Tag Archives: Safety

DHEC in the News: National Influenza Vaccination Week, Christmas toy safety tips, carpet recycling

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights importance of continuing flu vaccination

Haven’t protected against the flu by getting vaccinated? It’s not too late.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is highlighting the importance of the flu vaccine this week, which has been designated National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 3 to 9).

The CDC established the week in 2005 “to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond,” a time that recent flu season statistics show few people get vaccinated, according to its website.

DHEC of South Carolina offers Christmas toy safety tips

(WFXG) – Tis the season for giving and while Santa is preparing to bring the hottest and trendiest toys to children for Christmas, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) wants to remind parents that safety should be a top priority this holiday.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2016 there were more than 174,100 toy-related ER-treated injuries associated with toys to children younger than 15 years of age.

General Interest

Carpet Recycling Increases Much Needed Landfill Space

Within the construction and demolition industry, carpet recycling remains top of mind for industry players. As such, states such as California, and organizations such as the Carpet American Recovery Effort (CARE), are leading the charge in establishing carpet recycling programs that will lessen the affect carpeting discards have on the environment.

According to the most recent annual report from CARE, the organization’s members diverted more than more than 488 million pounds of carpet from U.S. landfills in 2016, down nearly 6 percent from 2015. Of the carpet diverted to recycling, 167 million pounds were recycled into carpet and other consumer products, 174 million pounds were sent back to the landfill, and 144 million pounds were sent to waste-to-energy and cement kilns.

Make Firework Safety a Priority for New Year’s Eve

Come this New Year’s Eve, many Americans – and South Carolinians – will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks at midnight.

If you desire to view a colorful pyrotechnic display to ring in the New Year, please remember that it’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals.  But if you choose to handle fireworks yourself, be sure to take precautions that will protect you, your family members and your friends.

Fireworks can cause serious injuries, including burns, contusions, lacerations and eye injuries. And, yes, they also can be deadly.

Safety First!

Please observe the following safety tips to protect yourself and others from the perils of fireworks.

Smart Purchasing

Please obey local and state laws regarding the sale and use of state-approved fireworks. Buy only consumer-grade fireworks.  Avoid buying fireworks packaged in a brown bag, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumer use.

Handle with care

Read all warning labels and follow directions on each device. Never put your head or any part of your body over a firework. Never hold a lit firework in your hand. Fireworks should not be carried in your pocket. Don’t aim or throw fireworks at another person. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water handy.

Adult supervision

Firework activities should be led by an adult; adults should never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks.  Everyone should watch from a safe distance.

Safe lighting

Light fireworks from the side (never standing directly over) using a blunt or hand-held igniter. Wear protective eyewear. Remember that a dud is a dud; never attempt to re-light a short fuse or a firework dud. And, call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

For more information on firework safety, visit www.cdc.gov/family/minutes/tips/fireworks/.

 

Santa’s Safety List: 12 Tips for Toys

Toys are an essential part of the holiday gift-giving and while many parents are still crossing off presents on their children’s Christmas lists, DHEC wants to make sure little ones stay safe this holiday season.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 252,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2015. Here are 12 tips to make sure your family stays safe this holiday.

Make sure to follow the age recommendations for toys and games.
Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest, and skill level.

Take notice of warning and safety labels.
Be aware of other safety labels such as “Flame retardant/flame resistant” or “Washable/Hygienic materials” on dolls and other stuffed toys.

Plastic wrappings can be deadly for small children – discard them immediately.
Discard the plastic wrappings from toys immediately; they become deadly playthings to small children.

When choosing toys, keep in mind that kids under one like to see, touch, hear and taste.
For children one and under, choose toys that are colorful, lightweight, have various textures and are made of non-toxic materials. Children, this age learn through sight, touch, sound and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them.

Small parts like removable eyes are choking hazards.
Don’t give young children any toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses, etc., they are choking hazards.

Stay away from toys with sharp points, edges, and wires that stab, cut or shock.
Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from such materials as metal or glass—these toys should not be given to children under eight years of age. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut or shock if exposed.

Never hang toys with strings, cords, or ribbons of any kind in cribs or playpens.
Toys with strings, cords or ribbons of any kind should not be hung in cribs or playpens. Young children can become entangled which can cause injury or death.

