Are You Using Your Child’s Car Seat Incorrectly?
When used effectively, a car seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury to a child by up to 71 percent. Unfortunately, a federal study has found that the majority of car seats are being used improperly, hampering their ability to protect children in the event of a crash.
A 2016 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that up to 59 percent of car seats were installed or used improperly. While some of the errors cited in the study were minor, around 35 percent of the mistakes were determined to be gross misuse, meaning the child would not get any protection for their car seat system.
Experts recommend the following tips for getting the most protection from your child’s car seat.
1. Keep Kids Rear-Facing As Long As Possible
The majority of states only require that a child sit in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 1; however, with the arrival of new research, that recommendation is quickly changing. Nine states have already passed legislation requiring children be placed in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2, and New York will become the tenth state with such requirements next year.
Even if your state has not made the change, it is recommended that you keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. Instead of focusing on age, focus on weight and height. NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say you should keep your child rear-facing until they have reached the height or weight limits of their car seat.
2. Don’t Overlook Expiration Dates
It may come as a surprise, but car seats do have expiration dates. Plastic and harness materials deteriorate over time. Exposure to UV rays, heat, cold, and regular wear and tear takes a toll on a car seat, and the parts of the car seat can begin to break down. Such deterioration can reduce the car seat’s ability to withstand an impact.
The good news is a new car seat’s expiration date is well beyond what a single child may need. However, when it comes to second and third children, this becomes much more of an issue.
Generally, a convertible car seat will have a 10-year life span and infant car seats will have a six-year life span. Also keep in mind that as technology advances, older car seats may loose compatibility with newer vehicles or fail to meet new safety standards.
3. Do Not Re-Use a Car Seat After a Crash
Any car seat that has been involved in a moderate or serious accident should be discarded. The impact of a moderate or serious collision can damage the car seat and weaken its future appearance.
NHTSA says that a car seat may be kept and used if it was involved in a minor collision in which:
- You were able to drive your car away from the crash site.
- The airbags did not deploy.
- The door nearest to the car seat was not damaged.
- There were no injuries to passengers.
- There is no visible damage to the car seat.
4. Use the Top Tether
With few exceptions, all forward-facing car seats have a top tether strap that connects the top of the car seat to an additional tether point. The tether is meant to reduce how far forward the child and seat can move during a collision, but many parents forget to use this vital component when installing their car seat.
The top tether can reduce the amount a child pitches forward by up to six inches, thereby reducing the risk of a child’s head coming in contact with the back of a front seat during a crash.
5. Fill Out the Car Seat’s Registration Card
Car seat recalls are not uncommon. In fact, in 2014 a total of six million child car seats were recalled in the U.S. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that fewer than half of the car seats were returned or fixed.
By completing the registration car that comes with your car seat, you are ensuring that the manufacturer will notify you of a recall similar to the way automakers inform drivers of vehicle recalls. You can also check for recalls by visiting the NHTSA website.
6. Read Your Car Seat’s Manual
When it comes to car seats, “trial and error” and “winging it” are not viable options. Read your car seat’s manual for instructions on installation, use, and maintenance. Not only will the manual detail different installation options, it will tell you who to properly disassemble and clean your car seat and when you should move your child to forward-facing or booster seat options.
Contact an Experienced Car Seat Failure Attorney
Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are experienced in defective child car seats and recalls. Your choice does matter. If your child has suffered because of a defective car seat, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys immediately. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
Spring Water Safety Tips for Children and Parents
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death to children between the ages of one and four and is the second leading cause of injury-related death in children under the age of 14. Additionally, thousands of children are hospitalized each year for nonfatal drowning incidents.
Water safety should be a priority for every family. Please take a moment to review these simple and effective strategies for keeping your children safe around water before heading to the beach, lake, or swimming pool this spring.
Designate a “Water Watcher”
Most children who drown are unsupervised. Anytime children are in or around water, designate a “water watcher.” This should be a reliable adult who will avoid distractions like cell phones, conversations, reading materials or anything else that may divert their attention away from the swimming children.
According to the American Red Cross, the best way to prevent child drowning is to enroll children in swimming lessons. In additional to various swimming techniques, your child will also learn how to identify and avoid potential drowning hazards.
Do NOT Rely on Floaties and Inner Tubes
Floaties, noodles, inner tubes, and inflatables are toys, not life-saving devices. Never believe that just because your child has a flotation device that they are protected against drowning.
Establish Safe Swimming Rules
Teach your children to always ask permission before going near water and to only swim in supervised areas. You should also advise children to incorporate the buddy system. Finally, make sure your children understand the dangers of drains and suction outlets. Hair, jewelry, and bathing suits can get caught in drains and outlets, creating a serious drowning hazard.
