Air Bag Safety
Air bags in automobiles have saved lives and prevented countless serious injuries. However, the safety devices can cause severe injury or death to children if they are in the passenger seat at the time of an accident. Children account for more than 60 percent of air bag deaths in the United States.
Air bags deploy at velocities upward of 200 mph. "Those bags, when they're deployed, can cause burns and cuts. They can break bones, because the force is so great," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Avoid Air Bag Injuries:
• Always wear a seat belt
• Sit at least 10 inches from the steering wheel
• Drive with hands positioned at the lower section of the steering wheel (4 and 8 o'clock)
• Always place infants in car seats in the back seat
• Children should sit in the back seat until age 12
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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds.
When children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible seat. Recent studies recommend children face backwards as long as possible and the convertible car seat can be used until age four. The third and final car seat is the booster seat, which should be used until the child turns 8 or weighs 80 pounds.
*Guidelines according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. These guidelines are currently under review.
Motion sickness -- nausea, vomiting and dizziness -- is primarily due to disruption of the vestibular system in the inner ear, which modulates the body's sense of balance and equilibrium.
Motion is interpreted by the combined efforts of the eyes, inner ear and proprioceptors, tissues that provide the body a sense of spatial orientation.
Repetitive movement such as the swells of the sea can confuse the brain, scrambling the incoming information and cause motion sickness.
Plastic surgeon and board certified ear nose and throat specialist Dr. Drew Ordon offers tips to prevent and alleviate motion sickness:
• Face forward
• Look at the horizon
• Don't read
• Avoid pungent smells
Ear discomfort is one of the most common complaints of airline passengers. Ear popping or cracking is caused by an imbalance of pressure on either side of the eardrum within the ear. Eustachian tubes in the ear control pressure and any inflammation of the tubes can exacerbate popping activity.
"If you have a cold, think twice about flying," Dr. Ordon advises. "If you have allergies, make sure you treat them. If you have a known problem with your Eustachian tubes, take your decongestants before you fly."
Prevent Ear Discomfort:
• Chew gum
• Drink liquids
• Pinch your nose, close your mouth and exhale gently to "pop" ears
More Flying Tips:
• Dress comfortably in layers and loose-fitting clothing
• Stay hydrated
• Avoid alcohol
• Walk around the plane every hour or so to stretch and avoid swelling
• Bring your own pillow
• Bring your own seat blanket
• Wipe down tray tables, arm rests and seat belts with disinfectant wipes
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