Teach older children to keep toys with removable small parts or sharp points away from younger siblings.
Teach older children to keep their toys that may have removable small parts, sharp points or toys ran on electricity out of reach of younger siblings. Young children are very curious and may investigate toys that aren’t appropriate for them.

Worn or broken toys can cause injuries.
Keep toys and play equipment in good condition, discard any toys that are broken to prevent injuries.

Check toys regularly for safety and durability.
Toys get used and abused by children; regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability.

Provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.
Supervision is essential; provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.

Toys can be a tripping hazard!
Teach children early to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. This will prevent accidental falls over them.

To learn more about preventing your child from other injuries you can visit our website at http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/ChildTeenHealth/EarlyChildhood/PreventInjuries/

Returning Home After the Floods

By DHEC Communications Staff

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The hours and days immediately following a flood can be especially dangerous, and DHEC knows that you have many concerns about health and safety.

Flood waters and standing waters pose various risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Flood water may contain sewage. These are reasons why it is important to avoid contact with flood waters.

Remember, you should not re-enter areas that were flooded until advised to do so by emergency officials.

Here are some general tips and resources for clean-up:

Clean-Up After the Flood

  • Throw away any toys that have touched floodwater.
  • During clean-up, wear gloves and regularly wash hands in clean water (boiled if from private well or under a boil water advisory/notice) with soap.
  • Once the floodwaters have been drained from your home, if you are concerned about water damage or mold, call a professional in your area. See the Yellow Pages under Mold Remediation or Water Damage Restoration.
  • You can make a cleaning disinfectant from one cup of bleach combined with five gallons of clean, boiled water. Try to clean any walls, floors or furniture that may have had contact with floodwaters.
  • Upholstered furniture and mattresses should be air dried in the sun and sprayed with disinfectant, if possible.  Steam clean rugs and replace filters in ventilation systems. Flooded items that cannot be cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours should be discarded.

Smell Gas?

  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main valve, open all windows, and get out of the house immediately.
  • Do not turn on the electricity, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark.
  • Immediately notify the gas company as well as your local fire and police departments.
  • Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.

Handling Electrical Damage

  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks when you restore power, or if there is an odor of something burning but no visible fire, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker.
  • You should follow the instruction provided by your utility company or emergency preparedness agency about using electrical equipment, including power generators. Be aware that it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices.
  • If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area. Make sure all electrical equipment and appliances are completely dry before returning them to service. It is advisable to have a certified electrician check these items if there is any question.

Mosquitoes

Protect yourself against mosquitoes that show up during floods and may carry viruses – wear long-sleeved clothing and avoid being outdoors during dusk and dawn. If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, applying a mosquito repellent – either a spray or wipe – to your skin or clothing will help protect you from mosquito bites.  Just make sure to use products containing one of the four active ingredients that have been registered and approved as safe and effective by the EPA.  For more information on how to protect yourself from bites, please visit DHEC’s website.

Find more resources for returning home and safety on DHEC’s website here.

 

Keep Laundry Detergent Pods Out of Children’s Reach

By Beth De Santis

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Liquid detergent pods with their bright colors and squishy texture are almost irresistible to toddlers and young children.

But these highly-concentrated single load products present a serious health hazard, prompting the American Association of Poison Control Centers to issue an alert about their potential danger.

During the first half of this year, poison control centers across the country received more than 6,000 reports of children under 5 ingesting, inhaling or getting pod contents on skin or in their eyes.

Because these liquid packets are designed to dissolve in water, they can easily release concentrated detergent when they come into contact with wet hands or mouths.

Some children who have gotten the product in their mouths experienced excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping. Others have had serious breathing problems that required needing a ventilator.

Consumer Reports this month warned against liquid laundry detergent pods for households with children younger than 6.

The independent, non-profit consumer product testing and research organization no longer recommends any type of liquid pod on its list of laundry detergents because of growing safety concerns.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers the following tips for liquid laundry detergent packets:

  • Keep liquid laundry packets out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Store packets in their original container and keep the container closed.
  • If a child gets into liquid laundry packets, immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.

Read more and see helpful videos on Safe Kids Worldwide here.

Read the entire Consumer Reports article here.