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About safekids

Safe Kids Grand Forks is an injury prevention coalition who has as their mission to prevent unintentional injuries to children under the age of 10. Safe Kids Grand Forks is one of over 600 state and local coalitions affilicated with Safe Kids Worldwide in Washington, D.C. Altru Health System is the lead agency for SKGF and our goal is to collaborate and coordinate activivies of all entities in the community who have childhood injury prevention on their agenda. Together, we are keeping the children of our community and region safe!!

Plan Ahead When Traveling by Car or Plane, Regardless of the Distance

To many children, summer means one thing – vacation! Having fun while traveling is important, whether you go to Disneyland or Grandma’s house, but planning ahead to ensure safe travels should be a top priority for all parents.

If your vacation includes a stay at a relative or friend’s, make sure you plan ahead and talk to your host about the possibility of installing age-appropriate safety devices such as cabinet locks or outlet covers to prevent injuries to your kids. This is especially true when visiting people whose children have already grown or those without children, as safety devices may be out-of-date or nonexistent.

When traveling by car, always bring your child’s car seat or booster seat.  Babies should be kept rear-facing for as long as their car seat allows, usually to about age 2 and 30 pounds and a forward-facing car seat can protect older toddlers up to 40 pounds or more depending on the weight limit for the harness. Safe Kids coalitions around the country hold child safety seat check-up events where certified child passenger technicians teach parents about proper installation and car seat safety. Visit www.safekids.org to find the nearest child safety seat check. Every time you get in your car, it is important to make sure all occupants are buckled appropriately and secure all loose items so that they don’t become projectiles in case of a sudden stop or crash.

When traveling by airplane, Safe Kids Grand Forks and the Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommend using a car seat.  Infants and toddlers are safest in an approved car seat with a harness, in case of turbulence. A child who rides in a car seat on the ground should ride in that car seat on a plane. While most car seats can fit on standard airplane seats, make sure your child’s car seat is labeled ‘certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.’

Children who have outgrown car seats should sit directly on the airplane seat and, like all passengers, keep the lap belt buckled across their thighs or hips. Booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, because they require shoulder belts and airplane seats have only lap belts.

Planning ahead also involves packing appropriate gear for your children.  If they will be biking, riding a scooter, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc, make sure to pack a helmet that is appropriate for the activity and fits them properly. If you have a baby and the trip involves staying overnight, bring your own folding playpen if possible, rather than relying on borrowed cribs. In several past surveys, Safe Kids Worldwide found some hotel-issued cribs to be defective, damaged or even recalled from the market.

If you must use a hotel’s crib inspect it carefully for broken or missing parts and look up the model on www.recalls.gov to make sure it isn’t subject to any safety notices.

For more information about child passenger safety on airplanes, visit the “Flying with Children” page at www.faa.gov/passengers. For information about crib safety, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov. For information about car seats and child passenger safety in general, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Procedures for Emergency Care from Safe Kids Grand Forks

Safe Kids Grand Forks offers these tips for Emergency Care:

Your first step in providing emergency care is calling 9-1-1.

Be prepared to give information to the dispatcher, such as:
» Address of the emergency  » Telephone number  » Description of the problem
» Number of people injured  » Conditions of victims  » Care being provided
Do not hang up. Stay on the line with the dispatcher.

Once an emergency has been recognized, be calm and follow these steps:
Check: The scene for safety and the victim for consciousness
Call: 9-1-1
Care: For life-threatening conditions
Ensure: Your own safety before assisting others

Poisoning & Allergic Reaction


» Call Poison Control 1-800-222-1222
» Follow poison control directions  » Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so
» Monitor airway and breathing  » Keep the victim comfortable

Allergic Reaction:

» If difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1
» Ask the victim if he/she carries medication, if so, assist in administration
» Monitor airway and breathing  » Keep the victim resting quietly

Bone & Joint Injury


» Minimize movement!
» Place your hands on both sides of the victim’s head
» Tell the victim to respond verbally to questions and avoid nodding/shaking head
» Call 9-1-1
» Have the victim remain in the position found
» Maintain an open airway and continue to check for breathing
» Do not remove headgear


» Support the injured area above and below the injury site
» Do not move the injured part
» Splint an injury only if the victim must be moved
» Splint an injured limb in the position you find it


Stop: The burning by removing the victim from the heat source
Cool: The burn by flushing with large amounts of cool water for a minimum of 10 minutes (This will provide some comfort to the area)
Cover: The area with a sterile dressing
» Do not break blisters  » Do not apply ointments or creams
» Flush chemical burns for a minimum of 15 minutes

Call 9-1-1 for:
» Burns that cause breathing difficulty or signs of burns around the mouth/nose
» Burns covering more than one body part  » Burns on the head, neck, hands, feet or genitals
» Burns on a child or elderly person  » Burns on victims with medical conditions
» Burns resulting from chemicals, explosions or electricity


» Cover the wound with a dressing and apply direct pressure
» Do not remove the dressing. If it soaks through, add more on top
» Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart if you do not suspect broken bones
» Cover snugly with a bandage
» If bleeding does not stop, call 9-1-1 and apply more direct pressure

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.


