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THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL ENCOURAGES CHILD SAFETY

Poison Prevention and Playground Safety:  Key Strategies to Keep Children Safe

The State Fire Marshal (OSFM) urges families to exercise caution in order to prevent small children from reaching hazardous items kept at home that present a risk of poisoning or other serious incidents. OSFM seeks to educate the public on how to store both over the counter and prescription medicines, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, plants, and other toxic or potentially poisonous products.

In addition, as the Illinois residents prepares for warmer temperatures, many families will begin heading to public parks seeking outdoor activities for their children. However, many playgrounds may faced structural changes through the seasons, which could present potential risks for accidents.

“Parents and adults should be on the look-out for anything that could put children at risk, both at home and during playground hours,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “By practicing diligence in child supervision and by keeping their surroundings safe, the chances for tragedies decrease.”

Poison Prevention:
According to the National Capital Poison Center, more
than 2 million poisoning cases are reported each year
nationwide, and more than 90 percent of those
incidents occur in the home. Last year 45 per cent of
poisoning reported cases involved children younger
than six years old.
OSFM offers the following poison prevention tips:
Storage:
• Store medicines and products in their original
containers.
• Lock medicines and household products where
children cannot see or reach them.
• Use child-resistant packaging. Replace the caps
tightly.
• Store household products in a different place from
food and medicine.
• Keep purses and briefcases out of children’s reach.

Poisoning from medicines prevention:
• Read the label before taking or giving medicine.
• Use medicine only as directed by your doctor or the
label.
• Call medicine by its proper name, not "candy".
• Take medicine in a place where children cannot
watch, because children learn by imitating adults.
Poisoning from products and plants prevention:
• Use household products according to label
directions.  Mixing household products can cause
dangerous gases to form.
• Keep house plants out of children’s reach. Even if
the plants are not poisonous, they might cause
choking.

Playground Safety:
Statistics from the National Program for Playground
Safety show that each year over 200,000 children ages
14 and younger are injured on America's playgrounds.
Parents should provide proper supervision of children
on playgrounds, look for design age-appropriate
sites, look for proper surfacing under and around
playgrounds and well maintained parks.  These safety
measures apply to school playgrounds, public
community parks and day care centers. Approximately
79% of equipment-related injuries are caused by
falls.

The following are the most common reasons for
injuries:
• Falls can occur when a child slips, loses their
grip, or loses their balance while playing on monkey
bars, swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, and seesaws or
by being struck by faulty or moving equipment such as
swings.
• Often, a child will fall on their outstretched hand
trying to protect themselves, and sustain a fracture
involving the elbow.
Playground Accident Prevention Tips:
• Check your child’s clothing - Clothing items can
become trapped in equipment and may result in
strangulation. Remove drawstrings and other cords
from clothing. In the winter, use a neck warmer
rather than a scarf, and use mitten clips rather than
cords.
• Beware of bicycle helmets - Bicycle helmets should
not be worn by children on playground equipment due
to the potential for entrapment and strangulation.
• Choose the right playground - Choose playgrounds
that ‘fit’ your child. Children five years of age and
younger should use only playgrounds designed for
preschool children.
• Notify playground personnel - Many playgrounds have
broken swings or monkey bars, unsafe surfaces.
• Be proactive - Often teens using swings and other
equipment not suited for them while small children
play can cause falls, bumping, or hitting children
while using the same equipment.
• Supervise, supervise, supervise - Children younger
than five years of age and those with health problems
should always be supervised while playing on a
playground.
For more information on children safety at home or in
playgrounds please visit www.sfm.illinois.gov or
www.playgroundsafety.org/reseach/injuries.

 

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