear of the car, behind an unoccupied front seat. That’s a pretty specific location, so let’s break down the reason why they say this is safest place for a child to sit.

 

Why Unoccupied?

If a child is placed behind an occupied front seat, there is an increased risk that the child will be injured (or die) from rear-impact collisions. If a car is driving at 30 miles per hour or faster, an auto accident can force a passenger rearward, causing a rear-impact collision.

 

Since the 1990s, over 900 children have died from these collisions. Sitting behind an unoccupied seat will reduce this risk. If both seats are occupied, then it is suggested that the child sit behind the lighter parent or passenger.

 

Why a Rear Seat?

Whether your child is in a proper safety seat or they’ve outgrown them and can ride in the car without one, it’s best not to keep them in the front seat. Why? Airbags can be dangerous.

 

This may sound silly – or even downright wrong. After all, airbags are designed for our safety in an accident, right?

 

But airbags were not designed for the safety of children. They were designed to keep adults safe.

 

Because of this, the impact and size of airbags can do more harm than good where kids are concerned. Children exposed to airbags are twice as likely to be seriously injured in a crash. On top of that, dangerous chemicals used in airbags can also cause problems if your child’s small lungs breathe them in. And then, of course, you have situations like the one currently going on with the Takata airbags, where a defect is causing problems for people of all ages and sizes.

 

If You Have a Middle Seat

 

Child Auto Safety Florida

You may have to put your child behind a passenger if your car is small and only has space for two seats in the rear row. However, if you have a wider car and there are three spaces for seats, consider putting your child in the middle seat.

 

There is a 43% lower risk of injury when you place your child in the middle seat rather than in a widow seat, and this applies to children of all ages. These statistics, however, only apply when the middle seat has a full 3-point seat belt or the child is in their proper car seat. If this is not the case, it’s best to keep your children in a window seat.

 

If Your Child Requires a Car Seat

 

If Your Child Requires a Car Seat in Florida

It can be frustrating (and expensive) to keep replacing your child’s safety seat as they grow, but it could end up saving their life. Take this time to refresh your memory on the types of safety seats required for children of different ages.

 

  • Infant Car Seats: From your child’s first car ride until the time they are between 40-50 pounds, you will have to use a rear-facing car seat. Infant car seats can only be installed this way, and are often designed with a carrier that buckles into a base that stays in your car. Your child should remain in this seat until the top of their head reaches within an inch of the carrier, or they exceed the carrier’s recommended weight.
  • Convertible and Forward-Facing Seats: At the latest, you should transition your child to a convertible seat when they turn 1. These seats will allow you to keep your child in a rear-facing seat for longer (the age of 2 or 3 is commonly recommended, but weight is always your best guide). If you want to save money, find a convertible seat that allows for a safe install as a front-facing or rear-facing seat. When your kids are big enough, you can turn the seat around.
  • Booster Seat: From the time your child outgrows your forward-facing car seat until the age of 12, you should keep them in a booster seat. This will ensure that they are fitting into a seat belt properly (that the shoulder belt sits on the shoulder rather than across the neck, and that the lap belt fits along the upper thighs instead of the stomach). Once your child can sit on their own wearing a seat belt properly, a booster seat will not be needed.

 

For more detailed information on the recommended safety seats for your child, check out this handy chart.

 

These tips will keep your child as safe as possible during an auto accident, but that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily prevent all injuries. If you do get in an accident and your child is hurt, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to review the injuries go over your options.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

What Happens If My Child Is Injured at Summer Camp

What Happens If My Child Is Injured at Summer Camp?

 

School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot of risks you won’t find in a classroom.

 

Activities like swimming, climbing, building campfires, and so on may just be part of summer, but they also present lots of potential dangers. On top of this, there may be a lot of children – so many that counselors can’t watch your child’s every move. Sometimes, injuries happen. And if they do, you and your child may undergo serious emotional trauma and find hospital bills stacking up quickly.

 

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you speak with an experienced Florida injury attorney. Why? Because while some summer camp injuries may truly be freak accidents or even the fault of your child, others could – and should – have been prevented by the staff or owners of the camp. And if their negligence resulted in your child getting hurt, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistake.

 

It’s called premises liability, and it’s the same law that applies if someone falls down hotel stairs because the lightbulbs were out or a rotten balcony bannister causes someone to plummet.

