Festive feasts and holiday treats are a favorite part of the holiday and Hanukkah season. Children are especially eager to help prepare goodies and learn about cooking. Remember, having children around the kitchen requires a care and supervision. 

Kitchen Safety                                    
  • Never leave food that is cooking unattended
  • Turn all pot handles toward the back of the stove
  • Keep flammable items, such as towels & dishrags, away from the stove top
  • Never put water on a cooking fire…use baking soda or flour to help put it out
  • Turn off all appliances before leaving the kitchen

Cooking with Child Helpers       
  • Before introducing children to the kitchen, make sure you have taken essential safety steps such as having a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Wash your hands frequently as well as your children
  • Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen
  • Never carry a child while cooking
  • Make sure you & your child wear close-fitting clothing when cooking
  • Always supervise a child when using the microwave
  • Children under age 10 should not handle the stove, electrical appliances, sharp utensils or hot dishes
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from counter or table edges where they can be easily knocked off by children
  • Unplug appliance cords when not in use and keep them out of children’s reach

U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline:
1-800-535-4555
1-800-256-7072 (TDD/TTY)
Food & Cooking Safety                   

Clean: 
Wash hands & food-contact surfaces often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen & get onto cutting boards, knives, sponges, & counter tops.

Separate: 
Don't cross-contaminate--don't let bacteria spread from one food product to another-especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.

Cook: 
Cook to proper temperatures. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.

Chill: 
Refrigerate promptly. Refrigerate foods quickly keeps most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Keep refrigerator set at 40 F & freezer at "0" F, check settings occasionally with a thermometer.

Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

 
 
The holidays are a great time to share special times with your children. Different activities can help stimulate their creativity and learning while making new traditions that will last them a lifetime. They will cherish and remember these experiences and activities more than any purchased gift.
Remember today is a gift. Live in the moment with your child today. This is why we call is the "present".

  • Bake & decorate cookies (from scratch of course-No cheating!). Have younger and older children take part in helping age-appropriate tasks
  • Go Christmas caroling with friends
  • Watch Christmas movies and have hot chocolate
  • Make decorations and ornaments. Have the children create their own for your own home or for gifts. Keeping in mind that small parts of 1 3/4 inch  is a hazard to infants and toddlers.
  • Have older children take part if planning holiday decorating and even holiday treat and recipe planning
  • Give a child one special ornament each year for the tree. That way when they will have a childhood collection of their own ornaments
  • Make your own Christmas gift "year"
  • Have older children create a holiday-related family game
  • When children create something special they made such as a Christmas cookie or ornament, preserve to use as ornaments for future years
  • Have the kids help create their own Christmas song
  • Have older children choose one day per week while out of school to go do something different, from a scavenger hunt, to looking at Christmas lights, making holiday crafts, etc.
  • Make a scavenger hunt with a holiday theme with your children and their friends. Write holiday facts on small papers with something small like a candy cane, then hide with a hint for another find.
  • Visit a holiday ice show or ballet
  • Take plenty of photos to use as a holiday scrap book for future years
  • Take a short trip. Either a day trip or weekend outing. Many cities and regions have their own special holiday features. Find out more by searching online for something special. Have older children help in the search and choices
  •  Plan a visit to one of the Polar Express train rides near you
  • Santa from around the world
  • Make your own Christmas cards
  • Take a drive or walk to look at Christmas lights and decorations
  • Attend a local Christmas parade
  • Have older children plan a few holiday season meals and cook before Christmas
  • Go to the snow, if possible, make a snowman, go sledding, play. Be a kid with your kids!
  • Go ice skating with your children
  • Go skiing or snowboarding, again if you are near snow or plan a trip (see Winter Sports). Taking time for Christmas activities and games as well
  • Between Thanksgiving and Christmas take time to have a several fun holiday theme meals or desert enjoying Christmas music and holiday activities
  • Make a gingerbread house or cookies for decorations. Play Christmas music have hot chocolate as you create
  • Get creative with the children. Look at the stars and create your own holiday related constellation as a gift 
  • Create holiday stories. Then make into small holiday books
  • Make an advent calendar and each day from December 1st to December 24th write a little note with a Christmas fact for your child to have each morning
  • Visit museums or community holiday events
  • Read or make up holiday stories for your children. These can be used throughout the holiday season. Small short stories before bedtime and later to be used as a small book for a gift when they are older
  • Save your mobile phone photos by year on your hard drive so later you can make an annual childhood scrapbook. A great gift when they come home from college
  • Create a new tradition of having the children, and adults, make one gift. Being creative it can be by hand, it can be a song, a play, a card, a poem, whatever they choose
  • Play a game with your children while listening to Christmas music and having a holiday desert
  • Attend a professional or local, school Christmas play
  • Contact Santa at the North Pole

Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

 
 
If this is your first holiday after loosing a loved one, these steps offer an easier way to get through the holidays.

The holidays are time of joy and cheer, but after the loss of a loved one, especially the first holiday, can be the most difficult. The empty space in your heart and life can leave you anything but happy and cheerful. If you have lost a loved one recently, here are nine tips to help you get through the holidays, while honoring the memories of your loved one. After reading this section, find out about A Letter Release: To help get through the loss of a loved one.

  • Plan something different. Try not to recreate the past. Celebrate the holidays differently, however that may be. Go to a restaurant; visit old friends or relatives; go someplace you have never been before; if you choose to put up a Christmas tree, make new, or buy, decorations for it; have a special thought or some way of honoring and expressing your loved one together. 
  • Keep it simple. Do not stress about gifts. Buy less or maybe just for the children. Or make homemade gifts. Keep it simple and different. You can have a fun activity by making decorations with others. For meals keep them simple too. Go out to eat, make different foods, etc.
  • Take care of yourself. Find time to relax. Eat nourishing healthy meals. Avoid alcohol since it can intensify depression and keep you from sleeping well.
  • Plan to keep busy. Grief can take all your energy away and even though we know we need to get up and do something, we do not have the energy. Have friends help you plan things to keep you busy. If you need to rest is fine but keep busy so you do not start feeling down or depressed.
  • Pay attention to how you feel. It is OK to let others know how you feel. If you begin to feel down and depressed talk with anyone. Let them know you need to talk and express how you feel to them. When you let people know you have experienced a loss of a loved one and need to talk, you will be surprised how people will offer to listen and help. So let others know how you feel. Be gentle to yourself and to others as well.
  • Express your feelings. Expect to feel some pain from your loss. This is normal. When you feel sad during the holidays, this is normal. Experience tears and express how you feel. Talk with others. Have faith in yourself and know you will get through this and will be fine.
  • If you need help get help from others. Grieving is difficult and should not be done alone. Share your feelings with others. If a friend or family member is not able to give you the support you need, call and talk with a lifeline counselor 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 (FOR VETERANS PRESS “1”, EN ESPAÑOL OPRIMA EL 2)
  • Give something of yourself to others. One of the most helpful things you can do to help you feel better is to help others, especially during the holidays.  And do this in honor of the loved one you lost.
  • Remember to express your feelings, make plans to keep busy, do something different with others to honor your loved one, and if you need help call the lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Doing something different with others this holiday season can help you create new traditions to honor your loved one and get through the holidays in a different but special way.

Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

 
 
The holidays are a wonderful time of year for both adults and children. However relationships, finances and physical and emotional demands can result in holiday stress. The following are some causes, which you might relate. The good news is, with some helpful tips you too can have a stress-free holiday.

Relationships: Relationship tension among family, friends, and intimate partners, can become worse during the holidays. And if you're facing the holidays without a loved one, you may find yourself lonely or sad. Family relationships: Especially if you are together for several days, conflicts among family members are bound to arise with so many needs and interests to accommodate. Intimate partners: Whether you are dating or recently married or living together, tension often arises when deciding when both want to follow their own traditions, but yet want to be together.

