Friday, October 24, 2014

New Study Finds Parents Use Car Seats Incorrectly Driving Newborns Home

©iStockphoto.com/Melissa Schalke
A new study has been released that found that infants are exposed to risk as early as leaving the hospital due to incorrect positioning of car seats.

Research conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital observed over 250 families and looked to see if parents unintentionally placed their newborns at risk based on child safety guidelines defined by NHTSA. They found that 93 percent of those studied committed at least one critical error in positioning and installing the car seat, based on the manufacturer recommendation for the installation.

Of the findings, some interesting numbers: 69 percent had harnesses that were too loose, 34 positioned the retainer clip too low(18 percent placed it too high), and 20 percent used a product that was not compatible with the car seat. Another 15 percent didn't know how to secure the harness.

The full press release including more findings, is available here. The results of the study were presented on Oct. 13 at the the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Infotainment Systems & Voice-Activated Smartphones Contribute to Distracted Driving

©iStockphoto.com/Bart Sadowski
Cars are evolving rapidly with advances in technology. What used to get us from place to place with few accoutrements are now home to infotainment systems supporting voice-activated smartphones are making distracted-driving problems worse.

Newer vehicles have systems that allow drivers to tune the radio, send texts or make phone calls without even taking their eyes off the road or hands of the wheel. But the problem exists because so many of the systems are complex and full of errors that it requires more driver attention than they should.

A series of studies released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah, detailed these. One study examined isystems in the most common auto brands on the road: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai and Mercedes. The second study tested the Apple iPhone's Siri voice system to navigate, send texts, make Facebook and Twitter posts, and use the calendar without handling or looking at the phone.

The voice-activated systems were graded on a distraction scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing no distraction and 5 comparable to doing complex math problems and word memorization. They were tested by 162 university students and other volunteers in three settings: a laboratory, a driving simulator and in cars while driving through a Salt Lake City neighborhood.

To find out the results of the study and more information, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

EPA's New Program Aims to Reduce Pesticide Drift

©iStockphoto.com/fotokostic
EPA's new Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program hopes to reduce pesticide drift, protecting people, animals and the environment. It is a voluntary program that encourages the use of verified, safer pesticide sprays that reduce exposure and pesticide movement. The agency reports that this drift action accounts for 70 million lb of pesticides that are wasted and/or aren't being used for their intended purpose.
The DRT program encourages manufacturers to test technologies (e.g., nozzles, spray shields, drift reduction chemicals) for drift reduction potential. The agency hopes manufactures will label products for use with DRT technologies. Four DRT ratings (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4) are given to technologies that have at least a 25% reduction in potential spray drift. Visit EPA's website to learn more about the program and how to participate.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Safe Kids Worldwide Releases Report on Teen Pedestrian Safety

Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, has released a new research report about the dangers teens face while walking. Safe Kids, along with FedEx, surveyed 1,040 teens ages 13 to 18 to discuss walking behaviors and their pedestrian experiences. The surveys revealed that 40% of the teems had been hit or nearly hit by a car, bike or motorcycle while walking.

The report, "Teens on the Move," says that in 2012, 874 teen pedestrians were killed and another 10,000 were injured from being struck by a vehicle. In addition, fatality data show 75% of teen pedestrian deaths occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. In conjunction with the report, an infographic is available for download.


Cal/OSHA Guidance for Protecting Healthcare Workers from Ebola

Although widespread outbreak of Ebola in the U.S. is unlikely, Cal/OSHA has partnered with state public health agencies to issue interim guidelines for occupations with the highest risk of exposure: healthcare workers, emergency responders, laboratory staff, mortuary workers, airline flight crews and airport staff, and quarantine operations staff.

In 2009, California adopted an occupational health regulation that specifically addresses infectious diseases like Ebola. This regulation, known as the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard, served as the foundation for the new guidelines, which recommend that employers:
  • Ensure that workers at risk of exposure to Ebola wear gloves, impermeable body coverings, face shields or other eye and face protection, and appropriate respiratory protection. All PPE must be adequate to prevent the passage of bodily fluids to the employee's clothing and skin. NIOSH-approved respirators must be used where infectious aerosols are likely to be present.
  • Train employees in the use of all applicable protective equipment, including respirators. Employees must be clearly instructed on how to safely put on and take off equipment.
  • Give employees opportunities to practice with the respirators and other equipment they will use.
  • Provide dedicated, separate areas for the donning and removing of protective gear.
  • Use either a buddy system or other means of assisting employees in donning and removing PPE. Employees who assist in removing contaminated equipment must also use PPE.
  • Provide additional protective gear, such as double gloves and disposable shoe and leg coverings, in environments where copious amounts of blood, vomit, feces or other bodily fluids are present.
  • Ensure that workers conducting aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation or bronchoscopy perform the procedures in an airborne infection isolation room, if feasible, or at least in a private room with the door closed. Employees exposed to these procedures must use NIOSH-approved respirators.
The California Department of Public Health has posted additional information on Ebola, and CDC has also posted specific information for healthcare workers and settings.