Spring- A reminder

Early on Sunday mornings when I was a child, my father used to wake us up by yelling up the stairs: Time to get up, the sun's shining and the birds are singing. I don't know why, but that phrase always seems to pop into my head in the spring. The days are getting pretty, windows are opened to the world, the yard is starting to look inviting, and it just seems that people get more active.

And every spring, some of the same problems crop up. These may or may not actually be crimes. But they are reminders.

This woman is not named, in order to protect the identity of the baby. But she evidently decided to celebrate spring or something. She went to a casino, and while she was there she left her 5 month old baby in the car. The child was strapped into a car seat, and the windows were down about an inch. The doors were locked, and the child was left alone at least 20 minutes. This woman got lucky. She is facing charges of abandonment and she will be going to court to try to get her child back. But the child is alive.

 http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1144878610417&call_pageid=968350130169&col=969483202845

But every year we lose kids like this. The sun shining down on a metal car, with the windows rolled up- the temperatures can soon become unbearable. Children dehydrate easily, and their little heat fighting mechanisms are not always able to deal with the increasing temperatures in an enclosed car. It doesn't take long for a child to die this way. Don't leave those kids in the car. It is just as dangerous as leaving them in an unheated car in the middle of winter.

The second reminder is this. With the increasing temperatures, we often want to throw those home windows wide, to get the spring breezes and wonderful spring smells into the home. Now kids are curious, we all know that. They are also unfamiliar with the concept of danger. And they love to go outside. So an open window is a major temptation.

A child was taken to the hospital after falling from an upstairs window. The child fell 17 feet to the pavement below. It was conscious and breathing and was taken to the local hospital.

http://www.wcpo.com/news/2006/local/04/14/fall.html

Often we don't think of this as a danger. We know it isn't safe to climb or play there. Kids don't. We think, well there is a screen. But screens aren't designed to hold a child's weight. If you are going to open an upstairs window, make sure there are guards, or that you are there to supervise the child. Keep them away from the window, because it is a danger.

Third, we are all spending more time in the yard. Kids are playing, the lawn mowers come out, the chemicals are being used. And we are out of the habit.

Patrol your yard, checking it for any dangers that may have developed over the winter. Review safety precautions with the kids. Remind them of the dangers of getting too close to the street or of talking to strangers. Remind them not to walk behind vehicles. Review for yourself the dangers of any equipment or chemicals that you may be using. If you have a pool or there is one nearby, review the safety precautions. Check the locks on the gate.

Stay safe this year and keep those kids safe.

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