Finances: Like your relationships, finances can also cause stress at any time of the year. But overspending during the holidays on gifts, travel, food and entertainment can increase stress if you spend beyond your means.

Physical demands: Activities such as shopping, attending social gatherings, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, and preparing holiday meals can wear you down. Feeling tired can also increase your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Then in addition to stress, add lack of exercise, and overindulgence in food and drink can result in holiday illness. Getting plenty of exercise and sleep are good ways to help manage stress and fatigue.

Stress-Free
Holidays!

  • Expect less! Don’t compete with past holidays or try to make this one “the best ever”.  Set realistic goals, pace yourself, and organize time.  Write a list of the most important activities and things to do. Don’t plan too much. Be realistic about what you can do. Don’t spend too much time preparing for one day (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.).
  • Allow yourself to feel: The holiday season does not automatically make feelings of sadness or loneliness go away. Allow yourself to feel however you feel but talk with others about how you feel when you begin to feel down.
  • Let go of the past!  Don’t be disappointed if your holidays are not like they used to be.  Life brings changes.  Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its’ own way.  You set yourself up for sadness if everything has to be just like the “good old days”.  Especially with the loss of a loved one, keep memories in your heart and dedicate new traditions to them and look toward the future.
  • Do something for someone else.  Try volunteering to help others.
  • Enjoy “free” holiday activities: Drive and look at Holiday decorations, go window shopping.
  • Do not drink too much.  Alcohol is a depressant. Drinking can make you feel more depressed.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.  Celebrate the holidays in a way you have not done before.
  • Spend time with “supportive” people who care about you.  Even those who care about you might not always be supportive (both family and friends). Make new friends if you are alone during special times.  Contact someone you have lost touch with.
  • Spend less and not over what you can afford. Make gifts & be creative. Don’t get caught up in the “buying trend”.
  • Take care of yourself! Get plenty of exercise, sleep, and time to relax by living in the moment.
  • Find time for yourself!  Don’t spend all your time providing activities for your family and friends. 
  • If you are depressed or need someone to talk to, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 Source: National Mental Health Association

Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

 
 
Be a positive role model by teaching your children that the holiday season is a time for giving and how to be realistic. Remember trying to meet all of your child’s wishes can cause stress to you and your bank account.
  • Let them know if a toy is unsafe or too expensive
  • Let them know that you and Santa will do their best to get them a special gift
  • Enjoy time with your children. Have them choose a craft or activity at least once a week. Bake cookies, write a story, or make up a game, even as a gift. Your children will remember these moments much more than anything you will ever buy!

By simply setting boundaries and validating your child will help give you and your child a much happier holiday.
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Get this!
Picture
Not This!

Validate your child’s feelings

So plan ahead, be aware and ready to respond, because you know you will hear “I want…”. So as you shop, when you hear “I want”, remember to first validate their feelings. Even if you are shopping for others, still validate them by letting them know you are happy they showed you what they would like. Acknowledge them by asking them to remember that item and write it on a list when they get home. Then, if they keep asking then simply remind them again that you are shopping for others and let them help you.
Set boundaries with your child

Plan ahead, when you take your child to any store during the holidays, let them know what your intent is. Let them know what you are shopping for. If gifts for others, try to have them help by asking for their ideas. Let them know that it is okay if they see something they like, but this is not the time for us to buy it.

Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

 
 

Shopping Guide: Infants & Toddlers
(Ages 0-3)
Warnings:
  • Children can choke on anything that is 1 ¾ inch (4.45cm) or less 
  • Toys that have strings, straps or cords more than 7 inches (17.7cm) are a strangulation hazard
  • Avoid toys with small removable parts due to being a choking hazard
  • Check small parts, such as making sure a teddy bear’s eyes and nose are securely attached
  • Balloons are not recommended due to being a choking hazard  
  • Toys with lithium batteries are a burn risk
Gift Ideas:
Remember to read warnings and tags to make sure gifts are age-appropriate
Infants: 
  • Soft dolls
  • Stuffed animals (with no buttons or small parts)
  • Cloth covered books
Ages 1-3 years: 
  • Books
  • Blocks
  • Shape toys
  • Balls (no smaller than 1 ¾ inches)

