Dr. Ducharme’s Blog June 26 2017 June is National Safety Awareness Month

We have some fascinating national observances in this country. June observes special days for many things including: Scoliosis Awareness, Migraine Awareness, LGBT Pride month, Iced Tea and Papaya month and even Turkey lover month. One of the most important observances in June is National Safety Awareness.

The National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month as a time to bring attention to key safety issues. As we move into summer, please join the Council and our Army Families across the globe and reduce risk of the following safety issues.

• Week 1 (2 – 6 June): Prevent prescription drug abuse
Prescription painkiller abuse is a rising epidemic and can greatly impact the workplace.

• Week 2 (9 – 13 June): Stop slips, trips and falls
Walking surfaces can be unpredictable. Whether it’s a change in elevation or brutal weather, always be proactive in preventing slips, trips and falls.

• Week 3 (16 – 20): Summer Safety – Be aware of your surroundings
Everyone enjoys a little bit of summer fun, but it’s always important to monitor the weather conditions in extreme heat – especially if you plan on being outside.

• Week 4 (23 – 27): Put an end to distracted driving
Cell phone use while driving has become an unfortunate part of our culture, but is a very dangerous activity that shouldn’t be considered a necessity – business or otherwise.

All of these are really important concerns. I want to add another. I have written blogs about this before. But it remains a real concern and I believe worth repeating every year.

Leaving kids and pets in hot cars. It turns out that all kinds of people do this. The human brain goes on a sort of autopilot when we are engaging in familiar and routine motor skills. We are all so busy multitasking it is easy to forget things…even a child (or pet) sleeping in the back seat. And by the time they realize what they have done and rush back to their car, it is often too late.Within minutes, even at 80 degrees F the temperature in a car can rise to over 100 degrees.

Someone once told me that multi tasking means you are doing a lot of things…but none of them well. In today’s world we are so often talking on the phone while driving, rushing from place to place that it is really easy to become distracted. This is especially true if you are tired and stressed out. So, please take care of yourself. Resist the urge to be constantly on the go and feel you are responsible for entertaining your kids every minute. They need time to be creative and play on their own.

The National Weather Service makes the following recommendations:

1. Never leave a Child or Animal unattended in a vehicle…not even for a minute.
2. If you see a child unattended in a vehicle call 911 immediately.
3. Be sure all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
4. Always lock your car and ensure kids do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, always check the pool first, then the car including the trunk. Teach your children that cars are never to be used as a play area.
5. Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
6. Or…place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.( I think this really one is really helpful)
7. Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
8. Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
9. And remember…BEAT the HEAT CHECK the BACKSEAT.

If you are concerned about any of the listed safety concerns, talk to a professional such as your medical doctor or mental health professional trained to deal with these issues. and check out these links:

https://drugfree.org/article/prevention-tips-for-every-age/

http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/community/tips_pedestrian.cfm

https://www.cdc.gov/family/kids/summer/index.htm

http://www.enddd.org/the-facts-about-distracted-driving/

Have a wonderful and very SAFE summer.

More from Dr. Elaine Ducharme
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