 

What Exactly Is Premises Liability?

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”Premises liability is the idea that the owner of the premises in which u get injured may be at fault for your injury” quote=”Premises liability is the idea that the owner of the premises in which you get injured may be found at fault for your injury.”]

 

This principle is commonly discussed in slip and fall and personal injury lawsuits.

 

Camps have a responsibility of providing a safe, clean space for their attendees to play, sleep, and eat. If, for example, your child suffers an injury from a spill on the kitchen floor, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. The staff is responsible for removing, cleaning, or warning attendees about the spill. So if they did not do this, the camp can be held liable for your child’s injury.

 

The Responsibility of Camp Staff

 

Boca Raton Summer Camp Accident Injury Lawyer

Summer camp injuries are most likely to happen during supervised activities. The staff of a summer camp carries a lot of responsibilities, especially at overnight camps or athletic training camps.

 

If your child suffers an injury due to the direct actions of a member of the camp’s staff (abuse, negligence, and so on), the camp may be liable for the staff member’s actions. Many camps perform background checks when hiring staff, because the staff comes in close contact with children. Hiring a staff member without doing a background check is a big mistake, and could cost them big time if the staff member causes a lawsuit.

 

Pay Attention to Liability Waivers

 

Summer camps are no strangers to lawsuits, regarding injuries or not. In 2013, a summer camp was sued for over $600,000… over two campers kissing. No, this is not a joke.

 

Injury lawsuits are just as tiresome for summer camps as they are for you, so they’ve taken their own precautions to prevent them from happening. That’s where liability waivers come in – all the paperwork you signed when you enrolled your child in that camp.

 

Each camp comes with its own risk, but some are riskier than other. For example, you would expect more injuries to happen at football camp than at music camp. Camps with pools or lakes run the risk of children drowning. Outdoor camps run the risk of children getting bitten by ticks or other dangerous creatures. To take proper precautions, camps often have parents sign a liability waiver.

 

The waiver states that based on the camp’s itinerary or space, there is an assumed risk of injury. By signing the waiver, you acknowledge this risk, and that the camp is not responsible for injuries from these risky behaviors. Liability waivers often have clauses that do not allow you to file a lawsuit against the camp in case of injury or illness.

 

These waivers, however, are not ironclad. They don’t protect the camp or staff members if someone under their employ acted in a negligent or reckless manner. “Assumed risk” is one thing – unsafe behavior is another.

 

How You Can Prepare Your Child

Boca Raton Child Accident Attorney

Remember, not every precaution is the responsibility of the camp. If you intend to file a lawsuit for injuries, the defendant will likely try to show that you or your child were guilty of negligence as well. Remember the following tips when you are getting your child ready for summer camp:

 

  • Pack a safety kit for your child. Include appropriate footwear and clothing, a reusable water bottle, a first aid kit, sunscreen, and any allergy medication your child needs.
  • Teach your child how to swim and ride a bike. These are common activities at a summer camp, and if your child comes unprepared, he or she will be at a higher risk for injury.
  • Introduce yourself to camp staff before you drop your child off for their first day. If your child requires medication, go over any special instructions or warnings with camp staff. If your child has allergies or has any disabilities, let staff know.

 

You Can Still File a Lawsuit

 

Remember, an experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to find holes or exceptions in the contract you signed that will let you file a lawsuit or ask for damages. If you believe you deserve compensation for your child’s injuries, you should explore all of your options. Reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Bounce House Injuries on the Rise

Bounce House Injuries on the Rise

Bounce House Injuries on the Rise

 

Bounce houses have long been a staple at birthday parties, fairs, amusement parks, picnics, and other community events. After all, few things are more fun for children than bouncing around on a big inflatable toy. But while bounce houses are generally seen as a safe form of entertainment for kids, emergency room statistics show a different story.

 

In 2012, more than 18,800 injuries caused by bounce houses, moon houses, and inflatable amusements were reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That number is three times the number of bounce house injuries reported in 2006.

 

Of these injuries, two-thirds involved arms and legs, while 15 percent involved the head or face. Nine out of 10 people injured in bounce houses were 14 years old or younger. In 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that a child is hurt every 46 minutes in a bounce house.

 

These statistics not only highlight the variety of risks associated with bounce houses, but also chronicle the rise of bounce house injuries among children.

 

What can you do?