Shopping Guide:  Ages 4-8
Warnings & Information:
  • Electric toys can be a burn hazard for this age
  • Electronic devices are distractions and do not stimulate creative learning that helps brain development
Gift Ideas!
  • Non-toxic arts and crafts
  • Books
  • Musical Instruments
  • Outdoor toys

Shopping Guide:  Ages 9+
Warnings & Information:
Electric trains and battery operated toys are safe for this age, but:
  1. Children should not      change batteries
  2. Adults check for loose wires
Electronic devices do not promote physical activity or brain development
Gift Ideas!
  • Sports equipment
  • Bicycle, scooter, skateboard, roller blades or skates
  • Helmet & protective gear
Remember when purchasing a wheeled item such as a bicycle, skateboard, roller blades or roller skates, also purchase a helmet

Shopping Guide:  All Ages
Be Aware & Never Buy:
  • Propelled toys such as darts
  • Toys with lead-based paint
  • Toy guns, or pellet or BB guns  
  • Toys with sharp point or edges
  • Toys that make loud noises-can injury hearing
  • Always consider:
    • Follow age recommendations
    • Read instructions and teach your child how to properly use any new toy
    • Immediately discard plastic wrappings, which can lead to suffocation to small children 

    Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Safety Council and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

    You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

    For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

     
     
    This holiday season, while shopping don't put yourself in the hands of a thief. Be alert during the holiday shopping season and remember these tips before, during and after shopping to make your season safe and enjoyable.

    BEFORE SHOPPING
    • Turn off all lights & blow-out all open flame candles before leaving home
    • Never leave children home alone without an adult or child 13 years of age or older
    • Avoid shopping alone
    • Shop during daylight hours, if dark, 1) Shop with a friend, 2) Park in well-lighted space
    • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
    • Keep your purse or wallet with you
    • Keep valuables out of plain view in your car
    • While shopping never leave children alone:
    1. In a car, or
    2. In public facilities (arcade or playground) 
    DURING SHOPPING
    • Do not carry too many packages-lock them in your car trunk or not in plain view  
    • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
    • Keep credit slips-tear & discard later
    • Wear your purse strapped across your body and wallets in front pocket
    • Use credit or bank ATM card or checks rather than carrying cash.
    • If ATM is used, use as “credit” so you do not have to use your PIN number
    • If you need an ATM, use one located in a mall, store, or well-lighted location
    • In public restrooms-do not hang a purse on handles/hooks and never on the floor
    • Always go with your child when taking them to the restroom
    • Teach your child never to talk to or go anywhere with strangers
    • Use the shopping cart safety belt for a child
    • On escalators-hold a child’s hand facing them forward and make sure shoes are tied
    AFTER  SHOPPING
    • When leaving the stores, if dark or late at night ask security to escort you to your car
    When walking to your car:
    • Walk confidently with your head up and noticing surroundings
    • Walk in well-lighted and well traveled area where there are lots of people
    • Be aware of people around you. Scan the area around your car. Make sure nobody is hiding nearby-If someone looks suspicious report them and request for an escort
    • Have your car key or remote in your hand and ready to unlock your car
    Once at your car:
    • Look inside to make sure nobody is hiding
    • When loading purchases put your purse in first, then children, packages, etc.
    • Once in vehicle, lock doors immediately
    Once at Home
    • Take infants & toddlers from car and into to home first, then remove gifts
    • Keep all wrapped gifts hidden in closets, not under your tree, so they are out of sight to prevent a burglary
    • Put gifts under you tree on December 24th

    Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

    You can also visit
    Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

    For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com

     
     
    Beginning in November and continuing through December every hour 10 people are injured from holiday decorating activities. The good news is that these injuries are 100% preventable. Pro Consumer Safety briefly explains why and provides safety tips to keep you and your family safe while decorating for the holidays.
    "Holiday Decorating" is part one of an eight part series on holiday safety (Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping Safety, Child-Safe Gift Guide, Gifts and Children's Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities). In addition will also include a brief on Hanukkah Safety.) 

