People’s Law Talk

Childcare Safety: The Unanswered Questions

Eleven million children in the US regularly attend some form of non-relative childcare. While much is studied about early childhood education and social development in these settings, there are very little answers about the safety of daycares.

There is no national standard reporting system for injuries and fatalities across childcare facilities. In addition, there are very few national standards. Most daycare regulation is controlled at a state level and, even there, the lack of information continues. With no uniform standards or reporting system its difficult to find safety information.

One of the few reports available aggregated many reports and found from 1985-2003 there were more than 1300 fatalities of children in childcare, with 130 in home-based care. Injury rates were higher. So how do we address the safety issues when we don’t know what they are? How do we develop better systems to protect our children?

Listen in as Kevin King discusses the issue of child daycare safety, various types of childcare and how they’re regulated, how to evaluate the safety of childcare play areas, as well as more progressive models of childcare we can look to for inspiration.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

*In Indiana parents can find and review reports of childcare facility state inspections from the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) online.

President’s Day: Celebrating Presidential Pups

Today is President’s Day, a holiday to celebrate our presidents’ contributions to our society. As we look back on past presidents, we thought it would fun, and insightful, to look back at presidential pups as well. 

Many presidents throughout our history have owned dogs, many of whom have made an impact on who was elected and how they served in the white house. For example, it was one of George Washington’s dogs that eventually helped lead to him being selected commander and chief of the continental army. And Herbert Hoover’s dog, King Tut, helped him break the ice on the campaign trail, helping him ultimately win his election. Both Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon focused on their dogs during  presidential and vice presidential (respectively) speeches where they ultimately saw victory as well.

While fulfilling his presidential duty, James Garfield named his Newfoundland Veto to send a message to congress. President George H. W. Bush also utilized his dog to send a message, but less politically focused. His dog, Millie, had a book written about her life and Barbara Bush dictated it. More than $900,000 in royalties from the book were donated to support literacy. 

Learn more about the history of presidential pups and how they shaped our past presidents, their campaigns, and their work in the white house. Listen in as Kevin King discusses a number of presidential dogs from the Washington administration through the Obama administration. 

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Seventeen Minutes for Knowledge: Furniture Tip Over

By the time you’re done reading this post and listening to the audio, another child will sustain an injury from furniture, television, or appliance tip over. It happens every 17 minutes. This results in 25,500 injuries per year, with a death almost every two weeks.

This happens frequently because there are no mandatory furniture design standards manufacturers must meet. When a small child climbs a 30-inch-tall dresser with a drawer out, the center of gravity and stability can change. Some manufacturers do follow a voluntary standard that states dressers that are 30 inches or more must be able to maintain stability with 50 pounds hanging off an open drawer, but consumers have no easy way of knowing which furniture was held to this standard. This lack of standards isn’t for lack of trying. In 2016 The STURDY Act (The Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act) was introduce to Congress but was never passed.

As the work continues to mandate standards for designing safety into products like furniture, the onus of safety is put on the consumer. Parents are, unrealistically, expected to watch their children around furniture 100 percent of the time. Consumers are also expected to alter their furniture at home by anchoring it.

While it’s not acceptable to put the burden to reduce safety risks and hazards on consumers, anchoring furniture and buying furniture that could withstand the not yet passed STURDY standards are good steps to take while we wait for safety design standards to catch up. You can find great tips on furniture tip over prevention and proper anchoring techniques from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumer Reports has also released a report on which furniture already available meets the STURDY standards.

Review those resources while you listen to Kevin King expand on furniture tip over, the staggering injury statistics behind the hazard, and where safety standards need to go.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Cooking Safety 101

Planning that perfect Thanksgiving meal and coordinating the large amount of dishes to complete can be a hassle. But, no matter how much work is going on, it’s important to stay vigilant and always be aware of what’s going on in the kitchen. There are a number of safety hazards to be aware of from cooking fires to food contamination.

