Santa’s Safety Updates: Trouble in Toyland 33rd Annual Survey Results

Your favorite son, daughter, niece, nephew, neighbor’s cousin, or other kid in your life has made a list, written to Santa, and proclaimed their wants out loud to anyone who will listen. So now it’s time for shopping. What will you buy? What they want? What you think looks like fun? We can’t tell you outright what to buy, but those playing Santa should be aware of the results of the Trouble in Toyland 33rd Annual Survey of Toy Safety Results.

This report is chalk full of important toy safety information for anyone doing toy shopping. Published annually by the Public Interest Research Group, this report reviews the toys on the market and their safety as it pertains to children. With more than 251,000 toy related injuries reported at hospitals in 2017 alone, the report holds important information for anyone who shops for children. It looks for toy safety issues such as as toxic chemicals, choking hazards, smart toys, excessive noise producers, and overheating batteries and chargers.

This year some highlights of the report including warnings about:

  1. Slime toys: Many of these toys contain boron, a compound used in manufacturing and cleaning chemicals. In the EU 300 parts per million (ppm) is acceptable in consumer level items but there is no labeling or warning here in the US and some slime toys have as much as 4700 ppm. When ingested this can lead to nausea and vomiting along with other physical side effects.
  2. Internet connected toys: Some internet connected toys are leaving children vulnerable with offloading of information. The Dash for Kids Robot and the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition have both been found conveying information to third parties. 
  3. E-Scooters: New e-scooters can go up to 10-15 miles per hour and have smaller wheels than traditional scooters. They’ve lead to a considerable number of collisions and injuries as there is no set design criteria and very few ordinances and regulations regarding their usage.
  4. Hoverboards: We’ve discussed this one before due to their batteries but they’re still an issue. Since 2015 2.5 million hoverboards have been sold. Many are in use by children 12-15 years old, a large segment of those toy related hospital reported injuries. Beyond the battery issues, these kids are suffering from head injuries and fractures. 

Listen in as Kevin King discusses this report, toy safety issues pertaining to children, and a few toy safety issues pertaining to parents as well.

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 additional great resources for toy and children safety:

WISPIRG, Trouble in Toyland

The Mozilla Foundation, Privacy Not Included, https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/ privacynotincluded, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

The Mozilla Foundation, Privacy Not Included: Dash the Robot, https://foundation. mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/products/ dash-the-robot/, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

The Mozilla Foundation, Privacy Not Included: Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition, https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/products/amazon-fire-hd-kids-edition/, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

Center for Digital Democracy, Protecting Children’s Online Privacy: A Parent’s Guide to the new stronger kids’ privacy rules for digital media (COPPA), https://www.democraticmedia.org/content/protecting-childrens-online-privacy-parents-guide-new-stronger-kids-privacy-rules-digital, (accessed on 11 December 2018).


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.


Heads Up on Youth Sports Concussions

With eight million boys and girls playing high school sports in 2016 and 2017, it’s expected that some will get hurt. What’s unexpected is the number of concussions that are happening. Annually, there are 3.8 million concussions from competitive sports and as many as half of them will go unreported in youth sports. That’s a lot of concussions and a lot of recovery time for young athletes.

Football is commonly associated with concussions, but they come from many other sports as well. The leading organized sports at the cause of most concussions are football, wrestling, soccer, and girls’ basketball. Females in playing basketball and soccer have higher concussion rates than males because the female anatomy is different. Youth are also different in their concussions in the fact it can take them much longer to recover due to their developing brains. 

As a parent or a volunteer, inform yourself about the prevalence of concussions then learn how to recognize, prevent, and treat them as needed. Listen in as Kevin King discusses all about concussions, including what causes them as well as how to recognize, prevent, and treat them, all on People’s Law Talk. 

For more information and resources on youth concussions and prevention visit the CDC’s Heads Up website. Also review this articles:

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.


Backyard Pools: Keeping the Fun Safe

Backyard pools are a staple of summer pastimes but pool and water safety must be addressed. We’ve shared about pool safety before but we’ll risk sounding like a broken record to share again to help keep summer safe and fun.

  • In 2017 200 children ages 1-14 died in pools and spas.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-2.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of death for ages 5-24.
  • It only takes two minutes for child to lose consciousness.
  • There are approximately 800 spinal cord injuries from diving annually.

So how can these tragedies be prevented? First, pool owners should ensure their backyard pool is safe with appropriate water barriers and water sensors. Keep young children from reaching the pool unsupervised. Second, remove diving boards from backyard pools. You need a minimum of 18-20 feet for safe diving but most backyard pools have a maximum depth of 8.5 feet. Next, move any pool slide to the deepest end of the pool. Adults need at least seven feet of water for safe use of a slide in a sitting position. Everyone should use the slide feet first and one person at a time. 

Outside of the pool, ensure any installed decks are water resistant or have a way to manage water. Slippery decks can lead to slips, falls, and drownings. Also, pool owners should be trained in CPR. Being prepared by knowing CPR and keeping life saving equipment around the pool could save a life in the event of an emergency.   

These are starting points for proper backyard pool safety. Listen in as Kevin King discusses pool safety and our risk perceptions on People’s Law Talk to learn more about keeping your pool safe and fun.

For more information and resources on pool safety design visit the National Safety Council and the CPSC‘s websites.

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.