    Common Holiday-Related Injuries

    • Adult falls : Most adult falls are from ladders followed by cuts, burns, and back strains all from decorating.
    • Fires: Most tree fires happen between Christmas and New Year's when trees become more dried out. Tree fires happen because of three common reasons: 1) The tree not being watered-Live trees dry quickly in a warm home, especially when not watered regularly causing a high fire risk. 2) the tree being placed too close to a heat source (fireplace or heater), and 3) Too many strands of lights plugged into together.
    • Falls and poisonings among toddler-aged children: Children under the age of 5 are also treated in emergency departments during this time of year for injuries associated with 1) shopping cart and escalator related-falls while parents are shopping; and 2) in the home from being exposed to poisonous holiday plants and decorations that look like candy.

    Decorating Safety Tips

    Keeping decorating safety tips as part of your decorating checklist will help to keep you and your family away from the emergency room and safe this holiday. 

    Tree Decorating

    Live Tree Warning!
    Most tree fires happen between Christmas Day and New Years. For those who celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah with a tree or bush that is decorated, remember if you have a live tree or bush, they can dry out quickly in a warm home, from not being watered properly, being too close to room heating and too many strands of lights plugged together.

    Tree or Bush Decorating Tips:

    1. Water tree or bush regularly by checking and adding water each morning
    2. Keep tree of bush as far away as possible from any heat source such as a fireplace or heater (no closer than three feet away, but further is always best)
    3. Use no more than 3-strands of lights plugged together. Always follow warnings and recommendations on the specific lighting.

    Holiday Lighting Tips:

    1. Indoor lights are for “indoor-use” only
    2. Outside lights are for “outdoor-use” only and those with a label that reads “certified for outdoor use”
    3. For lighting sets with broken sockets, frayed or bare wires do not use and throw away
    4. Outdoor lights and decorations must be plugged into aground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold
    5. Use no more than three strings of lights for each extension cord
    6. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree
    7. Stay away from power lines leading from the home to utility poles
    8. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect from wind damage
    9. Use insulated staples to hold strings in place-not nails or tacks. or hook strings of lights on hooks
    10. When it is time to remove outdoor lights, never pull lights down because it can damage the electrical wire
    11. When using a ladder to hang lights, make sure it is stable. Have someone assist you if necessary.
    12. Remember to turn off lights when you leave home and when you go to bed! See Holiday Before Bedtime Nightly Routine!

    Holiday Plant Safety Tips

    Three common holiday plants include mistletoe, holly berries and Christmas cactus. When decorating for the holidays, if you have small children (infants or toddlers) living in your home or if you will have small children visiting your home, be aware of these holiday plants that are known to be poisonous.

    Mistletoe, holly berries, and Christmas cactus are poisonous if swallowed. Eating one or two berries from these plants can cause stomach aches, vomiting and/or diarrhea. However a higher amount of 15-20 can be deadly. Keep these plants up high, away from small children and even animals. Also keep in mind that if these are hung on a door, such as in a wreath, or placed overhanging from a bookcase, that leaves might drop becoming a risk to infants and toddlers, and pets.
    Mistletoe - Poisonous
    Picture
    Mistletoe
    Picture
    Natural Mistletoe
    Holly Berries - Poisonous
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    Holly Berries (close up)
    Picture
    Natural Holly Berries
    Christmas Cactus - Poisonous
    Picture
    Christmas Cactus (close up)
    Picture
    Christmas Cactus Plant
    Never assume and always call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222). Remember Poison Control is also available for non-emergency questions about any type of concerns about poisoning. Many people confuse Poinsettias, but these are not poisonous, but if swallowed may cause stomach aches. Again, never guess what a child or even adult might have swallowed, always call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Keep this number stored in your mobile phone.