Be Prepared to Respond to an Emergency
If you are at a public pool, be sure you know where emergency equipment is prior to going near the water with your child. Know how to contact 9-1-1 or emergency responders in the event of an injury or emergency.
You should also know CPR. Learning CPR should be a top priority for all parents. Taking occasional refresher courses is also recommended.
Contact an Experienced Child Drowning Attorney
If your child was injured in a swimming pool accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Our firm has represented injured children across the state of Texas for over two decades. Call us today to receive a free legal consultation and to talk to our legal professionals.
10 Spring Time Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
As we get closer to spring and the weather starts to get warmer, motorcyclists are undoubtedly eager to get back out on the road. However, it is important that riders do all they can to protect themselves and their passengers while on the road.
Despite safety advances and new technology, motorcycle accident-related deaths have actually been on an upward trend since the late 1990s. In fact, 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in collisions in 2016, more than double the number of deaths that occurred in 1997.
While some motorcycle accidents are unavoidable, taking a proactive approach to motorcycle safety can help reduce your risk of crash and injury.
Do Not Ride Without a License
You are required to have a motorcycle license to ride a motorcycle. Taking the courses necessary can increase your skill as a motorcyclist and better prepare you for potential hazards and emergency maneuvers. Other courses may even help lower your insurance costs.
Always Wear a Helmet
When riding a motorcycle, you should always wear a helmet. Helmets significantly reduce your risk of suffering a serious head injury and death.
When purchasing a helmet, make sure it meets U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standards. Approved helmets will be marked with a DOT symbol which can usually be found on the back of the helmet. Helmets may also be certified by the American National Standards Institute and the Snell Memorial Foundation.
Replace your helmet every five years, after an accident, or when it shows visible signs of damage – whichever occurs first.
Conduct Safety Checks Before Each Trip
Before you ride, check your bike and make sure it is ready for the road. This includes checking tires for proper inflation and good condition, checking that all brake/signal lights are functioning, and checking for signs of fluid or oil leaks.
If you intend to carry a passenger, adjust your bike’s suspension to compensate for the heavier than normal load.
Remain Seated with Proper Grip
Unless you are signaling, you should be seated at the center of your seat with both hands on the handlebars.
Be Alert and Obey Traffic Laws
The truth is that as a motorcyclist you are at an increased risk of a serious accident than occupants other passenger vehicles. In general, you want to err on the side of caution assume that other drivers can’t see you. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you and be on the lookout for vehicles making lane changes. Motorist do not always check for motorcyclists (although they should), so taking a defensive approach to driving is a must.
Remember to adhere to all traffic signs and laws just as you would in your vehicle. Also, remember that splitting lanes is illegal in most states and even when legal can confuse or aggravate other drivers.
Watch Out for Damaged Roads and Hazards
Damaged roads and obstacles can be especially risky to motorcyclists. A motorcycle has less contact with the road than a car, making it more likely to skid out of control. There is also a possibility that you could be thrown over the handlebars. If you are unable to avoid an obstacle, try to slow down before riding over it. You should also rise slightly from your seat and brace yourself by gripping the handlebars.
Never Ride Under the Influence
You should never ride a motorcycle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Even legal drugs can leave you with reduced alertness, balance, and reaction time. Drowsiness can have a similar affect, so take brakes when necessary.
Prepare for Inclement Weather
Weather can be a little sporadic in the spring, and inclement weather like rain and high winds can make riding more dangerous. Check your local forecast and prepare accordingly.
The weather may be getting warmer, but that does not mean you should forego proper clothing. Loose, flapping clothing and exposed skin are generally a bad idea when on a motorcycle. You should make sure your body, arms, and legs are well covered and your shoes or boots should cover your ankles.
Never Ride an Unfamiliar Bike into Traffic
Before you take a new or unfamiliar motorcycle in into traffic, take some time to become familiar with its handling and responsiveness in a controlled area.
Hurt in an Accident? Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced motorcycle injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to hear your claim. We can visit you wherever you reside, whether it be at your home, workplace, or at the hospital. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free case review.
Road Safety Tips for Cyclists
With warm weather returning, many cyclists are eager to get back on the roads. Whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned veteran, take a moment to review the following safety tips to ensure each of your trips are safe and enjoyable.
Position on the Road
Cyclists should stay on the right-side of the road and never against traffic. Use a bike lane whenever possible. If there is not bike lane, ride about three feet from the edge of the road – this can help increase your visibility. If a car is parked on the right side of the road or in the bike lane, pass on their left but only after checking for approaching traffic.