Cooking fires

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Thanksgiving day has the most house fires of the year by far, about four times higher than the daily average. Historically, there have been an average of 1800 house fires each Thanksgiving, compared to 500 on an average day, 860 the day before Thanksgiving, and  840 on Christmas. It’s important to understand how quickly a fire can spread, the leading causes of cooking fires, and how to quickly extinguish a fire in the event of an emergency. Check out this infographic to be in the know.

Turkey fryer fires

In addition to all of this information, let’s review the safety (or lack of safety) of turkey fryers. Underwriter Laboratories (UL – trusted source that tests and certifies safe products) has still not found a single turkey fryer that they are willing to approve. There are zero regulations to how they’re built, many have a lack of stability, and the general design for turkey frying leads to frequent fires. Watch this video from the National Fire Prevention Association to see for yourself the safety hazards posed by turkey fryers.

Food contamination

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A third safety hazard to be aware of this Thanksgiving is food contamination. Since November 2017 the CDC has reported 165 persons affected by salmonella in 25 states. With 63 people being hospitalized and a reason recall of ground turkey due to contamination, it’s important to know how to keep your food safe. Follow these tips for your turkey preparation.

Learn more about creating a safe and happy Thanksgiving, listen in to People’s Law Talk as Kevin King discusses all of these safety points in depth.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

There are many other great resources for understanding kitchen safety this Thanksgiving:

National Fire Prevention Association

CDC

Ridge Fire Company. (2003). “Product safety tips – Gas fired turkey fryers.” Available from: http://ridgefirecompany.com/downloads/UL_publiceducators_turkeyfryers-eng_200307.pdf

National Fire Prevention Week

smoke detectorIs your home and family ready if a fire were to break out? Are you aware of how to prevent some common household fires? If not, it’s not too late. This week is National Fire Prevention Week and it’s a great time to get informed.

National Fire Prevention Week was started with a proclamation by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925. He expanded on National Fire Prevention Day, started in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson, after he declared 1924 the greatest year of fire loss in history. 1924 saw a loss of more than 15,000 lives and $550 million in property loss all as a result of fires.

Why is National Fire Prevention Week now? Many attribute it back to the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1871. That fire burned 3.3 square miles, took more than 200 lives, and left 100,00 homeless. However, there were even greater losses on that exact same day from large fires. In Peshtigo, WI the deadliest wildfire in history killed an estimated 1500, ruined 10 communities, and burned 1875 sq. miles (50 percent larger than Rhode Island). This large fire spawned fire tornadoes and burned at more than 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Also on that day, another fire burned with significant damage in Holland, MI.

But fires are not just history. In 2017 there were 1.3 million fires $23 billion in property damages and a loss of 3400 lives. Did you know that 60 percent of deaths from home fires come as a result of no smoke alarms in the home?

So how can you stay safe? This week is a great time to get informed and make a plan with your family.

  • Check your electrical cords for frayed wires
  • Do not overload outlets
  • Keep cloth off lamps and other heat producing appliances
  • Make an escape plan with at least two routes out of each room
  • Keep a UL approved collapsible ladder upstairs for multi-story homes
  • Keep a fire extinguisher accessible and keep it maintained annually
  • Keep smoke alarms on every floor and check the batteries at least twice a year

Learn more by listening to Kevin King as he talks about National Fire Prevention Week and important fire safety information on People’s Law Talk.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

There are many other great resources for National Fire Prevention Week Including:

National Fire Prevention Association

National Safety Council

Symbolic Free Speech: Beyond the First Amendment

As Americans we learn from a young age about the Bill of Rights and the first ten amendments to the Constitution. First and foremost is the freedom of speech. Ratified December 15, 1791 it states,

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

Freedom of speech and the First Amendment is ingrained into the fabric of our society, so much so you’ve probably heard it used as an argument for the controversial kneeling during the anthem at NFL games. While not a literal act of speech, the kneeling is protected as an act of symbolic speech. Symbolic free speech has woven its way in and out of court cases over the last half a century. From Tinker v Des Moines to Spence v Washington, acts that communicate elements from the first amendment and attempt a message with a likelihood to be understood have been protected.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses symbolic free speech, where it came from, and its relation to the current kneeling controversies in football on People’s Law Talk.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.