 

How to Prevent Bounce House Injuries

 

If you’re planning to have a bounce house at a party or allow your child to go into a bounce house somewhere, here are some tips to prevent bounce house injuries.

 

  • Make sure an adult who is trained on safe bounce house use is present.
  • Bounce houses are safest when there is only one child on them at a time. If there will be more than one child in a bounce house, make sure the children are about the same age and size.
  • Have children remove their shoes, glasses, jewelry, and any other sharp objects they may be carrying.
  • Prohibit rough play, tumbling, wrestling, or flips.
  • Instruct children to stay away from the entrance or exit while bouncing inside.
  • If the bounce house starts to deflate, immediately stop play and have anyone inside carefully exit the bounce house.

 

How to Set Up a Bounce House

 

The proper setup of a bounce house is mandatory for children to be able to enjoy the bounce house safely. Here are some general guidelines for the safe setup of a bounce house:

 

  • Make sure the bounce house is placed on a flat surface.
  • Remove all rocks, sticks, or objects like sprinkler heads sticking up from the ground where the bounce house will be placed.
  • Put the bounce house in a place where there is plenty of open space around all sides.
  • Do not put a bounce house near tree branches or power lines.
  • If the bounce house will be on a hard surface, provide a soft surface around the entrance or exit of the bounce house.
  • Check the weather for wind. Most manufacturers recommend removing children from bounce houses or deflating them when winds are 20-25 miles per hour or higher.

 

What if My Child Gets Injured in a Bounce House?

 

What if My Child Gets Injured in a Bounce House

 

If your child gets injured in a bounce house, the first thing you need to do is get them medical attention as soon as possible.

 

Once you have gotten them the help they need, it is important to document the scene of the accident and take pictures as evidence. Bounce house injuries can be incredibly dangerous, debilitating, and expensive, and you should not have to pay for someone else’s mistake – get in contact with a Florida personal injury attorney who has a successful track record in these kinds of cases.

 

Several parties could potentially be held liable for bounce house injuries, including the operator of the bounce house, the person who rented the bounce house, the business that leased the bounce house to the renter, or the bounce house installer.

 

Many bounce houses require a waiver to be signed before being able to use or play in the bounce house. If you sign a waiver before entering the bounce house, you are accepting the risk associated with bouncing – but you are not accepting the risk associated with a negligent act. If your child is injured due to negligent maintenance, set up, or management, filing a lawsuit may be the only way to get fair and just compensation to help them recover.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Are Waterparks Safe

Are Waterparks Safe?

Are Waterparks Safe

When it comes to fun in the water, Florida has most other states beat. Not only do we boast some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and lush lakes, we are home to some of the world’s most renowned waterparks.

 

Abounding with towering slides, colorful fountains, and lazy rivers, waterparks can be the perfect place to cool down on a steaming hot summer afternoon. However, like all recreational activities, visiting a waterpark does come with its share of risks and dangers.

 

Fortunately, the vast majority of waterpark accidents and injuries can be avoided for visitors who are informed and prepared. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common examples of waterpark accidents and injuries, along with preventative measures you can take to avoid them.

 

  1. Drownings

Florida sees more drownings among children under the age of five than any other state. Children can drown in minutes in less than two inches of water, so the risk of drowning is present in even the shallowest wading pool. Throw massive waterslides and crowded wave pools into the mix, and the risk of drowning only heightens. To make matters worse, most waterparks are staffed by teens who are unqualified to supervise children or save lives.

 

What you can do: Always watch children closely—a good rule of thumb is to keep them in arm’s length of you at all times. Even if there are lifeguards or ride attendants present, remember that these personnel are responsible for the care of hundreds of patrons, and may not be able to take notice or act quick enough to prevent a tragedy.

 

  1. Slip and falls

In a venue where splashing, spraying, and giant cannonballs are encouraged, you can be certain that the floors are going to get a little slippery. Slipping and falling can be particularly dangerous in a waterpark, where floors are often hard concrete or tile. The risk of slip and fall accidents only increase when negligent staff fail to clean up splashes in a timely manner.

 

What you can do: Encourage your kids to walk slowly and carefully, while teaching them never to run under any circumstances. If you spot any dangerous spills or splashes, alert a staff member immediately.

