As schools are closed and social distancing continues during the coronavirus pandemic, more kids than usual are playing outside their homes, often at unexpected times of day. That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep kids safe. This means using Spot the Tot safety techniques to help prevent accidental back-overs or front-overs, and making sure that you and your bike-, scooter- and skateboard-riding crew wears a helmet every ride, every time.
Jade Elliott spoke with Jessica Strong, community health manager, Primary Children’s Hospital, to discuss the Spot the Tot program and helmet safety.
Spot the Tot
Use the Spot the Tot safety techniques can help prevent accidental back-overs or front-overs.
Between 1991 and 2018, 1,427 children nationwide died from injuries sustained in a backover, meaning the child was accidentally rolled over by a moving vehicle. In Utah, 62 children have died in backovers since 1991. That’s the fifth highest number of such fatalities in the nation.
Most often, fatalities occur when a child is accidentally run over by a vehicle in a driveway or parking lot, most often driven by a parent or caregiver.
These accidents can be prevented, starting with a 10-second walk around your vehicle. While backup cameras can help with visibility, they also have significant blind spots at each corner. The best prevention is human intervention.
You can Spot the Tot and Prevent injury by doing these three things:
o Walk completely around the car before getting in to drive
o Eliminate distractions (put phone away, turn off music)
o Roll down windows and listen before backing up
Here are some other tips to help keep kids safe:
o Supervise children when others are getting into a car.
o Teach children not to play in or around cars.
Wear a helmet – every ride, every time
Each year, more than 1,200 people die and thousands more are seriously injured in bicycle, roller blade, scooter and skateboard accidents. The most serious accidents involve head injuries. Many of these can be prevented by wearing a safety helmet.
Help your child get into the habit of wearing a helmet on every ride they take, whether on a bike, scooter, or skateboard. Make sure the helmet fits properly, and remember that kids outgrow helmets, just like they outgrow clothes or shoes.
Use this checklist to ensure your child’s helmet fits properly before they ride:
• Be sure your helmet has an CPSC or SNELL label certifying it is safe.
• Don’t wear a hat or anything else under the helmet
• The helmet should fit snugly and sit level on your child’s head.
• The helmet should fit two finger widths above your child’s eyebrow
• For the side strap: Make a V shape under your child’s ears with the strap and clasps.
• Under the chin: You should be able to fit one adult’s finger between the child’s chin and the strap.
• Make sure you are using equipment as designed, only one person per bike.
• Don’t tie or drag other people behind you. They don’t have brakes and can’t stop like the bike rider.
• Obey all traffic laws like stop signs and lights.
• When riding in a group, always ride single file on the street.
• Never wear headphones while biking.
For more information, visit primarychildrens.org/safety.
The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.