    Fireplace Safety Tips

    A fireplace in your home is warm and festive for the holidays. However keep in mind fire and burn safety when decorating and when in use. Follow these decorating and use recommendations to prevent the risk of a fire in your home and a burn to visitors such as infants or toddlers who might visit your home.

    Decorating your fireplace:
    1. Do not hang Christmas stockings in front of a burning fire
    2. When decorating a mantle, keep is clear of flammable decorations such as greenery branches, ribbons and paper
    3. Other decorations like baskets of pine cones or other greenery on the hearth can become a fire risk, so keep further away from the fire
    4. Keep Christmas tree and anything that is flammable more than three feet away from a fireplace
    When fireplace is in use:
    1. Keep "fire salts," (that make colored flames when put on wood fires), stored high away from children. These salts contain heavy metals that can cause severe stomach irritation and vomiting if eaten
    2. Use glass fireplace doors or a metal screen in front of your fireplace 
    3. Barrier gates can be used when infants and toddlers are visiting 
    4. Do not burn wrapping paper or tree branches in the fireplace because these ignite rapidly!
    5. Always put fireplace flames out before going to bed. See "Holiday Nightly Before Bedtime Routine"

    Remember don't let the unknown become a risk and the result a visit to the emergency room this holiday. Keep you and your family and guests safe by practicing these tips. Remember Holiday Decorating is part one of an eight part series (Watch out for Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities).

    You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

    For questions, contact holidaysafety@proconsumersafety.com
     
     
    Picture
    SUV's becoming smaller impacts child passenger safety
    When shopping for a family vehicle remember there are approximately 684 models of motor vehicles and 238 models of child restraint systems (car seats) manufactured in the United States, and model designs can change every year. While vehicles and car seats are required to meet Federal standards, depending on specific criteria, not all car seats are compatible to every vehicle. Add to the fact that vehicles are becoming smaller can make compatibility even more of a problem, affecting installation and safety even among the largest of SUV's. Pro Consumer Safety has established 12-factors for parents to consider when shopping for a new family vehicle.
    If you have children and/or have an active outdoor lifestyle that requires space to transport children and outdoor sports equipment and supplies, needing a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) or a minivan is a must. If, however you not have noticed,  SUV’s are becoming smaller (both in width and length). This is a safety problem especially since car seats are getting larger to keep children at each stage (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster seat) longer to give them more protection.  For example, currently 77% of all rear-facing compatible car seats have a weight maximum of 40, 45 and even 50-pounds for rear-facing position (also important to follow height restriction).  This increased weight can keep a child rear-facing between the ages of 3-5 years of age (based upon 90% percentile of height and weight, CDC Clinical Growth Charts). Remember anytime one transitions a child from rear-facing to forward-facing, regardless of age, the child is at an increased risk of c-spine (neck) and traumatic brain injury in the event of a collision. So having car seats becoming larger and having an increased weight capability helps to give protection to the child's head and neck. But smaller sized vehicles can compromise this ability, due to lack of needed space for rear-facing seats and with some vehicles becoming more narrow can also affect the ability to properly install some rear-facing and forward-facing car seats.

    According to Consumer Affairs, because of new fuel economy standards, automakers are designing SUV’s smaller to improve fuel economy. This is not a problem, if you are not a tall driver or passenger (generally 5’10” or taller), only have one child, do not mind riding in the back seat with your child, just go to dinner, the movies, get groceries, or maybe take a beach chair and a small cooler to the beach, a smaller SUV is likely fine. However, with SUV’s becoming smaller this can be a problem. A smaller sized SUV can severely affect whether you can safely transport a child or numerous children in these smaller SUV's, and even in some sedans. Add to the fact that if you have an active outdoor lifestyle, you need space for carrying equipment such as for kayaking, snowboarding/skiing, camping, biking, child carriers, bike trailers, etc. But even more important is having enough space and capability to properly install a car seat in the safest location in the vehicle. Depending on the factors below, these contribute to a 30-35% risk that a specific car seat might not be compatible to a specific vehicle. This is why Pro Consumer Safety recommends having a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) make sure the vehicle you are considering can accommodate the seats necessary to safely and properly transport your child in the vehicle before you purchase it.

