For thousands of children in Illinois, Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year. Many kids are excitedly finishing a jack-o-lantern or putting the final touches on their costumes. Others will be having fun at school celebrations or in their neighborhoods tonight. While Halloween is and should be seen as a fun time for kids to enjoy, parents should be aware of some of the more common threats to their young children so that injuries to children and minors can be prevented in Chicago.
With schools across the city welcoming students back to the classroom, the number of children riding bikes will begin to increase. Chicago is considered one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, and many citizens use bicycles for transportation, including students. Students both in Chicago and in Illinois suburbs frequently ride bicycles to get to and from school.
Cycling for transportation is a healthy and fun option for students, but it is important for both parents and kids to do everything possible to remain safe. Here are some safety tips to help ensure you and children are safe this back to school season!
For thousands of kids in the Chicago area, today marks the first day of a new school year. Some are excited and looking forward to meeting their teachers and seeing their friends. Others are dreading the end of summer and the freedom they enjoyed when they did not have to attend class every day. Regardless, though, the Chicago landscape is transitioning today as kids move from a routine of flexibility to one of structure with school at its center.
If you are a parent of a school-aged child, it is a good idea to talk about pedestrian accidents, bicycle collisions, and other injuries to children and minors this week as they are more common in Illinois at the start of a school year. But realize that even if you are not a parent, back-to-school still affects you as the influx of children on city buses, trains, and streets will have an impact on your transit plans.
How safe are your kids? Sure, you have talked with them about being responsible, acting appropriately, and avoiding any unnecessary risks, but have they heeded your advice? Are you confident that they always act in a manner that you would approve of, even if you are not around?
It probably depends on the ages of your children, but odds are that they make mistakes or lapses in judgment on at least an occasional basis. It is part of being young and learning about the world to test boundaries and see what happens if you break a rule or guideline, and while most of the time it may be harmless, some incidents can have tragic results.
Millions of people walk in and around Chicago every single year, and a large number of them are children. All of these pedestrians face some risks but harm seems to befall the young at a disproportionately large rate, leading many parents to wonder what they can do to make pedestrian safety an issue with their family members and keep their kids protected.
Recently, the national spotlight has been focused on lead levels in the public water systems in several cities, drawing attention to issues related to water procurement, treatment, and distribution in areas that have older plumbing. The problem has been confounded by the fact that many cities with an established footprint have pipes that predate the 1970s and therefore may contain lead or be lined with lead. As water continually rushes through these pipes, lead can leach into the water and contaminate it, making all water in a receiving household unsafe.
In 2016, it is surprising many people that lead poisoning is still a problem in the nation, and unfortunately, Chicago continues to experience many incidents of lead poisoning and contamination annually. According to the City of Chicago, approximately 1,000 of the city’s children are diagnosed with lead poisoning every year.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), an estimated 85,000 children under the age of five are unintentionally poisoned every year in the United States. It is a shocking statistic that all adults should know but that far too few understand, especially when considering the fact that more than 75 percent of all those poisonings occurred in the home.
Young children do not have a proper sense of what is safe and what is harmful, leading them to encounter substances which can be toxic or poison with disregard. It is critical that adults, including parents, caregivers, school teachers and school employees, and those who may share space with young children, understand that they must act appropriately in preventing access to these poisons to ensure that all kids remain safe.
According to the CPSC, the following are the top 10 products associated with pediatric poisoning:
Teenagers should be enjoying their lives to the fullest with the anticipation of everything that awaits them in their adulthood. They should be focused on their educations, their jobs, their families, and their friends. But for some teens, this joyful and mostly carefree approach to life is not possible because their lives have been forever affected by a car accident in or around the Chicago area. For others, their lives ended due to a car crash.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers in the nation, a troubling statistic made all the more distressing when you realize that the vast majority of collisions can be prevented if drivers act reasonably. This means that the youth of Illinois are facing serious risks to their lives every time they drive or simply ride in a vehicle as a passenger, and with each tragedy that strikes, the lives of that teen, the teen’s family, and the entire community will be altered forever.
An average Chicago driver will find herself involved in multiple car accidents over the course of her life. Some may be blamed on the fault of a driver, some may be blamed on poor weather or on a mechanical failure. And some may be difficult to determine fault.
If a car accident happens, the best result is one where no one involved is injured or otherwise harmed. While a crash will still be an inconvenience to all, the biggest threat will be avoided and those involved will be able to move forward with their lives.
Part of the recovery process from a collision involves having a vehicle repaired and all the damage addressed. In Illinois, the at-fault driver’s insurance company generally will be charged with repairing the harm done in a collision and with righting the wrongs that were done. It is important that parents understand when and how to replace their children’s car seats because experts believe not enough are replaced after a collision.
Chicago has countless playgrounds spanning the city, allowing children to run and jump with friends and burn off some of their never ending supply of energy. A typical parent sees a playground and does not think twice about sending her child to the swings, slides, or other equipment to have a little fun.
But every year, a number of children in Illinois are injured on playgrounds and in need of medical assistance, leaving their parents to wonder whether these accidents could have been avoided and who is responsible for the harm they caused.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under are so injured in playground accidents each year that they seek medical treatment in an emergency room or other urgent medical care setting. Among those victims, approximately 45 percent suffer from either severe fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, or amputations, statistics which reveal that when playground accidents take place, they are likely to cause extreme and potentially even permanent harm.
The greater Chicago area is home to countless children who excitedly are anticipating Halloween this year. Right now, many are finalizing their costumes, making plans on how to celebrate, and even laying out their route for trick-or-treating. If you have kids, you are probably familiar with this annual ritual already and may even be helping them get ready for Saturday. If you are, make sure that when you do a final check on their costumes, makeup, and bags for gathering candy, you also discuss with them the importance of acting safely when away from their homes.
It is an unfortunate reality that every year, children are hurt while trick-or-treating when an accident takes place. Some of those involve drivers who are not paying attention and may not notice a child while others may involve an excited trick-or-treater who darts out into traffic. Before Saturday, discuss the following safety tips with your children if they plan to celebrate Halloween: