Family & Consumer Sciences:
Injury Prevention

Home Safety: Inside and Out

Home safetyOver 3.5 million children are injured in or around the home each year seriously enough to require emergency care, with just over 2,200 of the injuries proving fatal. The most common causes of injury and death in the home for children are fires and burns, falls, poisonings, chokings, suffocation, electrocution, drowning and the unintentional use of guns. By taking time to go through your home and identify possible sources of danger and taking the steps to make them safe, you can reduce the chance of your child being injured or worse. The following room-by-room guide provides tips to help child-proof your whole home. Read More.

Safety in Youth Sports

First AidParticipation in organized sports in the United States has grown greatly in the past years, with more than 38 million children and adolescents involved, and even more participating in informal recreational activities. With this increase in participation, comes an increase in the number of injuries sustained. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries, and an additional 5 million are seen by primary care physicians or sports medicine clinics for injuries. In fact, sports injuries are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents, and the second leading cause of injuries in school. Typical injuries include sprains and strains, growth plate injuries, stress fractures and tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon), and heat-related injuries. In team sports, 62 percent of injuries occur during practice, not during the game. Read More.

Checklist for Child Passenger Safety

By Gayle Whitworth, UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County Family and Consumer Science Agent

As parents/caregivers, it’s our job to keep our kids safe. And nowhere is this more important than in a motor vehicle. Making sure your child is in the correct seat, and that the seat is being used correctly is crucial to keeping your child safe.

To make sure your child is safe while traveling, use the checklists below.


  • Seat choices: infant carrier, convertible, or all-in-one
  • Used to a minimum 1 year old and 20 pounds
  • Recommended to at least 2 years old or until child reaches manufacturer’s stated weight or height or until child’s head is within 1 inch of the top of the shell
  • Seat sits facing the rear of the car
  • Seat reclined between 30 degrees and 45 degrees from upright (use your seat’s level indicator to get correct angle)
  • Seat installed in back seat (never in front of an active air bag)
  • Harnesses are even with or just below child’s shoulders
  • Harness is snug so that you cannot pinch any webbing at child’s shoulders
  • Harness retainer (chest) clip at armpit level
  • Correct belt path being used (most have two, one for use with a base and one without base)
  • Seat does not move more than 1 inch front-to-back and side-to-side
  • If using LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children), use an approved LATCH position in the vehicle
  • If using a seat belt, make sure it is in a locked position

Forward-facing with Harness

  • Seat choices: convertible, combination, or all-in-one
  • Used once child no longer fits in rear-facing seat; recommended that child be at least 2 years old
  • Use until child reaches manufacturer’s stated weight or height, or child’s shoulders go above highest harness height, or the middle of child’s ears reach the top of the shell
  • Seat sits facing the front of the car
  • Seat in upright position
  • Seat installed in back seat
  • Harnesses are even with or just above child’s shoulders
  • Harness is snug so that you cannot pinch any webbing at child’s shoulders
  • Harness retainer (chest) clip at armpit level
  • Correct belt path being used
  • Seat does not move more than 1 inch front-to-back and side-to-side
  • If using LATCH, use an approved LATCH position in the vehicle
  • If using a seat belt, make sure it is in a locked position
  • Use upper tether to reduce forward head movement

Booster Seat

  • Seat choices: combination, backless booster, high back booster (back may or may not come off), all-in-one
  • Use once child no longer fits properly in harnessed seat
  • Use until child reaches 4’9” tall (general recommendation) or until child can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test (see below)
  • Follow manufacturer’s stated weight and height
  • Seat used in back seat
  • Follow lap and shoulder belt guides on seat (backless boosters do not have shoulder belt guides, but many have straps to properly position shoulder belt; if your seat doesn’t have one, move booster seat over until should belt is properly positioned)
  • Use only in seating position with lap and shoulder belt. Never use with lap belt only
  • Check manufacturer’s instruction for use of lower anchors with booster seats if seat has them

Seat Belt

  • Use once child can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test (all four criteria)
    • Child’s knees bend at the edge of the seat while sitting upright with back flat against back of seat
    • Shoulder belt falls across collar bone
    • Lap belt stays down across top of the thighs
    • Child can maintain this position the entire time they are in the car (no slouching, leaning, etc.)
  • Use seating position with lap and shoulder belt.
  • Use every time child is in the vehicle

The best way to know that you are using your child’s restraint correctly and that it is installed correctly is to use the owner’s manuals from your seat and your vehicle manufacturer. You can also get a list of fittings stations near you that have certified child passenger safety technicians who can help.