Lights and Reflective Materials
Riding with a front and rear light is essential for evening or early morning rides. Using a flashing red light on the back of your bike and a solid white light on the front will alert other vehicles to your presence. Bright colors and reflective materials can also enhance your visibility on the road.
Be Cautious at Intersections
The majority of accidents involving cyclists occur at intersections. When approaching an intersection, move to the appropriate lane for the direction you want to go. Make eye contact with motorists to ensure they have seen you. Also, remember to heed all traffic signals.
Ride Single File
When riding with others, ride in a single file with space between bikes.
Always be alert when riding your bike. This means no headphone and no distractions. Additionally, keep you head up when riding. You need to see what is coming so you can identify potential hazards and react in a timely manner.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced automobile and bicycle injury lawyers have handled a multitude of accident cases and have achieved record-breaking, real results for injured clients. We ensure that you are in the best position possible to achieve the maximum amount of compensation for your case. You can recover compensation for medical expenses, your pain and suffering, and lost wages form missing work.
Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Follow
While some industries are inherently more dangerous than others, workplace injuries and deaths can occur at any job. This is why it is essential that all workers follow general safety guidelines while on the job. The following list of workplace safety tips can benefit employees of any industry.
General Safety Tips for All Workers
- Always follow correct procedures when completing a task. Taking shortcuts or ignore safety protocols can drastically increase your risk of injury.
- Clean up messes, even if you didn’t make the mess to begin with. Whether this means picking up a tipped over tool box at a construction site or cleaning a spill in the office break room, be proactive in maintain a safe workspace.
- Keep your work station clean and organized. A cluttered workspace can be dangerous.
- Be alert and awake. This is especially true if you are working with machinery or operating a vehicle as part of your job.
- Be attentive to your surroundings. When we are not paying attention, avoidable accidents can occur.
- Read and obey safety signs, stickers, and tags. Whether it be on a tool, a piece of machinery, or the office coffee pot, warnings are there for a reason.
- Take short breaks. Throughout the day, take moments to sit, stand, stretch, or walk to reduce the risk of muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries.
- Report any and all injuries immediately. If are injured on the job, report your injury to a supervisor immediately. If the injury is serious, seek emergency assistance.
Working as a Team
- Educate others. Others can benefit from your experience. If you see someone behaving in a manner that is unsafe, address the action and advice them on the proper way to complete the task.
- If you see something, say something. If you observe a hazard, make sure your team members are aware of it and report the hazard to a supervisor.
- Be conscious of those around you. When working as part of a team, be sure you are aware of the work that is happening around you. Do your best to ensure you don’t pose a hazard to your coworkers and that they do not pose a hazard to you.
- Communication is key in a work environment. Make sure others are aware of where you are and the actions you are taking if either may pose a hazard.
Hurt in a Workplace Accident?
There are certain steps you can take to help preserve your rights as a victim of a workplace accident. By following these guidelines, you can put yourself in a better position to achieve the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you suffered a work injury, follow these steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries.
- Report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible.
- Be sure your employer makes a written report of the accident.
- Collect names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Take photos of the accident area, including of any tools or equipment involved in the accident.
- Write a detailed account of how the accident took place.
- Contact an experienced work accident lawyer to discuss your rights as an injured worker.
Contact an Experienced Workplace Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured on the job, contact Thomas J. Henry. Workplace accident victims deserve quality, dynamic representation from attorneys with the experience and legal resources to properly develop their case. Oftentimes, workplace injuries are severe and debilitating and put individuals out of work for an extended period of time.
Our work accident lawyers will take immediate action on your case and make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire legal process. Contact us today for a free case review. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.
An Introduction to Burn Injuries and National Burn Awareness Week
Everyone has suffered a burn injury at some point in their life. Generally, while painful, the burns suffered are relatively minor, perhaps resulting in a blister that will heal within a few days. However, in more severe cases, burns can result in infection, permanent scarring, deep tissue damage, nerve damage, and even death.
In support of the National Burn Awareness Week, Thomas J. Henry will be running an online awareness campaign featuring blogs on types of burn injuries, treatment, and prevention.
What is National Burn Awareness Week?
National Burn Awareness Week is observed during the first full week of February and is an opportunity for safety experts to educate the public on burn awareness, prevention, and methods of treatment.
While fire safety and burn prevention campaigns are generally something we associate with children and parents, adults without children should not exclude themselves as every demographic can benefit from the information presented.