Protecting Yourself Year-Round; Why Spring Sports Safety is a Must!

As winter turns into spring and temperatures increase, so does the amount of time that children spend outdoors playing spring sports.  This means that the number of injuries to children can also increase.

Each year, more than 30 million children participate in sports in the United States and more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports injuries. While collision and contact sports are associated with higher rates of injury, injuries from individual sports tend to be more severe.

In team sports, most injuries – 62 percent – occur during practices, not games. The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heat-related illness.

When we think of sports injuries, we tend to think of dramatic tackles or falls – such as the plays you often see on highlight reels, but young athletes are also at risk of injuries. If your coach recommends certain types of warmups, it’s not just to make you a better athlete — it will help keep you from getting hurt.

Safe Kids Grand Forks recommends these precautions for all children playing or practicing any individual or team sport:

  • Before signing up for a sport, get a general physical exam.
  • Always wear appropriate protective gear for the activity — for practice as well as games — and make sure it’s the right size and properly adjusted.
  • Always do your warm-ups and cool-downs.  If it’s important before and after a game, it’s important before and after practice too.
  • Make sure responsible adults know and enforce the safety rules of the sport, are present to provide supervision, and are trained in first aid and CPR.
  • Never “play through” an injury. Get immediate help from a coach or trainer and be sure to mention everything that hurts or aches.  All coaches should have a plan for dealing with emergencies.
  • If you’re playing outside, wear sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher.
  • Follow the rules. In most sports, the rules are based not only on sportsmanship, but safety.

Last but not least: Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or electrolyte sports drinks before and during the activity, and rest frequently during hot weather. A child can lose up to a quart of sweat during two hours of exercise, and kids get overheated more quickly than adults and cannot cool down as easily.

 For more information about sports safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Protect Against Home Hazards – Store Poisonous Goods Safely

It is natural for children to explore their surroundings – Safe Kids Grand Forks reminds parents to make sure they store hazardous materials – such as cleaning products or medication – out of their children’s reach.

Each year, unintentional poisoning is the cause of death for approximately 100 children and poison control centers in the United States receive 1.2 million calls as a result of accidental poisoning of children. Nearly 90 percent of these toxic exposures occur in the home, and over 50% involve non-pharmaceutical products such as cosmetics, cleansers, personal care products, plants, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol and toys.

It doesn’t take much to make a small child sick. Almost half of poison exposures for children under the age of 5 are caused by medicine. Children have faster metabolisms than adults and anything they ingest will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly.

Safe Kids Grand Forks reminds parents to learn the toll-free poison control center number: 1-800-222-1222. Keep it near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. This number connects you to a poison control center from anywhere in the United States.

If a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure, call 911 instead. Follow the 911 operator’s instructions. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.


Safe Kids Grand Forks offers these additional tips:

  • Lock up potential poisons out of sight and reach of kids. This includes makeup, medicine, plants, cleaning products, pesticides, art supplies, and beer, wine and liquor.
  • Never leave kids alone with an open container of something you wouldn’t want them to ingest. A child can be poisoned in a matter of seconds.
  • Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as candy and don’t involve children as helpers with your medication.
  • Choose medicines and products that have child-resistant caps. When you are giving medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.
  • Keep products in their original containers. Read labels to learn if a product is poisonous and for first aid information.
  • If your home was built before 1978, test for lead-based paint and get your child tested for lead exposure. Children inhale the dust of lead-based paint and can build up enough lead in their blood to affect intelligence, growth and development.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up around fuel-burning appliances and cars in garages. It can make a child seriously ill in concentrations that would barely affect an adult.
  • Know which plants in and around your home can be poisonous.
  • Discuss these precautions with grandparents and caregivers. They may have medications that can be very dangerous to children and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.

For more information about poison prevention, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Thousands Injured in Furniture Accidents

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that between 2000 and 2010 there were at least 245 deaths related to tip-overs of furniture, televisions or appliances among children ages 8 years and under. Most of these deaths, 90 percent of them, involved children younger than 6. In 2011, the CPSC identified this issue as one of the top hidden home hazards. Kids can be seriously injured or killed as a result of climbing onto, falling against or pulling themselves up on shelves, bookcases, dressers, TV tables and other furniture.