    12-Factors to consider when shopping for a new family vehicle
    Pro Consumer Safety has already provided consultation to automotive design engineers on some of these issues. It is also currently assessing top selling car seats that are most compatible to the top selling family vehicles, including SUV’s and minivans. Meanwhile the following are factors that have been shown to contribute to car seat (rear-facing, forward-facing combination, all-in-one and booster seats) compatibility problems. Consumers can use this as a guide when shopping for a new vehicle. Then once you have your vehicles narrowed down Pro Consumer Safety recommends having a CPST assist you to ensure the vehicle is compatible to the car seats necessary for your child.
    1. Number of children (obviously more than one child can increase difficulty).
    2. Number of car seats (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster)
    3. Height/weight of children (contributes to the type of car seat i.e. rear-facing, forward-facing, booster)
    4. Height of driver and front passenger. Heights of 5’10” or taller are more problematic for some vehicles when using rear-facing car seats. The driver and passenger  need at least 3” of space between their knees and dashboard, and for the driver no less than 10” to the steering wheel and for the passenger no less than 20” to the front airbag)
    5. Second row vehicle seat is fixed or does not slide back. This is necessary for proper space necessary between the back of the child's rear-facing car seat and the back of the front vehicle seats. Whereas rear-facing car seats need at least 1.5-2 inches of space between the back of the car seat and back of front vehicle seats. This can impact the driver and passenger as just discussed above.
    6. Contours of vehicle seats. Whereas the sides and back of the vehicle seat angles can affect installation of a car seat or even booster seat.
    7. Location of LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) - height of LATCH and contours of vehicle seat can affect proper use of LATCH, depending on design of car seat.
    8. Location of vehicle reseat belts - seat belts that are not close between the vehicle seat bench and seat back such as being 3-4" away from the back of the vehicle seat becomes a problem when using a seat belt to install a car seat, causing inability to pull the car seat back against the rear of the back seat to be installed properly
    9. Fixed seat belts - when the seat belt receptacle is attached to the bench of the vehicle seat, instead of being on a short belt makes it difficult to place a car seat in the correct location and/or position. This can make is difficult to install a car seat properly as well as can affect the number of car seats placed in the back seat.
    10. Center vehicle seating position where the seat belts are offset or too close together such as being 8-inches or less apart or further away from the center.
    11. Rounded, highly contoured center hump of back vehicle seat.
    12. Number of top tethers (for forward-facing seats that have a top tether - not all vehicles have a top tether at all seat location. Especially in some larger SUV's
    If the vehicle you are interested in has any of these factors above, this can increase car seat compatibility problems. In any case however, it is highly recommended to have a CPST assist to make sure you can accommodate the type and number of car seats properly before your purchase the vehicle.
    For questions call 323-491-6197

    Safety ratings for new vehicles

    Pro Consumer Safety receives numerous inquiries from new and expectant parents on what is the best type and safest vehicle to transport their children in. While every vehicle manufacturer has their own criteria and safety specifications, we generally refer them to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization that helps to reduce death, injury and property from crashes. The IIHS offers an excellent resource for consumers on vehicle ratings.

     
     
    This is a brief word of caution if you are considering purchasing a Tesla Model X, their new SUV. Whereas with the recent crashes of the Tesla Model X, even when drivers were not in the vehicle at the time, the safety of technology features is a high risk safety issue. It also is not large enough for your lifestyle or purpose when transporting children. The brief below is from Pro Consumer Safety's Facebook. 

    Perhaps the most important thing to take away here is the need for operator training: The manufacturer is finding that these crashes are driver error. Because these vehicles are "partially autonomous" perhaps the manufacturer needs to require a special operators license to drive these partially autonomous vehicles so drivers are properly trained to keep the driver, it's passengers, as well as other vehicles and pedestrians safe.

    Remember when shopping for a new vehicle check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization that helps to reduce death, injury and property from crashes. They offer an excellent resource for consumers on vehicle ratings