 

  1. Sunburn

You may be well aware of the importance of applying sunscreen before prolonged sun exposure. But what you may not have considered is the importance of wearing sunscreen even while visiting an indoor waterpark. Indoor waterparks often have roofs designed to allow sunshine in, which can result in unexpected and painful burns.

 

Boca Raton Premises Liability Lawyer

What you can do: Whether you are visiting an indoor or outdoor waterpark, you should apply sunscreen to yourself and your children at least 15 minutes before entering the water. You should continue to reapply sunscreen every three to four hours.

 

  1. Waterborne Illness

Recent outbreaks of waterborne illnesses at waterparks have raised some concerns about the safety of these venues. Cryptosporidium, E.coli, and giardia often lurk in the deceptively blue pools and attractions at waterparks, causing unwanted symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

 

What you can do: Discourage your children from swallowing the water or exposing their buttocks to the spray of water, since this can make them more vulnerable to germs and illnesses. Always shower or bathe before going in the water to help control the spread of illness yourself.

 

While you can work to prevent waterpark accidents among you and your children, you cannot eliminate the risk of harm if waterpark management or staff are negligent, or if attractions are not properly constructed, maintained, and inspected. If you, a family member, or someone you care about has been injured at a waterpark due to the negligence of another, contact a top Florida personal injury attorney.  Your attorney can help you hold the guilty party accountable for their actions, and secure compensation for medical bills, recovery costs, and overall pain and suffering.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

5 Ways Kids Can Get Hurt in the Summer

5 Ways Kids Can Get Hurt in the Summer

As the days grows longer and the weather turns warmer, youngsters’ thoughts begin drifting towards waterparks, camping trips, and sleepovers with friends. Few imagine their summers will involve a trip to the emergency room.

 

Regrettably, emergency room trips are all too common during the summer months, when the national number of hospital visits rises. Children in particular are vulnerable to injuries during the summer months, when time off of school allows kids to spend more time outside playing and getting into mischief.

 

According to a study from Safe Kids Worldwide, unintentional injury is the number one killer of kids in the US, with more than 2,000 youngsters dying every summer from preventable injuries.

 

However, this does not mean that parents should keep their kids shuttered up in the house while the temperature skyrockets. If you are a parent, you can keep your child safe this summer by actively supervising them when they engage in summertime activities and keeping an eye out for safety risks. Watch out for these five common ways kids can get hurt during the summer.

 

Drowning. While swimming is an excellent form of both exercise and recreation for youngsters, children are at a high risk of drowning when left unsupervised in the water. In the US, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death among kids ages 1 to 14. During the summer, the risk of drowning increases more than any other type of unintentional injury.

 

To ensure your child’s safety, always keep a careful eye on your child when near a pool, lake, ocean, or other body of water. You should always be within arm’s reach of your child in the water, ready to snatch him or her up in the event of a strong current, undertow, or other dangerous condition. Enroll your children in swimming lessons at a young age, and outfit the entire family in life jackets when boating or swimming in open bodies of water. If your home has a pool, install a four-sided isolation fence to keep unsupervised children from falling in, and install anti-entrapment drain devices to prevent drain entanglement and entrapment.

 

Bicycle injuries. Aside from automobiles, bicycles are involved in more injuries among young children than any other consumer product. In the summer, bike-related child injuries and fatalities increase an estimated 45 percent. Nearly half of all children hospitalized for bike injuries are diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Other wheeled sports, such as skateboarding and roller skating, are also common causes of injury.

 

As a parent, you can help to protect your child from biking injuries by outfitting your child in a helmet and appropriate protective gear every time they bike or skate. Teach your child about road safety, instructing them on hand signals and traffic rules. Make sure your child’s bicycle is the proper size, and regularly check the bike to ensure all parts are working correctly.

 

Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Burns. The risk of burns increases among young children around camp fires, barbeques, and fireworks. Younger children are also more likely to suffer burns from hot food and water.

 

Never leave your child unsupervised around an open flame or hot appliance. Maintain all the smoke alarms in your home, and use stove-guards to prevent curious hands from suffering burns. Discuss a fire emergency plan with your family, ensuring that your children are aware of escape procedures and a family meeting point in the event of an incident.

 

Falls. Year-round, falls cause more injuries among kids than any other type of accident. During the summer, the risk of falls increases, as children spend more time in playgrounds, parks, and decks. For young children, open windows can also create a serious risk.

