ThinkFirst: Make safety a top resolution in 2015

The most popular New Year’s resolutions are — no surprise here — losing weight, getting organized, spending less.

But ultimately the most important ones could involve your personal safety.

Here are 10 safety resolutions for 2015 from ThinkFirst of the Ark-La-Tex, a non-profit with the mission of preventing brain and spinal cord injuries:

•1. Always buckle up when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Wearing a seat belt reduces serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about one-half, according to http://www.cdc.gov.

• 2. Never drink and drive or ride with a driver who is impaired. If you plan to drink, designate a driver before you arrive at your destination. You really don’t want to be one of the approximately 30 people who die each day in the United States due to alcohol-impaired drivers.

• 3. Avoid distracted driving, which includes everything from eating behind the wheel to reaching for something in the backseat to using a cell phone. But of all the distractions that can lead to motor vehicle crashes, none is more dangerous than texting. That’s because when you’re texting you’re participating in all three of the main types of distractions: manual (taking your hands off the wheel), visual (taking your eyes off the road) and cognitive (taking your mind off driving).

•4. Wear a helmet and make sure your children wear helmets when: riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle; playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing; using in-line skates or riding a skateboard; batting and running bases in baseball or softball; Riding a horse; skiing or snowboarding.

•5. Always buckle your child into an appropriate child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt, depending on the child’s height, weight, and age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants (under 1 year old) by 71 percent; and to toddlers (ages 1–4 years old) by 54 percent in passenger vehicles. Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children aged 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone. And for older children and adults, seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by approximately half.

6. Avoid falls in the home with these tips from http://www.cdc.gov: using a step stool with a grab bar to reach objects on high shelves; installing handrails on stairways; installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows; using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around; removing tripping hazards such as small area rugs and loose electrical cords; using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors; putting grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower; maintaining a regular exercise program to improve strength, balance, and coordination; seeing an eye doctor regularly for a vision check to help lower the risk of falling.

• 7. Keep firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet or safe. Store ammunition in a separate secured location.

• 8. Don’t dive into a pool unless it’s at least 9 feet deep, says the American Red Cross. Never dive into unknown waters.

• 9. Don’t wear headphones while biking or running where there is traffic. You need all your faculties to monitor what’s going on around you.

• 10. Think first. Many injuries could be prevented if everyone abided by the ThinkFirst slogan: Use your mind to protect your body.

Have a happy – and safe – New Year!

For more information on ThinkFirst of the Ark-La-Tex, log on to http://www.thinkfirstlouisiana.org , and call 318-226-0066. For more information on teen driver safety, check out http://www.facebook.com/arklatexthinkfirst and @TFDriveSmart.

Car seat safety assurance

Want to be sure a child car seat is installed properly? Call ahead to one of these agencies for an inspection:

• Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office: 318-681-0755.

• Louisiana State Police Troop G: 318-741-7411, press 8.

• Bossier Parish EMS: 318-965-9454, press 1.

 

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