CPSC data also shows that between 2008 and 2010 there were 22,000 injuries associated with product instability or tip-overs involving children younger than 9. That number is more than half of all estimated instability and tip-over injuries between 2008 and 2010. If a piece of furniture is unstable or top-heavy, fasten it to a wall using brackets, screws or wall straps. Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers. Don’t keep remote controls, candy or other tempting items on unstable stands or tables. A child might be enticed to reach for the top and pull down the object, the stand or both.

Tie up loose cords, too — a child pulling on an electrical cord, or tripping on one, could pull an appliance off a stand. Other steps everyone can take to protect children at home include teaching children not to climb or jump on furniture and pushing the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand. Over the last decade, 60 percent of tip-over fatalities involved a television.

Kids are also in danger of suffocation if they become accidentally trapped in a cabinet, toy chest or laundry machine; in 2007 alone there were 3,270 injuries to children ages 2 to 14 involving toy chests.  Always supervise children around any confined space and keep the doors closed and locked.

Toy chests that meet voluntary standards set by the CPSC are equipped with lid supports that hold the lid open in any position. The standards also call for ventilation holes to prevent suffocation. If you have a toy chest with a lid that doesn’t stay open, Safe Kids Grand Forks recommends you remove the lid or install a spring-loaded lid support.

These are not hazards that kill hundreds of children every year, like vehicle crashes or drowning, but they are so easy to prevent and the consequences can be so severe. Don’t underestimate the possibility of a small child being crushed by unsteady furniture.

For more information about home safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Change Your Clocks – Change Your Batteries

Over twenty years ago, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs recognized a disturbing trend that many home fire fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms. So through the years, the two have worked together, along with thousands of fire departments nationwide, to help reduce this number by reminding communities to check and change their smoke alarm batteries and to make sure their smoke alarms are working.

So when you set your clocks forward on March 9th this year, make a life-saving change in your household—change and test the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors—and remind your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. Making sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order takes just a moment, but is the best defense your family has against the devastating effects of a home fire. Smoke alarms typically expire after 8-10 years. So if your alarm is more than 10 years old, it’s time to install a new one.

Safe Kids offers a smoke alarm/battery testing tracking sheet to keep track of your monthly checks. You can download it at our web site (www.safekidsgf.com) or contact us for a hard copy that we will mail to you.

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Safe Kids Grand Forks talks about Sports Nutrition

Help kids be safe and at their best by providing adequate food and fluids prior to exercise. By eating the right food at the right time, athletes can focus on their performance during practice and competition and not their stomachs.

Choose meals and snacks high in carbohydrates for quick energy. Pre-game meals and snacks are especially important for tournaments or competitions lasting longer than an hour. Since everyone is different, pre-competition foods should be tested before practice to see how they are tolerated.

Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a simple thing to avoid by taking the time to drink before and during competition. Stick with familiar foods before workouts and avoid trying new foods on the day of a game or event. Avoid foods that are too spicy, greasy, or that produce a lot of gas (IE. beans and other high fiber foods). Contents of meals should be based on the amount of time an athlete has to eat before competition. If the time before competition is 30 minutes then mostly liquids are recommended such as a sports drink or water. If there are 3-4 hours before competition then a meal of pasta, meat sauce, vegetables, fruit, milk, and water would be tolerated.

Timing of meals and snacks is key to beating the competition. If you are interested in more information to meet specific needs, call to schedule an individual appointment with a Sports Dietitian at the Sanny and Gerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics at 701.732.2620. Fueling for Performance Classes are also available. For more information on Fueling for Performance or other sports nutrition services call 701.732.7624.

For more information on sports nutrition, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Safe Kids Grand Forks talks about Snowmobile Safety

Each year, over 2,600 kids are hurt on snowmobiles in the US. That is nearly 30 per day. Most crashes happen due to excessive speeds and riding through off-trail locations. They usually result in the driver hitting an object. Snowmobiles are very heavy (up to 600 pounds) and can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph. Crashes with vehicles this big and fast can cause very serious injuries.

Assure that all riders have taken a snowmobile safety course to learn how to handle the machines. To obtain the certification online, visit www.parkrec.nd.gov/online To further test your knowledge, visit www.snowiasa.org for a Safe Rider’s online safety quiz.


Here are some safety tips for safe snowmobiling this winter season:

• Wear a helmet!!!!! Your helmet must be made for this type of sport, should fit well and the chin strap must be used at all times to keep the helmet in place in the event of a crash.

• Use eye protection, especially when traveling in wooded areas.

• Steer clear of driving by bodies of water where there may be thin ice or open water.