 

As a parent, you can help prevent fall-related child accidents by keeping a close eye on your child on the playground, sports field, and balconies. To avoid window-related falls, install safety guards and keep furniture away from windows.

 

Motor vehicle accidents. In the US, auto accidents are the most common cause of death among children aged 3 to 14. In addition to crashes, children can get hurt and injured when playing in parking lots and driveways, or when left unattended in hot vehicles.

 

You can help keep your child passenger safe by correctly installing and using an age- and size-appropriate car seat. If your child is older, you should stress the importance of seatbelts and wait until everyone is buckled up before beginning your ride. Keep an eye on your child and discourage horseplay in parking lots and driveways, and never leave your kid unattended in your car.

 

Boca Raton Auto Accident Lawyer

However, even the most responsible and vigilant parent cannot eliminate the risk of accidents and injuries for their child entirely. If your child is injured this summer due to another’s negligence, consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience in child injuries. With the help of an attorney, you can hold the guilty party responsible and work to prevent similar accidents from harming children in the future.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Common Holiday Accidents for Kids

Common Holiday Accidents for Kids

Common Holiday Accidents for Kids
With the holidays fast approaching, many parents are looking forward to unwinding, sleeping in, and maybe making an appearance at a few holiday parties. But while you may feel inclined to relax parental supervision and be more lenient with the kids, this might not be what’s best for your children. The holidays come with an increased risk of accidents and holiday related-injuries, particularly for young carousers.

 

Happily, the chances for such accidents can be dramatically reduced with caution and responsible preparation. Here’s a list of the most common holiday accidents for kids and how to avoid them:

 

Hypothermia and other illnesses

 

Thankfully, this is one that Floridians don’t really have to worry about, but it’s still worth considering if you’re going to be traveling north to visit family. Youngsters who spend long hours playing outdoors are at risk for hypothermia, which can occur at temperatures as warm as 40 degrees. Cold weather can also bring about coughs, cold, and the flu.

 

To reduce risk for such illnesses, make sure children are dressed properly before venturing outdoors. Outfit kids in loose-fitting layers, and be sure to cover heads, hands, and feet. Avoid activities that cause a lot of sweat, as wet clothing allows heat to leave the body more quickly.

 

Burns and fires

 

From bubbling pots of gravy to flickering candles to electric lights, the holidays come with countless burn and fire hazards.

 

To prevent burns, keep children out of the kitchen, and never leave young ones unsupervised with lit candles. Christmas tree lights, decorations, and space heaters can also pose a threat—be sure to examine wires for damage or fraying, and avoid overloading electrical sockets. Always unplug lights before sleeping or leaving the house.

 

Poisoning

 

Common Christmas plants—including poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly berries—can be highly toxic if digested. If eaten, these plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes.

 

Keep plants and flowers out of reach of children and pets, and be sure to have the number for your local poison control center on hand.

 

Choking

 

Children are especially at risk for choking-related injuries, and the opportunity for choking accidents only grows around the holidays. Not only are common holiday foods such as drumsticks, candy, and popcorn potential hazards, non-food items such as ornaments and toys pose dangers as well.

 

Remind children to take their time and chew their food to reduce potential for choking. Refrain from purchasing small or breakable decorations, and do not allow young children to play with unsafe toys with parts small enough to fit through a paper towel roll.

 

Car accidents

 

Boca Raton Car Accidents

When the holiday season rolls around, driving becomes an especially dangerous endeavor.  During this busy travel time, roads flood with drivers—many of whom are tired or impaired by alcohol. What’s more, holiday weather conditions can be treacherous.

 

To avoid tragedy, never drive under the influence of alcohol, and refrain from driving during bad weather and busy traffic times. Make sure youngsters buckle up, and little ones are tucked safely in car seats.

 

Even with responsible care and precautions, holiday accidents happen. There is little you can do if a reputable manufacturer allows you to purchase a defective product  or if an irresponsible driver hits your car. If your child or loved one has suffered injury because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you and your family can receive the compensation you deserve.

 

Boca Raton Child Injury & Accident Lawyer

Hot Car Deaths Are Preventable

Boca Raton Child Injury & Accident Lawyer

As we reach the hottest part of the summer, it’s essential that parents avoid leaving their children alone in the car, even for just a short while. Children are even more susceptible to heat stroke than adults, and it’s never okay for a child to be left inside a vehicle on a hot day.