Finally remember, no matter your age: Buckle up! Every trip! Every time!

General Passenger Safety

Child Passenger Safety

Keep Your Family Safe from Poisons

By Gayle Whitworth, UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County Family and Consumer Science Agent

A poison is anything that makes people sick or harms them if used in the wrong way, by the wrong person, or in the wrong amount.

Poisons enter the body through the eyes, skin, mouth, and nose and also through venomous stings or bites from insects or animals. Poisons come in the form of medications, household and personal care products, pesticides, plants, insects and animals, and environmental hazards.

Poison control centers receive more than 2 million calls involving poisons each year. Almost 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home.

To help keep your family safe, use the following tips.


  • Store medications on high shelves, and out of the reach and sight of children. When possible, use medications with child-resistant caps.
  • Store medications in their original, labeled containers and properly dispose of them on the expiration date. Medications are attractive to young children. With their bright colors, pleasant smells, and forms that often resemble candy or their favorite drinks.
  • When dispensing over-the-counter medications, be sure to read and follow the Drug Facts label, and use the dispensing tool that came with the medication. Ask the pharmacist or doctor any questions you may have before dispensing. And remember, never share prescription medications.

Household and Personal Care Products

  • Store all household and personal care products in their original containers with labels intact, and out of the reach of children.
  • Close cleaning product containers immediately after use, and put away in a secure location.
  • Never combine household cleaning products.
  • Keep batteries out of children’s reach.
  • Keep magnetic toys and other magnetic items out of children’s reach.


  • Store pesticides in a shed or locked cabinet at least four feet off the ground. Dry products should be stored above liquid products.
  • When using pesticides, remove toys, children and pets should from the area until the pesticide has dried.
  • Place baits and traps in locations where young children cannot reach them.
  • Pesticide labels contain warning and caution statements and what to do in an emergency. Read and use them as indicated.


    Many of the plants in our landscapes and homes have an irritant or poisonous effect. Knowledge of which plants are in your surroundings is important in keeping your family safe. When purchasing plants, try to choose varieties that are non-toxic, or that offer a low level of toxicity. Always teach your children to not put any part of a plant in their mouths.

Insects and animals

Teach children to be cautious around insects and animals, since many of them can cause harm through stinging, biting, or spitting. Reactions such as itching, blisters, irritation of eyes, and breathing difficulties can result from these contacts.

Environmental Hazards

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes.

  • If you suspect lead poisoning, or live in a home built before 1978, it’s important to have your child tested.
  • To help combat the effects of lead, feed children healthy, low-fat foods high in calcium, iron, and vitamin C.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels.

  • Install CO detectors in every home according to the manufacturer's instructions. The Consumer Product Safety Council recommends that one CO detector be installed in the hallway outside each bedroom in the home.
  • Prevent CO buildup by verifying heating appliances are in good working order and used only in well-ventilated areas.

What to Do If a Poisoning Occurs

  • The most important step is to remain calm.
  • If the victim is unconscious, has trouble breathing or is convulsing, call 9-1-1.
  • If the victim is conscious, is breathing normally and is not convulsing, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Keep this number posted on or beside each phone in your home, or program it on your speed-dial.
  • If a poison is swallowed, do not give any remedy by mouth until advised by the Poison Control Center. Do not induce vomiting unless told to do so.
  • If a poison contacts eyes, hold eyelids open, and wash quickly and gently with clear running water for 15 minutes. Do not use eye drops, chemicals, or drugs in the water.
  • If a poison has been inhaled, carry or drag the victim to fresh air immediately, and loosen any tight clothing. If the victim has stopped breathing, or the skin is blue, perform artificial respiration and call 9-1-1.
  • If a poison contacts skin, take off wet clothing and rinse the skin for 15-20 minutes in the shower or under a faucet. Call the poison control center. If necessary, call 9-1-1.
  • Finally, always remember to follow the safety information on the label of any product that contains a poison.

Poison Prevention

Home Safety

Pool Safety