In Massachusetts there is legislation to close the antifreeze poisoning loophole. S.88 An Act Relative to Anti-freeze and Engine Coolant, which would require the addition of a bittering agent to wholesale containers of engine coolant or anti-freeze, which were exempted in the law that passed during the last legislative session. This would expand the current antifreeze law to prevent poisonings of children and animals. On June 12, 2012, S.88 passed the Senate unanimously and is awaiting a final vote in the House. Find out what the laws are in your area and speak to your representatives and let them know that you want to put an end to child and animal antifreeze poisoning deaths.
One solution to the antifreeze death problem is to require all antifreeze manufacturers to add in a non-toxic bittering agent that makes it taste awful. This will save countless lives of children and pets. Many states, and even some cities, are considering legislation requiring the addition of the bitterent denatonium benzoate to antifreeze. This would make the antifreeze virtually impossible for a child or animal to be poisoned by the usually sweet-tasting liquid. Find out if this is required where you live.
Antifreeze is the bright green or orange liquid in your car’s radiator to keep the automobile from freezing or overheating. Most brands of antifreeze contain ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is a sweet tasting liquid and it is deadly to both children and pets. Just two tablespoons of antifreeze is enough to kill a child. As little as two ounces can kill a dog and one teaspoon will kill a cat. In fact if a cat walks through a puddle of antifreeze and then licks its paws, it can ingest enough antifreeze to cause death.
This liquid has such a sweet smell and taste that it is irresistible to both children and animals who come in contact with it. Every year hundreds of children are poisoned by antifreeze while tens of thousands of dogs and cats die. Kids and pets find antifreeze:
• in the garage, when they come across an unmarked bottle of old antifreeze or a pan of antifreeze left on the floor.
• in a puddle of it left in a parking space or on the driveway.
One of the organs most affected by ethylene glycol is the kidneys and even a small amount of antifreeze can cause kidney damage. Once ethylene glycol is inside the body, it is changed into a crystalline acid which attacks the kidneys. If your child or pet act like they are drunk (lack of coordination), it is a symptom that they ingested antifreeze.
Over the next few posts we will discuss some solutions to this problem. Feel free to share your comments.
Problem: Kids can be injured using trampolines. Injuries usually occur when two or more kids jump on the trampoline at the same time. 60-70% of trampoline injuries happen when more than one child is on the trampoline. One study found that the younger and smaller of the two kids was 14 times more likely than the bigger kid to be injured. This is due to the greater force from the heavier kid, which tends to bounce the lighter child up and off the trampoline.
Solution: Due to thousands of head injuries and fractures caused by trampolines every year, the best solution is to not use them. However if a trampoline is to be used, only one person at a time should be on it. Also an adult should supervise anytime a child uses a trampoline.
Problem: One of the main reasons for elbow fractures in children is from falls from playground monkey bars.
Solution: Do not allow your child to use monkey bars if they have concrete or asphalt under them. Grass, soil and packed earth surfaces are not much better for cushioning falls and should be avoided too. Make sure the playgrounds your family does use has a soft thick surface to cushion a child’s fall under the monkey bars. Rubber mats and wood chips about 12 inches deep are the most ideal surfaces.
Problem: Children may be injured on playground slides by crashing into each other. This happens when a child comes down the slide too soon after the child in front of them.
Solution: Make sure that your child becomes aware of the child sliding in front of them. Tell them not to go down until the previous child is off the slide completely.
Playgrounds are often associated with accidental injuries. The next several posts will address some of the more common playground injuries and how to prevent them.
Problem: Kids can receive leg fractures on slides. When a parent goes down a slide with a child, sometimes a child’s foot can get stuck on the slide while the parent continues to slide down behind the child with a downward force that can break the small leg. According to a study, 14% of leg fractures among kids at a Long Island hospital in an 11-month period occurred from kids riding down slides with their parents.
Solution: Parents should never ride down slides with their kids at the same time.
If a student has recently received a concussion, it is important to practice “cognitive rest”. This is avoiding mentally taxing activities. It is also critical to take a break from sports and other activities that could lead to another concussion.
For many kids with a concussion, the only treatment needed is rest. A concussion disrupts the normally slow traffic of salts in and out of brain cells. During the injury, salts pour into cells, and it takes the body time to restore the balance back to normal.
Kids can get a concussion in all kinds of sports including soccer, lacrosse, football and cheerleading. They can also happen in recreational activities such as bicycle riding and sailing. A concussion can be a serious medical condition so all safety precautions should be taken when performing these activities.