 

The issue of leaving children unattended in vehicles has gained more attention this summer after the horrifying case of Cooper Harris, a 22-month old boy who died after his father allegedly forgot he was in the car on the way to work. Police are still investigating the circumstances of the boy’s death, and the father is currently facing murder and child cruelty charges.

 

Whether Harris’ death was intentional or truly an accident, it is far from being the only case of a child perishing in an overheated vehicle. An average of 38 children have died in a hot car every year since 1998, and almost a third of those children snuck into the car without their caregiver knowing, while about half became trapped in the car because their caregiver forgot they were there.

 

There is no good excuse for a child dying in a hot car, and all parents and caregivers should take safety precautions to make sure their child is not accidentally trapped in a car this summer.

 

Safety Tips to Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths

 

Safety Tips to Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths in Children

Make a habit of keeping your car doors locked and keeping keys out of reach at home. When you’re parked at home, lock your doors and hide your keys somewhere that your child cannot get to them and use them to sneak into the vehicle.

 

Teach your child that the car is not an appropriate play area. Talk to your kids about what is and what isn’t an appropriate place for play. Let them know that it’s never okay to hide in the car.

 

Always check the entire vehicle before leaving. While it might seem unlikely to you that your child could have quietly snuck into the car before you drove away, you should make a habit of checking the whole car before you park and leave for an extended period.

 

Remind yourself when a child is in the car. If dropping your child off is not a normal part of your routine, find a way to remind yourself that the child is in your car, such as putting a Post-It note on the dashboard or placing an item that you’ll need for the day, such as a purse or briefcase, in the back seat.

 

Remember that cracking the windows or parking in shade is not a safety measure. A child’s body temperature can increase three to five times faster than an adult’s, and heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the car was parked out of the sun and had the windows cracked. Heat stroke can also occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees, so it’s not safe to leave your child in the car even on a cooler day.

 

Get help if you see a child left alone in a car. If you spot an unattended child in a parked car, call 911 immediately. If the child is in distress, get them out as soon as possible. They will need to be cooled using cold water but should not be placed in extremely cold temperatures, such as an ice bath.

 

This summer, let’s all work together to prevent more hot car deaths. This type of accident is entirely avoidable if we take some basic safety precautions and seek help whenever we see a child left alone in a car.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Boca Raton Child Injury and Accident Lawyer

How to Keep Your Kids Safe at a Public Playground

Boca Raton Child Injury and Accident Lawyer

Play is an essential part of the development for children, and what better place for kids to play, explore, and interact with other kids than a public playground? Unfortunately, not all playgrounds have equipment that is appropriate for children of all ages, and if your city’s parks department doesn’t keep up with maintenance, or if a playground equipment manufacturer releases a defective or dangerous product, your child could be at risk for injury.

 

Over 200,000 children age 14 and younger are taken to the emergency room every year due to serious playground injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Injuries can result from a number of different accidents, including:

 

• Falling from climbing equipment
• Falling from a swing
• Entangling of clothes or hair in equipment
• Being cut by sharp and potentially rusty equipment
• Head entrapment (e.g. becoming stuck between two vertical bars)
• Tripping over suspended components (e.g. ropes or cables)
• Limbs being caught under moving component, such as a seesaw

 

The CDC classifies 45% of playground injuries as severe, including fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations. No parent wants their child to ever experience such a horrible injury, but most parents still want their children to be able to play as they grow up. So how do you let your kids enjoy public playgrounds while keeping them safe at the same time?

 

6 Tips to Prevent Playground Accidents

 

Hot To Prevent Playground Accidents

While some accidents are unpreventable and may be the fault of the equipment manufacturer, playground designer, or parks department, many accidents can be prevented. Here are 6 tips you should follow when you take your kids to a public playground:

 

1)Always supervise your children—and always make sure that they have a clear line of sight to see where you are, as well.

2) Don’t go down slides with your child in your lap.2009 study revealed a link between tibia fractures in children and going down a slide with an adult, because children’s legs can become stuck or twisted while they and their parent keep moving down the slide. If your child isn’t old enough to go down a slide by themselves, direct them to more age-appropriate equipment.

3) Look out for playgrounds with rough surfaces. Steer clear of playgrounds built on asphalt, concrete, gravel, or hard-packed soil. The safest surfaces are mulch, shredded rubber, or wood chips.

