How to Keep Your Child Safe in Your Vehicle

November 16, 2010

Here are some helpful hints to keep your child safe while riding in your vehicle:

1) Always use a Child Safety Seat.

2) Use the Correct Child Safety Seat for your child. Make sure you are using the right one based on your child’s age and weight. Young children should ride in rear facing seats, while older children use forward facing seats and booster seats.

3) Be knowledgeable about your Child Safety Seat. Make sure the seat is installed properly and read the owners manual in case you have any questions or concerns about the safety seat. Also, most local fire departments offer child safety seat installing programs. All you need to do is take the child seat to your local fire department and they will instruct you on installing the safety seat properly.

4) Register your Child Safety Seat. By completing the registration card and registering your safety seat, you will be notified by the manufacturer should there be any problems and/or recalls on your specific model.

5) Love your baby. Children need more support than adults. Use a rear facing seat that offers additional head and neck support for babies up to 22 pounds.

6) Use a Booster Seat. Once your child has outgrown the Safety Seat make sure and continue the safety of your child with the use of a booster seat. These seats allow the child to use the lap and shoulder belts already in place in your car in a safe manner. Booster seats help position the belt across your child’s chest rather than his/her neck.

7) Use Seat Harnesses Correctly. Harnesses should be in slots at or below the shoulders for rear facing seats and at or above the shoulders for forward facing seats. These harnesses should lie snug and in a straight line across your child.

8) Obey Safety Seat Belt Laws. Each state in the US has different laws on seat belts and child seats, so make sure and obey the law in your state. Also, if you travel, make sure and be aware of the laws in and around the state where you are traveling to.

9) Ask the Experts. You can learn how to correctly install your safety seat by attending local passenger safety clinics. These events are held frequently and are usually advertised in your local paper.

10) Search for more resources on Child Safety online at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or by calling 866-SEAT-CHECK.

Serious Injuries Cause by Segway Scooter Accidents in the District of Columbia

October 13, 2010

Segway Scooters are self-balancing personal transporters. The scooter runs on two wheels and has a battery operated electric motor. It also comes with specialized software that provides the self balancing aspect. The operator of the scooter controls the speed by standing upright and leaning forward and the direction by tilting the handles to the left or the right. The maximum speed for the scooter is 12.5 miles per hour. The Segway Scooter was first introduced in the US in December 2001 and are currently being used both for leisure and professional use. They are used by sightseeing tours, police departments, airport security, the military, and even emergency response officials.

Segway Scooter

The problem with the Segway Scooter is that they are not considered motor vehicles in the District of Columbia. Local regulations state that they are allowed to be operated on bicycle lanes and/or sidewalks and an operator is not required to wear a helmet. It is because of these regulations that traumatic head injuries are occurring.

A study conducted at the George Washington University Hospital Emergency Department in the District of Columbia included cases from April 1, 2005 through November 30, 2009 showed that there were 44 hospital visits that involved Segway Scooter operators. Out of these 44 patients, only 7 were wearing helmets. The cases involved operators who unintentionally struck immobile objects. These objects included park benches, signposts, light poles and trees. The cases increased dramatically over the 3 year study. There were 5 cases reported in 2005, 3 in 2006, 8 in 2007, and 25 in 2008. 10 of the 44 patients were admitted (24.4%). Four patients were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and suffered traumatic brain injuries. The average hospital stay was 2 days, with a 2 to 7 day range. Hospital charges ranged from $25,733 to $69,139 for admitted patients. Other injuries reported were facial, clavicular, rib, tibial and ankle fractures.

Traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of death as well as permanent disabilities world wide. Research shows that 1.4 to 1.7 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries each year.

Researchers suggest that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) further investigate injury risks from Segway scooter use.