Prosecutor Kym Worthy sharing reminders for summer safety

- Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is reminding families ways to keep kids safe and sound this summer.

From strange dogs to backyard pools, you never know what could present a hazard to your child's safety.

"I decided to put this information out because we have seen so many unnecessary and completely preventable child deaths in the last few years. Many have risen to the level of criminal behavior.

These tips, at first glance, may seem so simplistic.  Many of them come down to basic common sense, but this information bears repeating because it can save lives, maybe even that of your own child," said Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

1. Never, ever, leave a child unattended in a car

"Always Look Before You Lock." Check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away. A child is extremely sensitive to heat. In 10 minutes, a car's temperature can rise 20 degrees.  Even if the outside temperature is 60 degrees, the temperature inside the car can reach 110 degrees. A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

2. Take Action if you see a child alone in a car

Don't wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return. If the child is unresponsive or in distress, calls 911, get the child out of the car and spray with cool (not cold) water. If the child is responsive, stay with the child until help arrives. Ask some else to search for the driver.

3. Be safe with your guns

Store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case when not in use, ensuring they are in a location inaccessible by children and cannot be handled by anyone without your permission.

Educate everyone in your family about firearms safety.

The Project Child Safe S.A.F.E. Summer campaign  focuses attention on the importance of safe and responsible firearm handling and storage, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). You can learn more about it here

4. Safety for children around dogs

Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.

Never approach an injured animal - find an adult who can get help. Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies. Don't poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.

5. Safety precautions for dog owners

Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both your child and your dog.

Teach your children to treat the dog with respect and not to engage in rough or aggressive play. Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.

Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened. Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and to provide mental stimulation.

Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog. Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain your dog's health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.

Be alert, if someone approaches you and your dog - caution them to wait before petting the dog, give your pet time to be comfortable with a stranger.

6. Finding the right babysitter

Choose a trusted friend or family member if possible. Get recommendations from friends.

Trade childcare with friends who have kids. Do not hire a sitter under age 12. Meet the sitter in advance, and check references. Make sure he or she knows CPR and first aid.

Watch your child's reaction when you tell them a sitter they know is coming, and listen to what your child says about the sitter afterward.

Have them spend time with you and your kids, and see how they interact with the kids. A good strategy is to hire them first as a "mother's or father's helper," and have them watch the kids while you are home getting something done.

7. What do I need to tell the babysitter before I leave?

Your sitter will need lots of information from you before you leave. Allow enough time to go over the information with them, show them the house, and answer any questions. Be sure to show your sitter, in particular:

  • Location of exits
  • Location of first aid supplies
  • Location of fire extinguisher, flashlights

Other things that may be helpful to discuss could include:

  • Children's bedtimes and bedtime routine
  • Any food or drink to be given to the children
  • Medications-name, time last given, time next dose due, amount to give (dose)
  • Never to shake a baby or young child (link is external)
  • How to calm the baby if crying or colicky
  • How to handle misbehavior

8. Water Safety

Ensure that every family member learns how to swim. Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Always watch children without being distracted when they are in or near water.

Always swim with a buddy. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach. Never leave young children and inexperienced swimmers unattended near water. Teach children to ask permission to go near water.

Install and use barriers around home pools or hot tubs. The barriers should be self latching away from the pool. The latch should be out of reach of small children.

Even if you do not plan on swimming be cautious and aware of hazards around natural bodies of water.

Avoid alcohol use around water. It can impair judgment, balance and coordination.

9.  Fire safety for young children

Fire safety lessons should start early in life. Play Safe! Be Safe! focuses on keeping preschoolers safe in a fire and preventing fire play. You can learn more about it here.  

Young children may be afraid the first time they see a firefighter in full gear. Explain to children what firefighters wear and why, and how they can help if there is a fire.

Contact your local fire station to arrange a tour. The children can learn about equipment and become familiar with what firefighters look like and what they do. Or invite firefighters to your school so they can put on their gear in front of the children, explain their jobs, and answer children's questions.

Tell children that some fires make lots of smoke, which is dangerous to breathe. Show them the safe way to respond when a room fills with smoke: get down on your hands and knees, keep your head up, and crawl outside.

Ask children to practice with you. Lead them in crawling across the room with their heads up. Repeat frequently to help children remember this important safety strategy. Stop, drop, and roll. When children's clothes catch fire, their first reaction may be to run. This can make the fire spread faster. Show children the safest way to respond: Stop, cover your face, get down on the ground, and roll from side to side until you smother the fire.

Ask children to practice with you a few times and then split them into pairs. Children can take turns demonstrating to their partners. Repeat frequently to help children learn to stop, drop, and roll automatically.

Tell a grown-up. Emphasize to children that matches and lighters are tools that only adults use.

Tell children that they should not play with or even touch these materials. Explain that if they find a match or lighter, they should tell a grown-up immediately. Role-play with children in small groups about what to do when they find these types of materials.

10. Sleeping safety for infants

Follow these tips for safe sleep during every nap and night-time routine:

Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack and play, with nothing else in their sleep environment (plan ahead and take a portable crib when you travel). Use a firm mattress with a tightly-fitted sheet. Keep baby's sleep space clutter free - no pillows, blankets or toys.

Avoid covering baby's head or overheating.  Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm. Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family.

Click here for more sleep safety information.  

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