4) Keep kids away from any equipment where their head or a limb could become entrapped. These might include vertical bars on climbing equipment, merry-go-rounds, or partial openings in a playground fortress.

5) Watch out for tripping hazards. In addition to suspended equipment components, like ropes or a low balance beam, these might include natural elements like tree roots or rocks.

6) Inform the parks department or an appropriate local office about potential hazards. If you see something potentially dangerous on a playground, such as rusty equipment or a tripping hazard in a high-traffic area, speak up! Let either the parks department or whatever local office is in charge of the park in your area know about the problem. This way, they can hopefully remedy it before someone gets seriously hurt.

 

If Your Child is Injured, Make Sure They Get the Medical Attention They Need

If your child is injured on a playground despite your best prevention efforts, your priority should be to get him or her the medical attention that he or she needs. Once you’ve gotten proper treatment, you need to consider who or what caused the accident. If the accident was the fault of a negligent city department, manufacturer, or designer, contact a personal injury attorney in order to fight for compensation and make sure playgrounds are safer for the children who may visit them in the future.

 

 

Swimming Pool Drains Pose Major Danger to Children

Swimming Pool Drains Pose Major Danger to Children

Swimming Pool Drains Pose Major Danger to Children
Do you have a backyard pool that has been on your property for years? Do you know if that pool uses a drain system? If so, you may need to add some new safety features to keep your family safe this summer.

 

Many older pools, both public and residential, were built with drains because pool designers originally believed drains were necessary to keep water circulating and reduce contamination. However, the suction created by these drains can exert 500 or more pounds of pressure if a person or object becomes stuck in them, making it almost impossible to lift someone who is trapped against one of these underwater drains.

 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 83 reported swimming pool drain accidents between 1999 and 2008, including 11 deaths. This number is most likely a low estimate, as medical records and the police don’t always report the specific cause of drowning deaths. Whatever the exact number, it’s clear that the majority of accident victims are children who do not recognize the potential dangers of swimming pool drains.

 

Pool Designers Moving Away from Drains, but Older Pools Still a Problem

 

In recent years, swimming pool designers have looked at computational fluid dynamics using computer simulations of pools and have discovered that pools without drains are no less effective than pools with drains when it comes to circulating the water. This knowledge, paired with reports of horrific child drowning accidents, has led many designers to eliminate drains altogether from modern pools. Those public pools that were already built with drains are now required to use special rounded drain covers that don’t create suction.

 

Unfortunately, regulations on residential pools vary from state to state, and removing unsafe drains is not always a requirement. In Florida, people who have residential pools are only required to have one of several specifically outlined safety features, and some of those safety features are not necessarily enough to prevent a drowning accident (it is possible for a child to fall through a swimming pool cover, for example).

 

If you own a swimming pool, it is up to you to take the proper precautions to prevent drain-related and other drowning accidents.

 

5 Tips to Keep Your Pool Safe

 

Tips Keep Your Pool Kid Safe
If kids are going to be using your pool this summer, keep the following safety tips in mind: (It’s a good idea to follow these tips whether your pool has drains or not.)

 

1. Always supervise children. Never leave children without adult supervision in a pool, even if they have taken swimming lessons and appear to be competent swimmers (swimming abilities will not help if they become stuck on a drain).

2. Add a safety fence. Create some kind of barrier that completely surrounds your pool and that kids cannot easily climb over.

3. Update your pool’s safety features. If your pool currently has flat drain covers that create suction, upgrade to the kind of domed pool covers that public pools now use. You should also consider investing in a safety vacuum release system, which will cause pool drains to stop creating suction if a person or object becomes stuck in them.

4. Warn kids about drain dangers. Even if your pool already has domed covers and a safety vacuum release system, caution your kids to stay clear of the drain. They should also avoid wearing jewelry or baggy clothing and should put long hair in a bun or ponytail to prevent themselves from getting caught on any of the pool’s features.

5. Don’t try to lift a child straight off a pool drain. Because traditional pool drains have such powerful suction, it is impossible to pull a stuck child straight off the pool drain. If your child does become stuck, you will need to wedge your fingers or arm in between the child and the drain to break the suction, and then you will have to roll the child away from the drain.

 

If you take the proper precautions and know what to do in the event of an emergency, there’s no reason why you and your family can’t enjoy your backyard pool this summer.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.