• Do not carry more passengers on the snowmobile than it is intended for.

• Know and use the approved snowmobiling hand signals.

For more information on these tips and ND guidelines for snowmobile use, visit www.parkrec.nd.gov

For more information about snowmobile safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

What to do with a Car Seat after an Accident?

Were You Involved In A Car Accident? Wondering If Your Car Seat Needs to be Replaced?

Safe Kids Grand Forks wants to remind you if your car seat has been involved in a crash, there are guidelines for replacing your seat so that your child can ride safely in the future.

In the past, the recommendation was for car seats to be replaced any time they were involved in a crash, no matter how minor or severe. Currently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that car seats do not need to be replaced if they were involved ONLY in a MINOR crash. NHTSA defines a minor crash as one in which ALL of the following apply:

• A visual inspection of the child safety seat, including inspection under any easily movable seat padding, does not reveal any cracks or deformation that might have been caused by the crash.

• The vehicle with the child safety seat installed was capable of being driven from the scene of the crash.

• The vehicle door nearest the child safety seat was undamaged.

• There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants; and

• The air bags (if any) did not deploy.

If your car seat needs replacement, even if the car seat wasn’t being used at the time of the crash, it should be replaced as soon as possible following the crash. It is recommended that seat belts in use during the crash also be replaced. This can be done at a car dealership. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a new seat and the replacement of the seat belts.

If you have questions or need verification for your insurance company, please feel free to contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at 701-780-1489.

For information about car seats and child passenger safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

Safe Kids Grand Forks Celebrates Child Passenger Safety Month

February is Child Passenger Safety Month. Here are some car seat tips from Safe Kids Grand Forks.

When Choosing A Car Seat:

- When purchasing a car seat (especially prior to your baby’s birth), save the receipt in case you need to return the car seat for any reason.

- If obtaining a car seat from a friend or relative, check the car seat over carefully. DO NOT USE IF: pieces are missing, the seat or parts are cracked/broken or the crash history cannot be determined.

- It is recommended to NOT purchase a car seat at a garage sale where the seller is unknown or at a second hand store. In these cases, the history of the seat cannot be definitively determined and if it has been in a crash, the seat is unsafe to use.

- Do not use a car seat that is older than 6 years. The manufacture’s date can be found on the seat to determine the seat’s age. If the labels with the date and model number are missing, the seat should not be used.

- Ensure that the seat is intended for use in a motor vehicle and meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. There are several infant products on the market that can be easily mistaken for a car seat (infant seats or feeding chairs). All seats are labeled with a tag stating that it meets this standard for use in a car.

- Be sure to send in the registration card to ensure you are notified of recalls, etc. If the registration card has been misplaced, they can be obtained on www.nhtsa.gov. or on the manufacturer’s website.

- Remember car seat accessories (head molds sold separate from the seat, seat belt tighteners, etc.) are not crash tested and should NOT be used.

- Car seats that come with a harness system are of two types, a 5-point system or a 3-point system. The 5-point system offers more protection in the event of a crash and would be recommended over a 3-point restraint.

- Infant car seats will usually have two or more slots/positions for the harness system and 1-2 crotch strap position. It is preferable to choose one with different slots/positions rather than a seat with only one level. This is helpful to create the proper harness fit for different size babies.

When Using A Car Seat:

- READ the car seat instruction manual and your vehicle’s owner’s manual on seat belts & child seat installation prior to use of the seat.

- NEVER place a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag.

- It is recommended to place the car seat in the middle of the back seat so the child is furthest away from where the crash may occur. You must check your vehicle’s owner’s manual as some vehicles cannot accommodate a car seat in this seating position.

- Never place additional padding behind or underneath your child unless it was sold with the seat. If head support is needed, roll up receiving blankets and put along the outside edges of the seat/baby and arched over the top of the head. This system creates support without adding additional padding behind the baby. In a crash, padding sold separately from the seat may “squish” down and then the harness system may be too loose to provide adequate protection.

- The harness retainer clip should be placed at the armpit level. This puts it across the hard breastbone (rather than over soft tummy tissue) and also keeps the straps together so the child is not ejected from the harness system.

- Ensure baby’s clothing is appropriate. The outfit should have legs to accommodate the harness straps.

- Snowsuits and extra padding behind the baby should not be used. It is VERY important that the harness strap fit tight against the body so that in a crash, the baby stays tightly against the seat back. This provides support to the baby’s head, neck and spine and prevents injury. If there is extra padding (sheepskin, snowsuits, blankets, etc.) under the baby, it will compress down in a crash causing the harness to not be tight.

- Check harness straps to make sure they are not twisted and are properly routed.

For more information on child passenger safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.