Complete Coverage: Protection From UV Rays

Child wearing sun protecting hat and sunscreenMay through September usually means warm or even hot weather here in Indiana. It also means sun, UV rays, and increased risk of skin damage, including melanoma.

The hazard comes for harmful UV rays. UV rays can damage skin cells. Beyond causing wrinkles, it can alter skin cell DNA resulting in cancer. The risk of exposure is not lessened because it is cloudy outside. UV rays can still reach the ground, even with cloud coverage. And the risk isn’t nu ll in the shade. UV exposure can be direct, like working shirtless or standing directly in the sun hatless, but it can also be indirect. UV rays can be reflected off many surfaces including paved roads, water, grass, sand, and more.

When UV rays alter skin cell DNA, it can result in Melanoma. There are more than 9,500 diagnoses of Melanoma daily with one person dying of Melanoma every hour. This cancer is extremely prevalent. Females under age 49 are more likely to develop Melanoma than any other cancer besides breast and thyroid cancers. Males under 49 are more likely to develop Melanoma than any other cancer.

The risk of developing skin cancer is high because UV damage is cumulative. Twenty-three percent of UV exposure occurs by the age of 18, so that still leaves a lot of UV exposure as you go into those working adult years. Risk does increase by 70 percent for those who experience five or more blistering sunburns between the ages of 15-20. Once you burn, the damage to the skin cell DNA has already been done. Those with skin type one (pale, white, freckled, always burns never tans) also have an increased risk of developing skin cancer. But anyone, age or skin type aside, can develop it.

UV Index

To help reduce your risk of being exposed to hazardous UV rays, there are steps you can take. First, check the UV Index daily. This index, developed in 1992 and adopted by the WHO in 1994, rates the risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. The scale ranges from 1 to 11, with 11 being the most risk. Again, cloud coverage does not mean it will be low. A recent cloudy Thursday afternoon had a UV Index of 7. Check it daily to ensure you’re informed and can help minimize your risk.

Also, to help protect yourself you must protect your skin. This can be done in several ways. First, choose clothing that covers your skin. Long sleeves, long pants, and wide brim hats are great. Clothing that has built in SPF protection is even better. Second, if you’re spending the day outdoors, in the sun or shade, lather up with sunscreen. A sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is recommended. It’s important to regularly reapply every two hours and to apply everywhere, including your ears! Also, avoid tanning beds. Using a tanning bed is directly exposing your skin to UV rays. Last, be preemptive in your health and get regular skin screenings.

John Foster, host of 1010 AM Columbus stumbled into a skin cancer screening clinic one day after moving to Columbus, IN. That was how he caught multiple Melanoma spots. He has since had five spots removed, including two on his legs (the result of UV rays bouncing off a road he worked on during his time in the U.S. Air Force). He now attends regular screenings to catch and address any new Melanoma spots quickly.

Listen in as Kevin King talks more about melanoma, the hazards of UV rays, and how to protect yourself.

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.

Learn more about sun safety and skin health from these expert sources:

You can also easily check your local UV Index with the EPA or by searching “UV Index” with your zip code.


Fixing Distracted Driving with System Safety Designs

In 1983 only 13 percent of the public regularly used seat belts. Advertising and education campaigns were undertaken and 26 years later, that number increased to approximately 85 percent. That’s more than 25 years to make a usage change of 72 percent. In the meantime, people were injured and died.

If we continue the same path and rely upon changing human behavior through campaigns for distracted driving, we can expect the same results, a long wait for a significant change. In the meantime, more than nine people a day will continue to die due to distracted driving, a number that increased from eight just two years ago. Or, society can demand, politicians can legislate, and automakers can undertake using system safety design.

Technology has existed since the early 2000s that will block cell phone signals from the driver’s seat area of vehicles. If installed in vehicles, it could greatly reduce the risks from distracted technology usage in vehicles.

Some might argue that hands free technology is enough if drivers utilize it, but it’s not. It still leads to inattention blindness, drivers missing important items such as stop signs and pedestrians. The human brain cannot process all the information coming into it when attempting to multitask. It has four attention capabilities:

  1. Sustained attention: ability to concentrate on an activity for a prolonged period without being distracted (e.g., reading a book)
  2. Selective attention: ability to select from various factors or stimuli and focus on only one (e.g., talking to one person at a noisy party)
  3. Alternating attention: ability to shift between tasks and cognitive areas of the brain (e.g., reading a recipe and then following the instructions)
  4. Divided attention: attempting to process two or more demands at the same time require the use of the same cognitive areas of the brain (e.g., on the phone and driving)

Divided attention is what happens when humans attempt to multi task. It creates inattention blindness leading to injury and death for many. Yet, according to AAA:

  • 2 in 3 drivers talk on their cell phones while driving
  • 1 in 3 drivers admit to typing and sending a text while driving
  • 2 in 5 drivers admit to reading a text or email while driving

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed by the National Safety Council felt at risk because of other drivers’ distractions due to technology. But, back to human behavior, only 25 percent of those same people said their own technology use put others at risk.

Just because we’ve done something one way before doesn’t mean we always have to do it that way. This time it’s time to change our reliance on changing human behavior. Instead, let’s rely on system safety design.

Listen in as Kevin King talks more about distracted driving and system safety design.

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.

Learn more about distracted technology from us and other great sources.

From the Law Dogs:

Trusted Resources:


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.


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).