December 2009 Archives

December 31, 2009

Safe Products for North Carolina Children in 2010

Danny Keysar.jpgOn this New Year's Eve, Danny Keysar would have turned 13 years old. Danny was killed in 1998 in a dangerous and defective portable crib. Danny's death prompted his parents to found KID - an advocacy group dedicated to alerting parents about unsafe children's products.

There has been tremendous change in the last few years in the area of children's product safety. With some new laws, some honoring Danny by name, and a new active administration at CPSC, our children are already safer today, but more must be done. Some children are still sleeping in cribs that have been recalled, some kids are still riding in child safety seats that have been taken off the market because they are unsafe, and some children are still playing with toys that have been recalled because of poisonous lead paint levels.

Join with us to honor not only Danny, but the children in your life with a safer tomorrow.

Make a donation to KID in a child's name.

Check the children's products in your home for recalls and urge others -- grandparents, caregivers, neighbors and family -- to do the same. There were 7 Million cribs recalled in the last 2 years. Sign up for email alerts from CPSC and KID.

Have a safe and happy 2010!

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December 27, 2009

Asheville Christmas Riding Toys Present Known Injury Hazard

With the last of the snow from the blizzard of 2009 slowly melting away, children will soon be wanting to get outside with some of their Christmas bounty. If your household is like mine, at least one of your kids got something from someone that they can ride.

Riding toys were always my favorites, whether it was a tricycle, bicycle, big wheel, scooter or skateboard, riding toys were always, and still are, GREAT fun! But that fun can come at a price, and the price can sometimes be a trip to the Emergency Room, especially if your child is not wearing a helmet.

The latest data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that riding toys, including non-motorized toys, are associated with more Emergency Room visits among all ages of children (67,700 or 26%) than any other catagory of toy. Non-motorized scooters accounted for over 51,000 (83%) of riding toy related injuries. Almost 50% of the Emergeny Room treated injuries were to the head and face area.

Preventing injuries to youngsters is not always possible, but as parents we can help minimize the risk of serious injury by requiring our kids to at least wear a helmet when on their riding toys. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head and brain injuries by almost 90%. Teach your kids that safety comes first. Please make them wear a helmet.

December 20, 2009

TVs & Furniture in Asheville Create Tip-Over Hazard for Children

Each year, more than 10 children, most under 5, are killed when a piece of heavy furniture tips over onto them. Several thousand more young children are seriously injured each year in the same way. Most of these injuries and deaths happen when a child climbs onto, runs into or pulls up onto a TV stand, bookcase, dresser or other unstable furniture. Sadly, most of these incidents are totally preventable.

For less than $10, parents can purchase an anchor system that secures the furniture to the floor or wall. This holiday season, if you have small children, take a few minutes and inspect all of the furniture in your house for being a tip-over hazard. If you identify a potential tip-over hazard, please take the time to correct it so that someone in your family doesn't become a statistic.

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December 8, 2009

Raleigh Bus Driver Causes Wreck with Firefighter - Was She Texting?

Bus wreck f-u.jpgThe North Carolina Highway Patrol has found the Wake County school bus driver at fault for causing the collision that critically injured a Raleigh firefighter last Friday. The bus driver has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

A Highway Patrol spokesman said that the bus driver, 52 year old Sheila Wimbush Hall, crossed the center line and side-swiped an oncoming station wagon on Ligon Mill Road near the intersection of Louisburg Road. The bus brushed off of the station wagon and continued into the oncoming lane and struck a pickup truck driven by off-duty Raleigh fireman Harry "Flip" Kissinger. After the collision, the bus landed on top of the pickup truck, pinning the driver inside. The Highway Patrol says that charges are pending.

As I reported in a previous post, Kissinger suffered a serious head injury in the wreck. He is stil in the intensive care unit at Wake Medical Center. He has undergone several medical procedures related to his brain injury, and he is still not out of the woods. The waiting room at WakeMed is packed with Kissinger's fireman colleagues and family members.

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December 7, 2009

Tired Trucker in High Point Spills a Ton of Milk

A Pennsylvania tanker truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of his 18 wheeler early Sunday morning and spilled a few thousand gallons of milk onto the side of Interstate 85 Business in High Point.

The crash closed down I-85 in both directions for several hours while commercial wrecker crews worked to clear the totalled tanker and the spilled milk.

TMilk Tanker 1.jpghe truck driver told investigators that he was hauling 6500 gallons of milk at the time of the rollover. No other vehicles were involved in the wreck, and no injuries were reported. While it is tempting to make light of this crash and ask where was the Keebler truck, the cause of this wreck (fatigued driving) is no laughing matter and is epidemic in the trucking industry.

To avoid being a victim of a tired trucker, never drive alongside of a large truck. If you must pass a tractor-trailer on the interstate, you should first make sure that you have room to move all the way past the truck before beginning your passing maneuvor, and you should steadily accellerate your vehicle as you move past the truck so that you do not get hidden in the trucker's blind spot.

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December 4, 2009

Raleigh Firefighter Critically Injured in Bus Crash

Bus wreck.jpgEarly Friday morning, a Wake County school bus ran into and over a pick-up truck driven by a veteran Raleigh firefighter. Another vehicle was involved in the wreck, and all three drivers were injured. Thankfully, no children were injured. The collision happened in North Raleigh on Ligon Mill Road near the intersection of Louisburg Road. The damage to fireman Lt. Harry P. ("Flip") Kissinger IV's truck was so severe that bystanders were unable to get him out.

When the firefighter's colleagues arrived on the scene, they quickly used the jaws of life to pry off the driver's side door of the truck. EMS workers then began working on the critically injured fireman. About 45 minutes later, EMS workers got Kissinger onto a backboard and transported him to the trauma center at Wake Med. The City of Raleigh reported in a "press statement" that Kissinger had suffered a significant head injury in the crash.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol came to the scene but have not yet released the results of their investigation. In serious injury cases, where it is difficult to determine exactly how and why a collision occured, we recommend hiring an expert accident reconstructionist. Such experts are engineers and scientists who have special education, training and experience in the reconstruction of accidents. They start with the end result (the crash) and work backwards to determine such things as point of impact, pre-crash speeds, line of sight, and other factors that are critical to determining why a crash occurs and who is at fault.

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December 1, 2009

In North Carolina, Texting and Driving is Now Illegal

texting & driving.jpgMany of us have done it or have seen other drivers texting while driving. In North Carolina, as of December 1st, texting or reading emails while driving is now illegal and will get you a pricey ticket and points on your insurance.

The reason for the prohibition on texting and driving would seem obvious - if you are driving your eyes should be on the road in front of you, but there are many drivers on the road who think they can drive and text at the same time. State Troopers, in North Carolina and across the US, say the practice is unsafe and leads to many wrecks, serious injuries and sometimes even death.

Several national studies have found that texting and driving is very dangerous. A recent study at Virginia Tech found that drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash when texting on their phones. A Car and Driver Magazine study found that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while impaired.

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