Over the course of the week, our blog will include entries meant to raise awareness and help prevent life-altering burn injuries. Among items that will be covered are the different types of burn injuries, the different severities, at-risk demographics, and different methods of treatment and prevention.
Why is National Burn Awareness Week Important?
As mentioned above, we have all suffered a burn injury at some point in our life. What many of us often fail to realize is just how lucky we are that our injuries were minor.
Serious burn injuries result in more than just physical pain. The traumas of a serious burn injury combined with the scarring and disfigurement that can result from such an incident take an emotional and psychological toll as well.
Combine that with the fact that serious burn injuries are much more prevalent than many of us may believe, and you’ll begin to understand why National Burn Awareness Week is observed.
How Common Are Serous Burn Injuries?
- According to the American Burn Association, about 450,000 patients receive hospital treatment for burns every year. Keep in mind that this excludes burn injuries treated in clinics, private medical offices, or community health centers.
- Roughly 3,400 deaths occur due to burn injuries per year.
- According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, burns and fires are the 3rd leading cause of death in the home.
- Scalding is most common in children under 4 years old responsible for 200,000 injuries per year.
- 50% of scalds result from spilled food and drinks, and the other 50% are typically from hot tap water; irons; stoves; and heaters.
- 250,000 children per year under 17 seek medical attention for burn injuries
- Approximately 15,000 children require hospital treatment after burn injuries
- Roughly 1,100 children per year die from fires and burn injuries
- Out of the 3,400 U.S burn injury deaths per year:
- 2,550 deaths are due to residential fires
- 300 of the deaths are due to vehicle crashes
- 550 of the deaths are due to multiple other causes such as scalding, flames, smoke inhalation, and electricity
Have You Suffered a Serious Burn Injury?
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a severe burn injury, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. Our experience burn injury lawyers are available to assist you. If you sustained your burn injury due to the negligence of an individual or company, you may be entitled to collect damages for medical costs, lost wages from missing work, future earnings, and more. We will handle your case with care and ensure that you are in the best position to achieve the real results you deserve.
5 Winter Safety Tips for Children
With the cold weather we have had this winter, it can be tempting to get bundled up on the couch and stay inside. However, it is important to remember that children benefit for outdoor physical activity, even in the winter. Here are some quick tips to keep you kids safe and healthy as they enjoy the cold weather.
Children, especially infants and toddlers, are more likely to suffer from low body temperature and develop hypothermia. Dressing your child in layers is a great way to add warmth during colder weather. A general rule to keep in mind is that a child should wear one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear – so if you are comfortable in long sleeves and a cardigan or sweater, consider adding a jacket over your child’s sweater.
Jackets are always a great option as they can be removed if the weather starts to warm up of if direct sunlight and physical activity result in increased body temperature.
Other items to add to you child’s wardrobe should include, mittens and/or glove, thicker socks, and hats and hoods. Scarves and drawstrings hoodies are not recommended due to potential strangulation hazards.
Also, keep a dry set of clothing at your child’s school or daycare incase their clothes become wet.
Practice Active Supervision
Cold weather presents unique hazards. If you live in an area with ice or snow, be sure you are aware of any potential slip and fall hazards. This is especially true for playground equipment.
If sledding, make sure your child is aware of and avoids hazards such as cars, trees, ponds, and ditches.
When playing outdoors, encourage you child to keep moving. This will help generate body heat. If your child displays any symptoms of hypothermia, move your activities back indoors immediately.
Sunscreen Is Still a Necessity
Just because it’s cold, that does not mean you can skip the sunscreen. Sunlight reflects off of the snow and ice, creating a risk of sunburn. Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
Make Sure Your Kids Eat and Drink
Dehydration can increase your child’s risk of developing hypothermia. Have your kids drink plenty of fluids when playing (this is true for any weather). Also, provide your child plenty of health snack as they play. This can include trail mix, fruit, and bread.
Know When Outdoor Play is Appropriate
Freezing temperatures and wind can result in hypothermia and even frostbit. Check weather forecasts when planning outdoor activities and check for updates throughout the day.
Fire Safety Tips for Winter Weather
With record low temperatures being recorded all across the United States, it is important for people to remember how to stay safe while also staying warm. Space heaters, fireplaces, and even standard in-home heaters can pose significant fire hazards when in use. In 2016 alone, house fires killed 2,735 people and injured an additional 10,750, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Please ensure your safety by reviewing the following tips.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Be sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. If you have not done so recently, check the smoke alarms’ batteries and make sure they are in working order.
Use Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Some smoke alarms come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. If yours do not or if you are unsure, you can purchase a reliable carbon monoxide detector for about $20.
