December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

safe toysSafe toys and gift awareness should be on everyone’s minds this Christmas season.  Are you aware of the possibility of serious risks linked to unsafe toys? Keeping the child’s abilities, age and interests in mind is important in toy shopping.

Gift awareness and toy safety tips include:

  1. Read package warning labels for the appropriate range of age and safety concerns. Be sure to choose toys and gifts that are designed for the age of the receiver.
  2. When it comes to children under that age of three, take extra caution and care when choosing gifts and toys. Select toys that are free of removable and/or small pieces. Also, look for toys that are non-toxic, lightweight, and have no sharp edges.
  3. Always carefully read all of the assembly and use instructions. Keep all the literature provided in case questions arise. Keeping complete warranty cards is also important.
  4. Discard all packaging from gifts and toys before giving it to a child.
  5. Considering the environment is important when it comes to where the toy will be used. If younger children may be there, toys designed for older children pose dangerous threats to younger children. A good solution is to wait to open toys with small pieces until the younger children have left or are taking a nap.
  6. Reminding family and caregivers of play-related safety concerns is recommended.
  7. Checking all toys on a regular basis is recommended and always make repairs immediately to ensure their safety.

Supervising all children, regardless of age, while playing is important due to the thousands of toy related incidents that occur during the holiday season.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

Safety Tips for Putting Up Christmas Lights

christmas lightsA house with Christmas lights is a wonderful sight, but remember you won’t be able to see your house if you’re in the hospital because of a ladder or electrical injury. ER docs know it well: installing Christmas lights can be a hazard to your health. Our docs see many ladder fall injuries, particularly with older victims who are a bit more unstable in terms of balance. Sometimes falls of this nature can be very hazardous, resulting in serious head injuries or even death. These injuries are very preventable. Here are a few tips for safety when installing your holiday sparkle.

If you can afford it, hire a professional installer.

These companies have all the equipment and expertise to do the job safely.

Know your limitations.

If you’re taking certain medications like blood thinners, stay off the ladder because the bleeding risk is just too high. You might also want to stay off the ladder if you have balance issues or vertigo of any kind.

Watch the weather.

Delay your installation if it’s icy or rainy outside. That can greatly increase the hazard of slips, trips or falls.

Ladder safety.

You must have a firm footing at all times. Choose a ladder tall enough, that is about 3 feet higher than the roof line. Always secure the ladder on solid, firm and level ground. Can the ladder support your weight? The ladder should always be clear of power lines and doors that could open and knock you down. Always, always, always have another person with you to help hold the ladder.

Safe attics.

You may be surprised to learn that ER docs see many injuries where people have fallen through their attics just trying to get stored decorations down to decorate. It’s not always easy to only step on attic studs when you’re carrying a heavy box, and many people step right through. Be sure that you have plywood supports down between your studs to prevent injuries of this nature.

Electrical hazards.

Throw away or repair any lights with frayed wires or broken sockets and when installing outside, make sure you are doing so wearing rubber soles and not installing on wet ground or sidewalks.

These injuries are more common than you might think. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says doctors treat 200 decoration-related injuries per day during the holiday season in November and December.

We know it’s exciting, but try not to go too Griswold this season. Be safe!

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. There is no waiting like in the hospital emergency room waiting area when you are sick.

Falls: When To Go To The Emergency Room

FallsFirst, know that many falls are minor and therefore do not result in injury. However, 20 percent of falls are serious, resulting in a head injury or a broken bone.

Falls can result in various types of fractures, including broken wrists and arms, hips and ankles. Falls are very serious when they result in a head injury like a concussion or other serious brain injury. Any bleeding injury resulting from a fall should immediately be seen by emergency room physicians. Bleeding injuries can be much worse if the person is on blood thinner medication.

Although anyone can suffer a serious fall, the issue is most prevalent in the elderly population. Millions of elderly falls are treated in ERs each year. Over 25 percent of people over age 65 have suffered a fall. The problem is that falling once will double your chances of falling again. The other problem is that most people never disclose to their doctor that they’ve fallen.

Each year, nearly 3 million people are treated in ERs around the country for fall injuries. Of those about 25 percent of the patients are hospitalized because the fall is serious enough, usually a broken hip or a head injury. In fact, nearly 100 percent of elderly hip fractures are caused by falling. If the person is experiencing any pain in any bone or joint, it is best to err on the side of caution and make a visit to the ER.

Regarding head injuries, falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) seen and treated in emergency rooms. If the person fell and hit their head, always go to the emergency room. Falling can cause internal brain bleeding that is very serious and needs immediate treatment. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Sometimes, there are obvious injuries from a fall—a visibly broken bone, an open wound or an apparent head injury. But many falls often cause internal injuries that are difficult to see. Among these are wrist fractures, hip fractures, spine fractures, broken ribs or even a pelvic fracture.

If there is any doubt, make an emergency room visit so that a qualified health care professional can perform a thorough assessment and examination to make sure you are safe and sound.

There are several risk factors that make people more prone to falls.

  • Lower body weakness
  • Brittle bones
  • Balancing or walking difficulties
  • Medications that have a sedative effect and make the person unsteady
  • Poor vision
  • Poor footwear
  • Foot pain which makes the person unsteady
  • Dehydration
  • Home safety hazards like electrical wires, rugs and broken stairs or steps that are trip and fall hazards

In ERs, doctors determine that most falls are caused by a combination of the risk factors above.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. There is no waiting like in the hospital emergency room when you are sick.