State fire marshal encourages child safety
prevention and playground safety: key strategies to keep children
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[April 02, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Office of the
State Fire Marshal urges families to exercise caution in order to
prevent small children from reaching hazardous items kept at home
that present a risk of poisoning or other serious incidents. The
office seeks to educate the public on how to store both
over-the-counter and prescription medicines, cleaning supplies,
cosmetics, plants, and other toxic or potentially poisonous
In addition, as the Illinois residents prepare for warmer
temperatures, many families will begin heading to public parks,
seeking outdoor activities for their children. However, many
playgrounds may have faced structural changes through the seasons,
which could present potential risks for accidents.
"Parents and adults should be on the lookout for anything that
could put children at risk, both at home and during playground
hours," said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. "By practicing
diligence in child supervision and by keeping their surroundings
safe, the chances for tragedies decrease."
According to the National Capital Poison Center, more than 2
million poisoning cases are reported each year nationwide, and more
than 90 percent of those incidents occur in the home. Last year 45
percent of poisoning reported cases involved children younger than 6
Poison prevention tips
Store products safely:
and products in their original containers.
Lock medicines and
household products where children cannot see or reach them.
child-resistant packaging. Replace the caps tightly.
products in a different place from food and medicine.
Keep purses and briefcases out of
Prevent poisoning from medicines:
Read the label
before taking or giving medicine.
Use medicine only
as directed by your doctor or the label.
Call medicine by
its proper name, not "candy."
Take medicine in a place where children
cannot watch, because children learn by imitating adults.
Prevent poisoning from products and
products according to label directions. Mixing household
products can cause dangerous gases to form.
Keep houseplants out of children's
reach. Even if the plants are not poisonous, they might cause
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Statistics from the National Program for Playground Safety show
that each year over 200,000 children ages 14 and younger are injured
on America's playgrounds. Parents should provide proper supervision
of children on playgrounds and look for age-appropriate site
designs, proper surfacing under and around play areas, and
well-maintained parks. These safety measures apply to school
playgrounds, public community parks and day-care centers.
Approximately 79 percent of equipment-related injuries are caused by
Most common reasons for playground
Falls can occur
when children slip, lose their grip or lose their balance while
playing on monkey bars, swings, slides, merry-go-rounds and
Children may be
struck by faulty or moving equipment such as swings.
Often, a child will fall on their
outstretched hand, trying to protect themselves, and sustain a
fracture involving the elbow.
Playground accident prevention tips:
Check your child's
clothing -- Clothing items can become trapped in equipment
and may result in strangulation. Remove drawstrings and other
cords from clothing. In the winter, use a neck warmer rather
than a scarf, and use mitten clips rather than cords.
-- Bicycle helmets should not be worn by children on
playground equipment due to the potential for entrapment and
Beware of bicycle
-- Choose playgrounds that "fit" your child.
Children 5 years of age and younger should use only playgrounds
designed for preschool children.
Choose the right
-- Many playgrounds have broken swings
or monkey bars and unsafe surfaces.
personnel of dangers
-- Often teens using swings and other equipment not suited for
them while small children play can cause falls, bumping or
hitting children while using the same equipment.
Children younger than 5 years of age and those with health
problems should always be supervised while playing on a
Supervise, supervise, supervise
For more information on children's safety at home or in
Office of the State Fire
received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]