Have a working CO detector within 15 feet of each sleeping area of your home.
Use Heaters Safely
Do not use gas or electric ranges or ovens to heat your home. Not only will they be inefficient heaters, they can also be dangerous.
When using a fireplace or portable heater, keep combustible materials including newspapers, furniture, and clothes at least three feet from the heat source. Never place portable heaters at the bottom of a stairway as they may block an escape route in the event of a fire.
For portable heaters, check all cords for cracks, exposed wires, or loose connections. Do not overload electrical sockets or use power strips when using a portable heater.
Use Kerosene Heaters Correctly
Kerosene heaters can only use approved K-1 kerosene. Do NOT use gasoline!
When refilling a kerosene heater, avoid over filling and never refill the heater indoors or while it is still hot. Keep kerosene heaters away from flammable items or ignitable liquids.
Review Your Fire Escape Route
While you should always practice regular reviews of your fire escape route, it takes special precedence in the winter. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency and ensure all windows and doors are in working order.
Firework Safety Tips for New Year’s Eve
With the launch of each New Year, thousands of Americans are admitted to emergency rooms with burn injuries caused by fireworks. Despite growing safety initiatives, 2015 marked the worst year for fireworks injuries in at least 15 year.
New Year Firework Injury Facts and Statistics
- In 2015, 11 people died and 11,900 consumers were injured in firework accidents.
- A majority of these injuries occurred on or near the New Year and July 4th holidays.
- According to the CPSC, more than half of these injuries were the result of unexpected ignition.
- Children under the age of 15 accounted for 26 percent of firework injuries in 2015, and 42 percent emergency room-treated injuries were to individual under the age of 20.
- 1,900 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with sparklers.
Facts About Firework Injuries
- Most fireworks injuries result in burns to the head. These burns are often to the eyes, face, and ears.
- Other firework accidents result in severe hand burns which can result in the loss of fingers.
- In most accidents, sparklers, firecrackers, and flying firework devices are involved.
- Firework accident fatalities are nearly always caused by a device that malfunctions and explodes.
Firework Safety Tips
- Closely supervise children playing with fireworks.
- Never allow small children to ignite fireworks.
- When popping fireworks, always keep a bucket of water or hose close by.
- Never place any part of the body directly over a firework device.
- Never point fireworks in the direction of another person.
- Never try to relight a malfunctioning firework device.
- Never shoot off fireworks out of a glass or metal container.
- Only purchase legal fireworks.
- Never buy fireworks which come in a brown paper bag because they may not be meant for the sale to consumers.
8 Driving Tips for the Holiday Season
Along with Christmas and the winter holiday season comes the tradition of traveling to see family and friends. Whether you are traveling several hours or only a few minutes, adverse weather conditions and increased traffic can create make travel riskier than normal.
By practicing the following safe driving tips, you can help ensure you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and happy holiday.
Check Your Vehicle’s Maintenance List
Before traveling, take the time to fully inspect your vehicle. This includes making sure your lights are in working order, your tires are properly inflated and in good condition, your windshield wipers are operational and in good condition, and that there is enough wiper fluid in your vehicle.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before Long Trips
Driver fatigue is dangerous – combine it with the other hazards that come with holiday travels and it can quickly become deadly. Not getting enough sleep can impact your motor skills and reaction time. Being well-rested will allow you to remain alert over the course of your trip. If you find your concentration slipping, take a break or consider allowing a passenger to take over driving duties for a while.
Plan Your Route
Map out and become familiar with your route ahead of time. Congested roadways could mean you have to prepare for lane changes and exits much earlier than usual. Being unprepared can add unnecessary stress and increase the risk of collision. Also take into account local traffic and weather reports when planning your route.
Be sure you are ready for any potential emergencies. Store coats and blankets as well as water and food in case your vehicle stalls on an empty stretch of road and pack first aid kits and traffic signals in case you are involved in a collision.
Avoid anything that distracts you from driving. This includes electronic devices like cell phones, GPSs, and even the radio. You should also avoid eating while driving, applying makeup, or allowing a passenger to divert your full attention from the task at hand.
Control Your Speed
Speeding is the most common cause of automobile accidents and becomes especially dangerous when combined with increased traffic and poor weather conditions. Be sure to slow down for inclement weather, road construction, and heavy traffic.
Don’t Drive Drunk
This is self-explanatory. When you drive under the influence, you are putting yourself, your passenger, and everyone else on the road at risk. Don’t do it.
Seatbelts greatly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a collision. Make sure everyone in your vehicle is making proper use of these essential safety devices.