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Summer Car Safety for Kids

Author laurenThumann , 7/15/2018

With its longer days and warmer air,  many families will be heading out on the road this summer. But the same things that make this time of year so attractive can also make it potentially hazardous. 

The hottest months of 2018 have now begun, and already, 12 children have sadly lost their lives this year to vehicular heatstroke. Most of the victims were infants, with a 3-year-old marking the year’s oldest casualty to date.

Heat Rising

One of the things that make vehicular heatstroke so dangerous is how quickly it happens.

In 10 minutes, the interior of a car can heat up by 19 degrees. And cracking a window doesn’t help.

The issue arises from the rays of shortwave radiation beaming down from the sun. The solar energy is absorbed exceptionally well by dark-colored objects, such as a steering wheel, dashboard, or a car seat, which can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees from exposure to the rays.

The heat-absorbed objects then emit longwave radiation, which works quickly and effectively at heating the air inside of a vehicle.

Children and animals are especially at risk in the superheated environment as it takes far less to bring up their core temperatures.

Even when a car is parked in the shade, a 2-year-old’s body can reach a potentially lethal 104 degrees in less than 2 hours, according to a recent study carried out by the University of Arizona. (Cars left in the sun could become fatal in just one hour, the study found.)

And while vehicles with light-colored interiors take a little longer to reach dangerous levels, they aren’t free from the lethal effects, which can happen on days with a temperature as low as 57 degrees.


Tips for keeping your little ones safe when you’re on the go -

Check for Hot Car-Seat Parts

Car-seat components, such as buckles and buckle tongues, can get extremely hot in the sun. Always check all areas of the car seat that come in contact with a child to help avoid burns. Seat manufacturers recommend putting a towel or lightly colored blanket over the car seat when it’s unoccupied and sitting in the sun.


Apply Sunscreen Before You Head Out

Infants can be exposed to ultraviolet rays even when they are in a car. It’s best to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to your little ones at least 15 minutes before heading out. Parents should also dress their children in lightweight, tightly woven clothing to keep them covered and cool, such as long-sleeved shirts and cotton pants.


Never Leave a Child Alone in the Car

Even if it doesn't seem like a hot sunny day, temperatures inside a car can still quickly rise to a dangerous level. Cloudy days with mild temperatures can still leave children at risk of heatstroke if left unaccompanied in the car.


Always Keep Your Vehicle Locked

Cars can be an intriguing play area for young children. That’s why it’s so necessary to keep all vehicles locked, even when it's at home. Always place the keys away from a child’s reach. Some deaths in hot cars have occurred when children were playing in them unattended.


Get a Towable RV Instead of a Motor Home

Motorhomes aren’t subject to the same federal vehicle safety standards as passenger vehicles and often don’t have proper seat belts, LATCH anchors (lower and top tether), or even a sufficient number of forward-facing vehicle seats to securely install car seats for children. And there can be many items in a motor home that can become projectiles in a collision. CR recommends keeping children secured safely and in car seats in your vehicle. 


For more car seat and child passenger safety tips, see consumer reports car seat buying guide

How To Ensure A Safe Boating Season In 2018

Author laurenThumann , 6/11/2018

As we head into the boating season, The National Safe Boating Councils 'Wear It campaign' suggests these important safety messages. Take a look at these stats from the U.S. Coast Guard's 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics, the most recent report. The stats are a compilation of data from 50 states.


  • 83% of boat drowning victims did not have a life jacket on
  • 77% of deaths occurred on boats where the driver had no boating safety instruction
  • 15% of the deaths involved alcohol 
  • Two-thirds of drowning victims are able swimmers
  • 4,463 boating accidents occurred, that's up 7.3% from 2015
  • 700 deaths occurred, up 12% from the year before
  • 2,903 injuries that is an increase of 11.1% 
  • 49 million dollars of property damage


One of the primary safety messages is Wear It: regardless of what type of boating activity you're taking part in, wear a safety belt yourself and ask all your passengers to wear one. It’s the single most effective safety measure you can take. To read more on boating safety, download a copy of Boating Safety Tips from the National Safe Boating Council, which we’re reprinted below. We added some links to the tips, as well.


1. Put a life jacket on. Regardless of what activity you have planned on, always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. Accidents on the water can happen much too fast, often leaving no time to reach and put on a life jacket. Learn more: Life jacket types, fit and care.


2. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, that it fits correctly and is appropriate for your water activity. A life jacket that is too small or large can cause problems. 


3. Acknowledge state boating laws. Laws and Rules differ from state to state and violations can mean ticketing, fines or even jail time. State Boating Laws.


4. Enroll in a boating safety course. Learn essential tips that can help save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA (National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course. Many courses are available online and can save you money on your Texas boat insurance. Learn more: US Coast Guard – Boating Safety Courses.


5. Make sure your boat is prepared. Many parts need to be checked and rechecked on any boat. Book a Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary before you head out on the water. Every Vessel Safety Check is conducted 100 percent free of charge. U.S. Coast Guard’s Vessel Checks.


6. Found out what your boat’s capacity is. If you overload your boat, the boat may become unstable and capsize.


7. Always check the forecast, including the temperature of the water. Check the latest marine weather forecast before going out, and keep a regular check for conditions as they may change. National Weather Service Marine Forecast.


8. Dress correctly. Always dress for the weather, wear layers in colder weather, and bring a spare set of clothes in the event you get wet.


9. Remember to file a float plan. File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the boat, trip, persons onboard,  trailer and vehicle, emergency contacts and communication equipment. Learn more at the Coast Guard’s Float Plan Central.


10. Always know and follow navigation rules. Know the “Rules of the Road” such as operator’s responsibility, safe speed, crossing, maintaining a proper lookout, overtaking situations and meeting head-on. Know what’s going on around you at all times, and always travel at safe speeds for the area.  Learn more about navigation rules at Boat on Course from the National Safe Boating Council.


11. Don’t drink alcohol while onboard.  Alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 15 percent of fatalities in 2016. Learn more at Operation Dry Water from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.


12. Learn about the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless and colorless gas that can kill or poison someone who breathes too much of it. Make sure you have a working CO detector, and always dock,  anchor or beach at least 20 feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine, and never block exhaust outlets. Learn more at Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on Your Boat from the CDC.


13. Keep in contact. Communication devices can be the most vital piece of emergency equipment on board a boat, especially in the case of an emergency. Be sure to have at least two communication devices on board, such as satellite phones, VHF radios and personal locator beacons (PLB) and emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB). Cell phones are not reliable in an emergency situation.